Noise in Salford

Noise, Affect, Politics Conference
Call for Participation: “Bigger than Words, Wider than Pictures”: 
Noise, Affect, Politics University of Salford and Islington Mill, 
July 1-3 2010 

Organising Committee: Dr Michael Goddard, Dr Benjamin Halligan and
 Professor David Sanjek 

“If there are people that are dumb enough to use Metallica to 
interrogate prisoners, you're forgetting about all the music 
that's to the left of us. I can name 30 Norwegian death metal 
bands that would make Metallica sound like Simon and Garfunkel.”
 – Lars Ulrich 

“… this music can put a human being in a trance like state and 
deprive it of the sneaking feeling of existing, ’cos music is 
bigger than words and wider than pictures… if the stars had a 
sound it would sound like this.” – Mogwai, “Yes! I Am a Long 
Way from Home” 

Noise Annoys. Is it not a banal fact of modern, urban existence 
that one person’s preferred sonic environment is another’s 
irritating, unwelcome noise – whether in the high-rise apartment,
 on public transport or the street, or almost anywhere else? The 
contingent soundscape of jack-hammers and pneumatic drills, mobile 
phone chatter, car sirens and alarms, sound leakage from nightclubs
 and bars and – moving into the suburbs – lawn-mowers and amateur 
renovation projects, neighbouring kids and dogs, represents a 
near-constant aural assault. As a pollutant, noise can legally
 attain noxious levels; it is both potentially biologically 
harmful and psychologically detrimental. 

But what exactly is noise and what conditions these relative
 thresholds in which sound crosses over into noise? Or are 
these more organised and polite sonic phenomena merely varieties 
of noise that have been tamed and civilised, and yet still contain
 kernels of the chaotic, anomalous disturbance of primordial noise?
 As a radical free agent, how is noise channelled, neutralised or 
enhanced in emergent cityscapes? As a consumable, how is noise – 
or lack of noise – commodified? 

Such questions are particularly applicable to contemporary forms 
of music which, based as they are on a variety of noise-making 
technical machines, necessarily exist in the interface between 
chaotic, unpredictable noise and the organised and blended sounds
 of music and speech. Does modern noise seek to lead us to new, 
post-secular inscapes (as with psychedelia and shoegazer), or 
defy the lulling noisescapes of processed background muzak with 
punitive blasts of disorientating, disorderly noise? And why the 
cult of noise – in term of both volume and dissonance – in which 
low cultural practices (metal, moshing) meet those of the avant-garde (atonalism, transcendentalism)? 

This conference seeks to address the contemporary phenomenon of noise
 in all its dimensions: cultural, political, territorial, 
philosophical, physiological, subversive and military, and as
 anomalous to sound, speech, musicality and information. Possible 
topics include but are not limited to:

Psychedelic and Neo-Psychedelic Musics
Punk and Post-Punk Musics
Experimental Musics from Avant-Classical to Digital Noise / Raw Data
Industrial Musics and Cultures
Krautrock and German Noise
Shoegazer, Nu-Gaze and Post-Rock
Noise as Cultural Anomaly
Noise, Chaos and Order
Noise and architectural planning
Noise and digital compression
Noise Scenes from No Wave to Japan-Noise Noise and electronic music pioneers (Delia Derbyshire, Varèse, Stockhausen)
Noise and Territory
Sonic Warfare
Noise and Urban Environments / “Noise pollution”
Noise and Subjectivation
Sonic Ecologies
“White Noise”
Noise and Political Subversion
Noise and hearing impairment / deafness
Psychic / silent noise
Noise and mixing, particularly in nightclub environments
Noise in Cinema, Video and Sound Art Noise,
Appropriation and Recombination
Noise and Affect 

The conference will be organised by the Centre for Communication, 
Cultural and Media Studies at the University of Salford in 
cooperation with Islington Mill, Salford and will take place from 
the 1-3rd of July and will include both an academic conference and 
noise gigs featuring amongst other groups, The Telescopes and 
Factory Star with other special guests tbc.

Confirmed keynote speakers include rock historian Cosey Fanni Tutti from Throbbing Gristle, Chris and Cosey and other projects, Clinton Heylin, author of From the Velvets to the Voidoids and numerous other works on (post)punk and popular music, Stephen Lawrie of The Telescopes, and Paul Hegarty, author of the recent Noise/Music.

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