Politics, Civil Society and Participation: Media and Communications in a Transforming Environment

Title chapter: Sonic icons and histospheres: On the political aesthetics of an audio history of film
Author: Winfried Pauleit and Rasmus Greiner
Keywords: film and history; political aesthetics; audio history; sonic icons; histospheres
Abstract: Film production and reception are complex fields of discourse in which the form and content of films mingle inextricably with cultural and societal practices. A central category for this connection is an aesthetics of film, which is not confined to substantive or formal analyses, but which – as a political aesthetics – questions and processes such discourses in relation to society. This paper concerns itself with the discussion of a political aesthetics of the sound track of film and its ability to shape our understanding of history. Such “Audio History of Film” will explore how film sound generates, models and makes tangible history auditorily. To what extent can “sonic icons” (Currid, 2006) refer to history at the intersection of audio, image, and text? Can the “experiential field”, in which history in film is perceived (Sobchack, 2007, p. 300), also be extended to the aesthetics of film sound and be referred to as “histospheres” in the modeling of history? Against this backdrop, we propose the development of new categories that focus on the relationship between film sound and history: on the one hand, “sonic icons” as complex inscriptions of soundtracks and traces, which finally describe mixtures of sound, image and text. And, on the other hand, “histospheres”, which emphasize films as complex audio-visual constructions of a historical world and its perception by interlinking aesthetics, narration and reflection.
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