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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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PRINTED FROM CHICAGO SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.chicago.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of Chicago Press, 2019. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in CHSO for personal use.date: 15 October 2019

The Symbolic and the Real

The Symbolic and the Real

Phonography from Music to Sound

Chapter:
(p.76) 3 The Symbolic and the Real
Source:
Sonic Flux
Author(s):

Christoph Cox

Publisher:
University of Chicago Press
DOI:10.7208/chicago/9780226543208.003.0003

This chapter extends the analysis of the previous chapter, focusing on the ways that phonography challenges humanist and idealist conceptions of sonic production, meaning, and listening. Developing Friedrich Kittler’s argument that sound recording provides access to “the real,” the chapter counters Roland Barthes’s canonical semiotic account of listening with a materialist philosophical, biological, and technological argument that naturalizes the human production and reception of sound, placing it on par with mechanical production and recording. The chapter explores this argument through an analysis of key works by Alvin Lucier, who is shown to be a deeply materialist, realist, and naturalist composer and sound artist.

Keywords:   phonography, the symbolic, the real, hearing, listening, Friedrich Kittler, Roland Barthes, Alvin Lucier, sound recording, materialism

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