The following is my abstract for a paper to be delivered at the University of Chicago at the Theoretical Archaeology Group conference: "Vision." The session is entitled "Archaeology in the Anthropocene," organized by Matt Edgeworth. Other members of the session are: Paul Graves-Brown, Edward Cecil Harris, Alice Gorman, Chris Witmore and Mark J. Hudson.
Industrial Sonifact: Sounds of the Anthropocene
Human beings live their entire lives within fields of repeated forms. This propensity for the creation and perpetuation of repetitive, rhythmic patterns has an aural counterpart: the sonifactual component of industrial processes as they are produced and maintained in the soundscape. The material remains of historic (and pre-historic) sound is enduring, and affective responses to industrial sound are evident. A finished product unto itself, the repeated tone (as well as other sound-forms) of industrialization has demonstrably altered and defined the contours of the visible and tangible features of the anthropocene epoch - through a power that is simultaneously sirenic and repulsive. These sonic patterns persist, but as the industrial project changes scale and scope we are now afforded a rare opportunity to listen. Informed by the work of archaeoacousticians, acoustic ecologists and environmental historians, this paper will posit a sonic excavation of the industrial component of the anthropocene, with an argument for the inclusion of sound as artifact (sonifact).
Kamppi Chapel of Silence: Helsinki