Doctor of Philosophy
This dissertation listens to sound and sound art as sense, sensation, and sonic materiality. We make sense of the world from experience. The sense we make from sound is a subjective and intersubjective engagement with the sensoriality, audibility, and inaudibility of sound and its fluctuation. How we listen has potential to affect our relations with each other: how we hear these relations informs our understanding of the world. The question driving this research is how listening to others and their differences affects how we might hear others and the world differently. The potential for listening and hearing difference in the world is social transformation. This research-creation brings together sonic materiality as fluctuating forces of energy matter, the relationality of sound and space and listening, and the sonic becomings of sound art practices as a speculative proposition for a feminine sonic with an emphasis on sound artworks by Canadian women sound artists. The feminine sonic highlights the relational and embodied interconnectivity of material and immaterial, corporeal and incorporeal, and subjective and intersubjective dimensions of sound art as unfolding relations of sound and space, sounding bodies, and sonic fluctuation. Sound artworks by women sound artists are presented as phenomenal case studies supported by the philosophy of sonic materiality, sound art, and feminist new materialism, the methodology of phenomenology and feminist phenomenology, and listening practices. Featured sound artworks employ diverse production methods, modes of interaction, and positionalities that affirm heterogeneity, diversity, and difference. Listening to and hearing to these sound artworks confirms the sonic experience as relations of sound and space, the capacity of small sounds to sound the differences of others, and the social activism of listening practices. The interconnectivity of sensorial, inter-subjective, and cognitive ways of knowing affirms the interrelations of humans and others in the world and the potential of sound art for social change. Artworks created during the doctoral program are inserted between chapters in the written document as interstices with supporting documentation.
Summary for Lay Audience
Listening is an engagement with sound and space and others in the shared space of the world. We make sense of the world from experience. Whether we are awake or asleep we are immersed in the sound environment. We experience sound as audible or felt sensation throughout our bodies. How we listen influences how we might hear the world. The fluctuation of sound affirms the changing relations of human and nonhuman forces in the world. Understanding sound as change confirms the potential for transformation. The focus of my research is the experiential, relational, and social dimensions of sound and sound art as the interconnection of listening and hearing, sounding bodies, and the possibilities for social change. This research is supported with descriptions of artworks by Canadian women sound artists and my own sound art practice.
Moffat, Ellen N., "Strings of Sound and Sense: Towards a Feminine Sonic" (2021). Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository. 8201.
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