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Workshop and Concert

Connecting Resonances: Sonic Perspectives from the Global South

27. September 2019

18h, University of Cologne, Musiksaal

The workshop and concert by artist and researcher Budhaditya Chattopadhyay aimed to critically listen to the complex sound worlds of the Global South. In the arts and humanities, Sound Studies has rapidly established itself as a vibrant and productive academic field resulting in a profusion of scholarly (as well as artistic) works around sound. Notwithstanding this rapidly growing body of work, much of the attention has been invested in studying sound within a Eurocentric media cultural context. Sounds in the Global South have largely remained underexplored and ignored critically. The works regularly discussed in Sound Studies are canonized in the global community of sound researchers by the sheer amount of citations and reviews, but they have a negligible number of non-White and non-Western contributors. Furthermore, there is a serious lack of representation from the non-White, non-Western scholars, as well as from thinkers and researchers from the vast and diverse landscapes of the Global South in the bibliographic resources and reference list of these works. One concerned with this problem of a serious lack of representation may lament that Sound Studies indeed is overwhelmingly white, northbound, in other word, Eurocentric, and this racial conservatism is limiting the fields’ research as well as social outreach. It is an act of complacent ignorance not to engage with African and Asian thinkers regarding their sonically rich cultures; while, many of their works are now available in translation. The workshop addressed this concern about an unfair and counterproductive social divide upheld in Sound Studies, intending to fill this void by developing a comprehensive understanding of the unique sonic sensibility and sound aesthetics in the Global South, through a literature review as well as examining the historical developments of the auditory culture. The artistic practices with sound in the Global South was demonstrated in the concert. By drawing attention to ignored sites of inquiry, the workshop and concert examined the intersection of the traditions and confront a number of critical issues in the studies of sound, e.g. temporality, space and subjectivity, advocating for an equal and reciprocal relationship between the Global North and South.

Dr. Budhaditya Chattopadhyay is an Indian-born sound artist, composer, researcher, and writer, currently a Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow at the Center for Arts and Humanities, American University of Beirut. He holds a PhD in artistic research and sound studies from the Academy of Creative and Performing Arts, Leiden University, The Netherland, and a Master of Arts degree in media, communication and cultural studies from Aarhus University, Denmark. Chattopadhyay is a Charles Wallace scholar, Prince Claus grantee, and Falling Walls fellow. He has received several residencies, fellowships and international awards. Appearing in numerous exhibitions, concerts, conferences and festivals, Chattopadhyay’s works have been exhibited, performed, or presented across the globe. His scholarly writings regularly appear in the leading peer-reviewed journals internationally.