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Kronos

On-line version ISSN 2309-9585
Print version ISSN 0259-0190

Abstract

PYPER, Brett. Hearing Red: Aurality and performance in a film by Simon Gush. Kronos [online]. 2016, vol.42, n.1, pp.143-154. ISSN 2309-9585.  http://dx.doi.org/10.17159/2309-9585/2016/v42a9.

Focusing on the film that accompanies Simon Gush's installation Red, this article positions itself within the 'ambient humanities' and explores sound as its primary mode of inquiry. I consider how sound constitutes not just the soundtrack but also, at particular moments, becomes the subject of the film itself. I believe these moments are worth attending to because, empirically speaking, they render audible some aspects of history that might otherwise literally be overlooked. Taking my cue from a striking aural performance recounted in the film, I consider possible archaeologies of insurrectionary noise in South Africa and beyond. Beyond the empirical, I am interested in theorising not only about but also with sound, and reflecting on how doing so with respect to history might be productive. I thus tease out thinking about sound in history, sound with history, sounding history and the like, in the process asking what aesthetics can do for the work of history. Drawing on ideas advanced recently by John Mowitt (2015), I consider how the notions of echo and resonance illustrate the kinds of alternative epistemological perspectives that attention to sound might enable for historiography. In the conclusion, I tie these back to the foregrounding of performance - particularly performance with a strong aural dimension - in the constitution of social and public memory.

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