Spatial Sound

Nathanja Van Dijk, Kerstin Ergenzinger, Christian Kassung & Sebastian Schwesinger

Navigating Noise (2017)


Navigating Noise means getting off the beaten track in order to find, or rather, to create something new. This publication is the result of such unconventional navigations, which follow the track of noise on its path across art, science and the humanities. The point of departure is the artwork of Navigating Noise by Kerstin Ergenzinger. This ephemeral, somewhat out-wordly sound installation provides the framework for a collection of academic and artistic contributions that address the need for alternative means of orientation to deal with noise and to understand and (re)establish our unstable position within a highly technologized, mediated and globalized reality.

These navigations cover a broad terrain of research: from the starry skies to the deep oceans, from the ice cores of Greenland, to sonic navigation in the animal kingdom, from spatial acoustics in World War I to noise music. Through a multidisciplinary approach, Navigating Noise paves the way for unexpected connections between research domains located at the border of knowing and not knowing. This endeavour tries to dig through and below existing semantic and epistemic systems. The contributors scrutinize the binary dichotomies of noise/information, noise/meaning, and noise/silence in order to reconfigure the relational framework that is constituted by these dichotomies. Released from this, noise no longer serves as the unwanted, semantic-free, and inefficient antithesis that should be discarded, but rather embodies a dynamic, unpredictable, yet constitutive force with which we can soar towards more agile forms of sonic sense production. Noise is the dynamic condition of the possibility for any form of meaning. It is through the navigation of noise that we are - figuratively speaking - able to ‘know’.