Explorations of the audio essay as medium and method.
With contributors including Justin Barton, Angus Carlyle, Kodwo Eshun, Steve Goodman, Robin Mackay, Paul Nataraj, and Iain Sinclair, Sonic Faction presents extended lines of thought prompted by two Urbanomic events which explored the ways in which sound and voice can produce new sensory terrains and provoke speculative thought.
Three recent pieces provide the catalyst for a discussion of the potential of the "audio essay" as medium and method, a machine for intensifying listening and unsettling the boundaries between existing forms: documentary, music, ambient sound, audiobook, field recording, radio play….
Kode9's Astro-Darien (2022) is a sonic fiction about simulation, presenting an alternative history of the Scottish Space Programme, haunted by the ghosts of the British Empire. Justin Barton and Mark Fisher's On Vanishing Land (2006) is a dreamlike account of a coastal walk that expands into questions of modernity, capitalism, fiction, and the micropolitics of escape. Robin Mackay's By the North Sea (2021) is a meditation on time, disappearance, and loss as heard through the fictions of Lovecraft, Ccru, and the spectre of Dunwich, the city that vanished beneath the waves.
Alongside photographic documentation of the events and edited transcripts of the artists' discussions, Sonic Faction brings together contributors with diverse perspectives to address the question of the audio essay and to imagine its future.
Contributors Lawrence Abu Hamdan, Lendl Barcelos, Justin Barton, Ben Borthwick, Angus Carlyle, Matt Colquhoun, Jessica Edwards, Kodwo Eshun, Steve Goodman, Ayesha Hameed, Eleni Ikoniadou, Lawrence Lek, Robin Mackay, Paul Nataraj, Emily Pethick, Iain Sinclair, Shelley Trower
Justin Barton is a philosopher and writer. He is the author of Hidden Valleys: Haunted by the Future.
Steve Goodman is a Lecturer in Music Culture at the School of Sciences, Media, and Cultural Studies at the University of East London, a member of the CCRU (Cybernetic Culture Research Unit), and the founder of the record label Hyperdub and the sub label Flatlines to focus on audio essays and sonic fiction.
Maya B. Kronic is the agent, patient, and product of an ongoing research project on hyperstition, gender accelerationism, and cuteness. They are currently co-director of research and development at Urbanomic.