September 2021


Dear reader, you have almost reached the end of this work, which means that you have also experienced the resonances of many voices other than my own. To find an entrance to my own thoughts, I must continually be inspired by the words of others, listen to the sounds recorded by others and take note of other people’s experiences. It may sound a bit aberrant, but while working on a publication I try to dwell in other people’s heads and bodies for a while.

For this study I spent many hours with the works of my colleagues and friends Salomé Voegelin, Brandon LaBelle, Jean-­Paul Thibaud and Barry Truax. In addition, the publications of Felicity Ford, Katharine Norman and Sarah Pink have been very helpful in sharpening my thinking about the role, position and function of sounds in everyday life. I have been inspired by the work of Jordan Lacey on sounds and sound art in public urban spaces and by the special issues of the Journal of Sonic Studies on sound at home. The works of Karen Barad, Jane Bennett and Kevin Fairbairn—the last of whom is a former student of mine—have aided me enormously in connecting thoughts about everyday sounds with the more philosophical reflections on sonic materialism. And I have listened extensively and intensively to the recordings of, among many others, Francisco Lopez, Jana Winderen, Hildegard Westerkamp, Budhaditya Chattopadhyay, Gabriel Paiuk and Annea Lockwood.

I would like to thank Joost Grootens and his team for the design of this publication, Hans Fidom for introducing me to the world of e-­pubs, the management and staff of ACPA for so generously granting me a sabbatical year to concentrate on this research, Alessandra Tosi, the managing director of Open Book Publishers, and her crew for their help, support and encouragement in producing and publishing this enriched publication format, and the reviewers who provided me with useful, considerate and creative feedback.

But really, I should have begun by mentioning two people, without whom this publication would simply have been impossible. Sharon Stewart was not only indispensable as my English editor, she also acted as a kind of intellectual sparring partner, providing critical commentary on many of the thoughts presented here. However, while she could be considered the co-­author of this book, I take full responsibility for the content, especially the parts that may not be completely thought through yet. Finally, Justin Bennett. Almost weekly we had sessions together, during which he critically listened to my audio files and explained “everything” about the software I was using, the use of microphones and recording equipment, and the compositional structure of my audio works. He inspired me with his own field recordings and always sent me home feeling optimistic and encouraged. Again, of course, I take full responsibility for the quality of the audio files, but everything that is good about them I owe to Justin.

Well, dear reader, one more stage to go. I sincerely hope you have enjoyed your sojourn into the actual and virtual worlds of everyday sounds and sonic materialism.

September 2020


1 September, 2020, 7:19:33 am. My journey has come to a temporary end. And it ends where it began: here, in my kitchen, just after my breakfast… It began and it ends with questioning teaspoons, questioning them by creating “a little clearing where the penumbra of an almost-­given will be able to enter and modify its contour” (Lyotard 1991: 19), questioning them by exploring them sonically, in various situations and interactions…

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