Sonic reproduction, uterine space and the politics of ambience, Marie Thompson

  • 11:30am - 1:00pm

  • Edinburgh College of Art Main Building, West Court
    74 Lauriston Place
    EH3 9DF

In the discourses of sound and music studies, reproduction often appears as a central but unquestioned concept, referring to the capture, mediation, repetition and distribution of sound via practices and processes of recording. Yet reproduction carries with it a variety of other meanings: it spans what may initially appear disparate domains, connecting biopolitics, eugenics, capitalist accumulation, natural science, aesthetics and media technics.

In this talk, Marie Thompson will discuss her current work examining the resonances between sonic, sexual and social reproduction as a means of generating an expanded, feminist account of reproduction in auditory culture. Here, she will focus on the cross-disciplinary figurations of sonic space as ‘uterine’, which are articulated in the work of, amongst others, acoustic ecologist R. Murray Schafer and philosopher Peter Sloterdijk. Using the relatively recent phenomenon of pre-natal speaker systems as her exemplar, she will raise questions about the gendered politics of mediation, ‘ambience’ and reproductive labour that these figurations both gesture towards and conceal.

Marie Thompson is a Senior Lecturer at the University of Lincoln’s School of Film and Media. She is the author of Beyond Unwanted Sound: Noise, Affect and Aesthetic Moralism (Bloomsbury, 2017) and the co-editor of Sound, Music, Affect: Theorizing Sonic Experience (Bloomsbury, 2013). Marie is a founding participant of the Sonic Cyberfeminisms project, which critically and creatively explores the relationship between gender, sound and technology. In 2017, Sonic Cyberfeminisms held a reading group at the ICA, London; and in September 2018, participants from the project were in residency at Wysing Arts Centre, Cambridge. Marie is also active as an experimental sound practitioner. She regularly collaborates with the flautist and sound artist Rebecca Lee, exploring the constraints and possibilities of woodwind instruments.  


Part of the School of Art Friday Lecture Series 2018/19.