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Goldsmiths - University of London

Sound Art: Hearing in Particular

Drever, John L.. 2019. Sound Art: Hearing in Particular. In: , ed. Oxford Handbook of Sound Art. Oxford: Oxford University Press. [Book Section] (Forthcoming)

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Abstract or Description

Extoling and promoting listening is deeply ingrained, even on occasion raison d’être, in sound art practice and discourse, where listening is understood as a wholly congenial, benign activity. This can be seen through the routine use of affirmative tropes such as – through listening we: connect, locate, are embodied, discern, are immersed or enveloped. And through specific listening methods such as Deep Listening, we are offered ‘expand[ed] consciousness to the whole space/time continuum of sound/silences’ (Oliveros 2005:xxiv). Refocusing from the act of listening to the audiological – the mechanisms related to the sense of hearing – from the findings of the author’s recent research, in particular his review on the noise impact of high-speed hand dryers (Drever 2013), the author feels obliged to propose that the contrary is a reality for many – hearing, from time to time or incessantly: perturbs, isolates, excludes, disconnects, disembodies, and dislocates, hearing hurts! This will be familiar for those living with hyperacusis, misophonia, and phonophobia, but it can also be the case for those with particular hearing needs such as the partially sighted, hearing aid users or those with sensitive hearing such as infants and ASD. Bringing audiology into the sphere of sound art, this chapter recognises a prevailing sensitisation of hearing in the culture at large, and proposes a paradigm for situating hearing that diverges from a singular, idealized, symmetrical model of hearing, the auraltypical, that has predominated. In its place, we are beginning to enjoy a fluidity and openness to diverse forms of hearing and sensitive hearers in sound art, on embracing the emerging agenda of auraldiversity.

Item Type:

Book Section


auraltypical, auraldiversity, hearing, hand dryer noise, listening, sound art

Departments, Centres and Research Units:

Music > Unit for Sound Practice Research


1 July 2019Accepted

Item ID:


Date Deposited:

16 Jul 2019 07:57

Last Modified:

17 Jul 2019 16:41


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