APC Workshop: 9 September 2014

South African-Swiss Workshop on Sound Archives: Knowing by Ear: Histories and Politics of Listening, Aural Knowledge, and Located Audiences

Historical audio recordings, voice and speech collections are increasingly receiving attention in cultural and social studies, in history, archival studies and curatorial practices. Questions around the politics, histories and culturally specific practices of hearing attract an intensification of attention in the burgeoning, transdisciplinary field of sound studies and beyond. At the same time a not unproblematic search for “authentic voices” creates audiences and interests that perhaps speak to a certain weariness of the images and texts that convey history. The turn to historical sound and music collections, the "listening in" to recorded voices assumed as having been “lost”, “silenced” or “forgotten” creates accented knowledge, yet also brings the complication of essentialising debates – for instance around authenticity and notions of immediacy or a specific dimension of affect within the sphere of the sonic.

Following up from the first workshop of this cooperation, which took place in Basel on 1st of July 2014, our workshop in September continued to discuss these and other questions and elaborated on the debate around listening, sound archives, and its (potential) audiences.

The second of a pair of workshops in cooperation between the BAB in Switzerland and APC, jointly organised by Anette Hoffmann and Dag Henrichsen and generously supported by the Swiss South African Joint Research Project (University of Basel) took place at the APC on September 9.

Presentations by Dag Henrichsen, Susanne Hubler, Anna Voegeli (BAB) corresponded with presentations by APC researchers, students and associates as well as invited guests.