Keynote by Prof. Douglas Kahn (AUS) – Historian and Media Theorist (National Institute of Experimental Arts, The University of New South Wales, Sydney)
Sound studies developed during the 1990s partly in frustration with the limits of visual studies and visual arts. Instead of eyes and ears, studies of vibration then moved from ears to bodies, with some venturing out to larger ontological terrain. This paper adds energies to the mix. Sound and vibration are but two forms of energy among others, after all, and go only so far in addressing artistic and musical self-understandings and material cultures. Rather than percussive big bangs or harmonics of primal vibrations, the paper pulls up short of ontology to ask how the arts might perform among practices of energy that since the mid-twentieth century have entailed, pace the philosopher Michel Serres, a global self-awareness of tangible self-annihilation.