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cfp: Issue 3.0 Interference A Journal of Audio Culture, Call for Papers: Noise Please

As seen with the growing vocabularies of dissonance, the retro-commodification of glitch aesthetics, and the many rich-media anthologies now exclusively devoted to the characterisation of noise, the act of qualification frequently absorbs difference. In distributing this call for papers, therefore, it is not an ontology we seek, but a necessary reflection on the politics of noise as these relate in turn to new media ecologies, cultural practices and fluctuating modes of governance. Here an array of definitions – from unwanted sound, chaotic frequency distribution to deconstructive remainder, systemic glitch or excess, blend, and gesture at once to cultural practices of dissent and their broader socio-political resonances.

Such an enquiry acknowledges the vast legacy of noise across auditory cultures, tracing echoes in historical practices engaged with public assembly, protest, territorial dispute and the management of difference. This legacy also travels the twin trajectories of industrialisation and urban development in the early Twentieth Century, reflected in various cultural movements from Futurism, dissonant compositional and instrumentation techniques, through to Musique concrète, early Electronic Music and Free Jazz.

In the latter half of the Twentieth Century, the parallel development of systems theory (concerned with the management of equivocation) alongside the growing acknowledgement of textual ambiguity in the Arts, reflects an ideological contradistinction between scientific and cultural epistemes in terms of how noise was negotiated. Increasingly contingent on techniques for the quantisation, synthesis and transmission of signals, and formally influenced by the proliferation of stochastic and aleatory processes as compositional techniques, this dialectic has had a significant impact on the grain of audio culture, and the fluctuating signification of noise in particular. A canonical work such as Christian Marclay’s Record Without a Cover or Yasunao Tone’s Wounded CD cuts to the very heart of this relationship, such that the exploit of the technological medium provides the material from which to perturb the boundaries of musical aesthetics.

Today we encounter a situation in which the aesthetics of failure or dissent are comfortably subsumed within the vocabulary of commercial pastiche. Where software manufacturers produce plug-ins to homogenise digital distortion alongside a healthy trade in circuit-bent electronics over the internet, so too the rhetoric of subversion is increasingly indistinguishable from the neo-liberal reflexivity of governments, institutions and states, and our tactics the selfsame logics of viral capital and soft control. It might seem that our noise echoes in a vacuum. If we’re screaming, we’re not making any sound. We may need to reconsider the apparatuses of noise.

Taking a theoretical perspective that draws from Jacques Attali onwards to writers today such as Steve Goodman, Mattin, Anthony Iles, Paul Hegarty and Simon Reynolds, we call for papers that foreground noise as a constructive assemblage of audiosocial tactics. From such a perspective noise is not a negatory act that positions the disruptive force outside of what is being disrupted. Instead, noise becomes a constructive interference that perturbs the boundaries of a system from within, may dissemble complex asymmetries and foreground structural dispositifs.

As a result we invite papers that deal not only with categories of aesthetic dissonance or vibrational force, but invite an expanded view of noise as a collection of sonic strategies that engage social, technical, political and economic concatenations:

  •  The Politics of Dissent: The role of various manifestations of noise in political protest, broadcast, territorial dispute and warfare
  •   Noise and the Body:  Engaging issues such as psychoacoustics, affect, pain, nausea, gender, and desire
  •   Material: The politics of sound pressure, vibration and timbre
  •  Music: Noise genres, compositional techniques and processes, performance and improvisation
  •  Sensory Anthropologies of Noise and Silence
  •  Political Economy of Noise: An expanded view that treats of radical economics, debates around free culture, intellectual property and new modes of consumption and distribution
  •  Counter-Theory: Writing that provokes normative assumptions within canonical musicology, theory and audio culture
  • Technologies of Noise: Exploring changing practices around analogue, digital and networked media, tracing the trajectories of information theory, digital signal processing, compression techniques and concerning a range of psychoacoustic and compositional algorithms in relation to definitions of noise
  •  Failure and Exploit: Tactical media, hactivism, glitch, circuit-bending, and zombie media
  • Noise Control: Broadcast policy, noise abatement, and acoustic ecology
  •  Histories of Noise: Across culture, theory and aesthetics
  •  Audio Futurology: Understanding noise as a form of socio-political divination
  • Feedback and Reflexivity
  •  Inaudible Noise

Interference balances its content between academic and practice based research and therefore accepts proposals for both academic papers and accounts of practice based research.

Deadline for Abstracts: December 16th 2011 to editor[at]

 For more information, and submission guidelines please see: or contact editor[at]


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