SoCCoS: Critical Cartographies of Sound in Europe

The complex archive of soundscapes can configure a critical cartography that questions and exceeds the authorised and accepted vision of history, politics, and culture. At the same time, sound introduces a semantic challenge for those elements involved in the associative network that is created by a practice of listening.

By critically crossing the diverse cultures that result from the varied sounds and histories of sound in a European context, it’s possible to create the conditions within which to make other positions perceptible – not by adhering to every utopian notion of connectivity and borderlessness, but by highlighting the dyssymmetries and tensions produced by the listening process. Such a practice can lead us to think and feel, to continue to learn, to produce agonistic tensions that challenge the authorised knowledge. Overcoming a pure musical approach, a broader culture of sound is one which would empower cross-cultural relation – enhancing encounters and forms of cultural translation; configuring a practice of border crossing; re-routing the discourse on gender, race and difference; and making new sense of concepts such as “identity” and “community”.

This article focuses on the SoCCoS European Sound Art network that is a project based on the idea that distinct cultures of sound art and experimental music can be brought into dialogue with one another in a process aimed at reveal[ing] the culture of Sound (The Sound of Culture: A European Sound Art Residency Network).

In this framework, sound – as a matter necessarily linked with both affect and the public sphere – invites us to deal with new forms of connectedness and multiculturalism. Especially at a time when the notion of Europe is “under fire, both as a result of resurgent nationalism and euro-scepticism that challenge the ideal of supra-nationality and cooperation and as a result of its contested border politics” (Ponzanesi and Leurs, 2014: 4), such an invitation is vital. Whether we think of Europe as a historical, political, geographical, or emotional concept, there is an urgency now to scrutinize and to re-configure its notion, to listen to the “ruins” that it has produced through the creation of unequal categories and regimes of human rights, citizenship, and hospitality.” (p. 202)

Viseu: T. Beira Alta, 199-204
book edited by Luis Costa and Julia Eckhardt
English, ISBN 9789899720596