Noise v Culture – a collaboration between the Fine Arts and Music departments at Uni of Kent, Medway

Excess, affect, and the destruction of ‘sense’.

In a world of noise, chaos presides in an embrace of the random, the contingent, chance and the ‘might be’. Noise is therefore a category that is not categorisable. It is a situation that has no site, and an experience that delivers no sense. Furthermore, noise promises the destruction of senseand all things that sense requires for meaning. Noise is unregulated matter; uncounted data, operating as interference within codes of meaning that are otherwise smooth and efficient. This world of the sensory takes on the form of an unruly nature, a product of life that outlives us and is in excess of us.

But as we know, atonality, hiss, feedback, vibrations, arythmic systems and the construction of non-linear space and time are key to music as well as art. It is in the production of such noise as ‘works’ where music and art has found its force and another form of articulation. We can see this across the culture of pop, performance, film, art works and writing that identify noise as distinct to speech. Here a radical investment in noise as a culture of counter-culture has sought to transgress and transcend the traditions, rules and categories of sense-making precisely through the production and analysis of noise. But is it right to speak of a ‘noise culture’, when the term itself presumes that noise can be regulated and engineered through the categories of art and music?

This symposium invites speakers and performers from the fields of Music and the Arts to discuss the future of noise in contemporary culture. How do we understand noise? And is it wrong to attempt to organize noise as a unique and special category either as nature or as a politics of refusal? Namely, how do we understand the conditions of excess and destruction that noise promises, without undermining the exact force of noise?

Hosted by Professors Amanda Beech and Tim Howle.

Speakers and performers:


Polly Fibre

Jo Thomas

Ingio Wilkins

Ryo Ikeshiro


June 11th 2012 from 10.30am – 6pm


The Galvanising Shop

Chatham Historic Dockyard




This event is free of charge but places are limited.  Contact Professor Amanda Beech on 01634 202967 for more information.

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