Listening and not listening to voices

Interrogating the prejudicial foundations of the sound arts canon

Reading time: 1 minutes


We live in sound, it is all around us. We are implicated in the social relationships and ideologies that we hear reflected back to us. Sound art offers the chance to critique the world that we hear, and to produce new and different possibilities. Are sound artists taking up the challenge of offering new ways of knowing or changing the world, and does this need new ways of listening and understanding? Can sound art act as a tool for radical change by ‘de-conditioning’ our listening and helping us cross linguistic, cultural, geographic, ethnic, gendered, specied and sexual prejudicial borders? This audio paper will consider how new listenings might lead to a richer, more inclusive sound art, that can embrace and celebrate difference.  

Audio Paper

GO BACK TO FOCUS: Sound Art Matters


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Wright, M.P. (2013) (video work)  A proposed vocabulary exchange. Courtesy of the author. 


Peer review articlevoicesracemarginalisedlisteninggender 

About the author(s)

Cathy Lane is a composer, sound artist and academic. Her work uses spoken word, field recordings and archive material to explore aspects of our listening relationship with each other and the multiverse. She is currently focused on how sound relates to the past, our histories, environment and our collective and individual memories, from a feminist perspective.  

Books include  Playing with Words: The Spoken Word in Artistic Practice  (RGAP, 2008) and with Angus Carlyle In the Field  (Uniformbooks, 2013), and On Listening  (2013). 

Cathy is Professor of Sound Arts and co-director of CRiSAP (Creative Research in Sound Arts Practice) at University of the Arts London. 

Seismograf Peer Review

Seismograf/peer is a peer-reviewed online platform devoted to practical and theoretical issues in relation to contemporary music and sound art hosted by the online journal Seismograf/DMT (

Seismograf/peer covers a broad range of topics including sonic materialities, modes of listening, philosophy of sound and music, aesthetics, technology, audio visuality and performative, curatorial and archival matters related to the sonic arts.

Seismograf/peer encourages a wide spread of methodologies and theoretical discourses from more established academic approaches such as sound studies, musicology, cultural studies and performance studies, to artistic research, practice-based research, artist writing and media archaeology.


Seismograf/peer is hosted by the journal Seismograf/DMT ( - the oldest music journal among the Nordic countries. Seismograf/DMT has a long and strong tradition of publishing Danish articles, interviews, debates and reviews by both academics and composers, and has within various times, been the most inspiring and important platform within this field. Embedding Seismograf/peer is a natural development of this tradition, which acknowledges the demands of publication within higher Art Schools and Universities.

The journal is supported by the Danish Arts Council and The Danish Composers’ Society.