Hearing Landscape Critically: Music, Place, and the Spaces of Sound
Stellenbosch University (South Africa)
9-11 September 2013

‘We live in densely storiated landscapes [… there are] song lines,
if you will, joining place to place.’
(Robert Macfarlane)

Landscapes are divided and dissonant sites of private and collective being. They bear traces of present, past and future ambitions, injustices, and interventions. And yet, their grammars and sounds, whether intimate, commodified or instrumentalised, push at the limits of theory and representation and simultaneously construct systems of aesthetic, ideological, historical and political appropriation.

The second meeting of the ‘Hearing Landscape Critically’ network (Stellenbosch University, 9-11 September 2013) is concerned with finding ways to articulate and listen to landscape that challenge established patterns of cognition and intervention, and which probe the archival and everyday silences and ruptures exacerbated by social, political and intellectual intervention. Following the first meeting at Oxford University, May 2012, the Stellenbosch symposium marks the continuation of an inter-disciplinary and inter-continental project addressing the intersections and cross-articulations of landscape, music, and the spaces of sound. This symposium aims to bring together a wide-ranging set of subjects and disciplinary approaches.

The following themes are envisaged as central concerns:

  • Spaces and sounds of power and politics: interpreting reservation, academy, capital, legitimation;
  • Spaces and sounds of contestation: how landscapes suture and structure struggles of class, nationality, education, and race;
  • Philosophical approaches to the spaces of sound:  transcendental metaphors, the nature/culture debate, ontologies and epistemologies, non-representational theories of musical and social space;
  • Spaces and sounds of transformation/devastation: ‘junk space’, inter-state freeways, sprawling suburbs, shopping malls, non-places;
  • Landscape as utopia, dystopia or heterotopia;
  • Urban landscapes, or landscapes that confound simple urban/rural divides.

Keynote speakers:

Prof. Carol Muller (University of Pennsylvania)
Prof. Cherryl Walker (Department of Sociology and Social Anthropology, Stellenbosch University)

Invited speakers and artists:

Jonathan Cross (Faculty of Music, University of Oxford)
Jessica Dubow (Department of Geography, University of Sheffield)
Angela Impey (Department of Music, School of African and Oriental Studies, University of London)
Christine Lucia (Stellenbosch University)
Winfried Lüdemann (Stellenbosch University)
Edwin Cameron (Constitutional Court justice, South Africa)
Willem Boshoff (Visual artist)
Aryan Kaganof (Filmmaker)
Kyle Shepherd (Multi-instrumentlist and composer)
Neo Muyanga (Performing artist)
Fiona Tozer, Neo Muyanga, Hendrik Hofmeyr (Composer panel)
Hans Huyssen, Theo Herbst (Composer round table)
Stacy Hardy (Writer)
George Revill (Cultural geographer)

Music Department, Stellenbosch University

The Conference takes place at the Music Department (Konservatoirum building, completed in 1978) at Stellenbosch University. The Konservatorium also hosts the Stellenbosch University Music Library and the Documentation Centre for Music (DOMUS).