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Colloque > Crafting a Sonic Urbanism: the Political Voice - 13 décembre 2019

Campus Condorcet, Centre de colloques, 9h00-21h00

Colloque > Crafting a Sonic Urbanism: the Political Voice - 13 décembre 2019

Crafting a Sonic Urbanism: the Political Voice

Vendredi 13 décembre 2019, 9h00-21h00
Salle 100 (9 h-17 h), puis auditorium 150 (18 h-21 h).

Attention is turning more and more to urban sound as a material to design with, as a site of conflict, as a medium through which to understand the urban environment, and so on. Crafting a sonic urbanism seeks to look beyond the soundscape as an object and bring together research and creative practice that reveals how sonic concerns and methods could shed new light on political, cultural, and social formations in the city.

This colloquium invites both scholars and practitioners to present research, or works of sonic or spatial creation. You can find the full call for proposals here.

Following the first conference in 2018exploring sonic urbanism in its broadest interpretation, the second iteration will focus on the ways that the voice / voices and their enmeshments with architecture, infrastructure, and technology are understood in the fields that both analyse and design urban life in their political dimension. To be politically engaged is to have one’s voice ‘heard’ in the public space. How and where, though does this hearing happen? Whose voices are heard, both in the street and on the political stage? What is the role of architecture in amplifying or indeed diminishing the audibility of difference voices?


The day will be organised in two events. A colloquium (free, sign up mandatory) and an evening conference (free, sign up recommended). Please note the timings, titles and participants for each panel are still in development.

Colloquium — 9.30-17.00

09.30-09.45 — Welcome and opening remarks

  • John Bingham-Hall, Director, Theatrum Mundi
  • Arnaud Esquerre, Director, IRIS (EHESS)

09.45-11.00 — Composing the voice 

  • Duncan MacLeod, Assistant Professor of Music, University of Nottingham
    The Cries of London
  • Jonathan Packham, DPhil Student, Oxford University
    Lin Chi-Wei’s Tape Music: Spatial Scoring, Voicing Identity
  • Fani Kostourou, Researcher, Theatrum Mundi
    Dimitri Szuter, Fellow, Theatrum Mundi & Evens Foundation
    The voice of and on a Parisian territory in transition

Chaired by John Bingham-Hall, Theatrum Mundi

11.15-12.30 — Mediating voices

  • Fabien Cante, Teaching Fellow, University College London
    Post-conflict soundings and radiophonic repair in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire
    Eleni Ikoniadou, Senior Tutor in Visual Communication, Royal College of Arts
  • Fugitive Voices
  • Gregoire Chelkoff, Professeur Enseignant chercheur, Cresson / École Nationale Supérieure d’Architecture de Grenoble
    Les voix de la ville : effets sonores, espaces construits et ambiances urbaines

Chaired by Lola San Martín Arbide, EHESS

12.30-13.30 — Pause déjeuner

13.30-14.00 — Performance

  • Jessica-Maria Nassif, Designer
    Mix, Match and Start From Scratch

14.00-15.15 — Oral cultures

  • Eric de Visscher, Andrew W.Mellon Visiting Professor, VARI (V&A Research Institute), Victoria and Albert Museum
    Can museums reveal themselves as platform for a new sonic urbanism?
  • Tyler Sonnichsen, Lecturer, Central Michigan University
    Punk, Oral History, and the Voice of the Revanchist City
  • Ella Finer, Adjunct professor, Performance Studies, Syracuse University, London
    A Politics of Resonance: the Commons and the Square

Chaired by Gascia Ouzounian, Oxford University

15.30-16.45 — Vocal contestations

  • Naama Meishar, Teaching Fellow, Technion – Israel Institution of Technology
    & Talia Margalit, Senior Lecturer, School of Architecture, Tel Aviv University
    Routine, Cry and Demand in southern Tel Aviv: Peddlers, Asset owners and Developers Voice objections to the Planning Committee
  • Laudan Nooshin, Professor and Head of Music Department, City, University of London
    Understanding the Sensory City: Tehran’s Contested Voicescapes’
  • Tom Western, Marie Curie Fellow, Faculty of Humanities, University of Oslo
    Sonopolis: Refugee Feedback and Noisy Citizenships in Athens

Chaired by Justinien Tribillon, Theatrum Mundi

16.45-17.00 — Closing Remarks by Richard Sennett

Conference — 18.00-20.00

  • Projection du film Voi[e,x,s] et présentation par Alexandra Lacroix, Metteuse en scène, Cie MPDA – Alexandra Lacroix
  • Saskia Sassen, Robert S. Lynd Professor of Sociology, Columbia University
    Does the City have speech? 

In asking “Does the city have speech?”, Saskia Sassen(2013) provides the stimulus for this colloquium. The city, she argues, is still “a space where the powerless can make speech, presence, a politics”, but furthermore, the “interactive deployment of people, firms, infrastructures, buildings, projects, imaginaries, and more, over a confined terrain, produces something akin to speech” (2013, 211). In other words, “the city talks back”. As architectures and active bodies coalesce in particular times and places in the city, and in particular ways, ‘resistances and enhanced potentials’ emerge that change the meaning of intended acts like design, or of chance forms of encounter. “Rush hour in the city is a process where we bump into one another, rip off a button here or there, step on one another’s feet. Yet we know none of these actions are personal in city’s center at rush hour, unlike in the neighbourhood, where they would all be provocations” (Sassen 2013, 214). This kind of speech is not only sonic, but any act that changes meaning or that communicates – something that can be done both by people and by the city they speak through and within. But what if we returned to the acoustic material at the base of this concept? How, literally, do our own utterances become translated via the language of the cities that are their containers? How do the acoustic resistances and acoustic potentials of architectural space speak through and transform voices themselves.

Chaired by Sylvain Bourmeau, Directeur AOC, Professeur Associé à l’EHESS, Producteur sur France Culture


Arnaud Esquerre

Justinien Tribillon

John Bingham Hall

Gascia Ouzounian

Lola San Martín Arbide

Saskia Sassen

Duncan MacLeod

Jonathan Packham

Dimitri Szuter

Fabien Cante

Ella Finer

Eleni Ikoniadou

Gregoire Chelkoff

Jessica-Maria Nassif

Eric de Visscher

Tyler Sonnichsen

Naama Meishar

Talia Margalit

Laudan Nooshin

Tom Western

Fani Kostourou

Richard Sennett

A consulter :

Sorbonne Paris Nord

Bâtiment Recherche Sud
5 cours des Humanités
93322 Aubervilliers cedex

UFR SMBH 74 rue Marcel Cachin, 93017 Bobigny cedex



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