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Sonic FluxSound, Art, and Metaphysics$
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Christoph Cox

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780226543031

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: May 2019

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226543208.001.0001

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Toward a Sonic Materialism

Toward a Sonic Materialism

(p.13) 1 Toward a Sonic Materialism
Sonic Flux

Christoph Cox

University of Chicago Press

This chapter points to the limitations of the prevailing aesthetic theories, and argues that the sonic arts require an alternative, materialist theory. Drawing from the sonic metaphysics of Arthur Schopenhauer and Friedrich Nietzsche, and developing this metaphysics via the notion of intensity developed by Gilles Deleuze and Manuel DeLanda, the chapter sketches this materialist alternative and introduces the notion of the sonic flux: an immemorial flow of sound that precedes and exceeds human contributions. It shows how sonic materialism undermines an ontology of objects and substitutes an ontology of flows, events, and effects—features central to the work of sound artists such as Maryanne Amacher and Chris Kubick & Anne Walsh. The chapter goes on to argue that this materialist account is not only relevant to the sonic arts but also provides an alternative model for conceiving artistic production and reception in general.

Keywords:   sonic metaphysics, Arthur Schopenhauer, Friedrich Nietzsche, Gilles Deleuze, Manuel DeLanda, materialism, sonic flux, Maryanne Amacher, ontology, intensity

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