10: Sonic fictions are empirical
Not in the sense of focus groups or lab research, in quantitative or even qualitative research, but they are empirical in an open, anthropological sense: dense and thick with descriptions as any literary essay or as any intense exchange among friends is and as loaded with urgency and repleteness as any inspiring newspaper article or any great lyrics of a pop song are.
9: Sonic fictions are imaginary
They do not construct a scientific truth about the world as a whole or even as concerns a specific sonic artifact, but they give an insight into the resonance of specific sounds in our personal and highly intimate imaginary. This transgressive sphere of imagination does not need to be restricted to postulates of realism, of moral, psychology or even laws of nature; in this sphere of imagination, we all are present, all the time – even now as you are reading these words, even now as I am typing these letters to close this paragraph.
8: Sonic fictions are sensory fictions
The narration of a personal impression of a sound event and its ramifications in our imagination, this narration of being inspired and triggered by sounds and all their effects, is not restricted to solely sonic sensations: we hear, and whilst hearing, we taste, we sense tactile contacts, we see and we smell, we can even feel a sort of kinesthetic vertigo and certain motoric reactions and imaginations. The senses are never separated, although we still like to hold onto this technological and atomistic misunderstanding of the body. The body as a whole is listening and is sensing all the time.
7: Sonic fictions articulate auditory experiences
When we are writing (and, similarly: playing, dancing, singing, painting or filming) a sonic fiction and engaging in these kind of replete, imagined and narrated sensory events, we are given the opportunity to articulate our specific and highly individual auditory experience: we can externalize as artifact that which was, until then, a secluded, intimate experience. And as artifact, our experience can be accessed intersubjectively; it can be discussed, criticized, affirmed, transformed, and it can even be understood.
6: Writing sonic fictions can help to unfold the experiential depth of auditory experiences
The sheer density and richness of a sonic fiction on the one side, but also the hermetic and idiosyncratic character of a sonic fiction on the other side are the necessary prerequisites for unfolding the suggestive depth of an auditory experience. The more such a sonic fiction is oriented towards rather conventional and simple narratives, well-known grammatical (or: iconographical, semiological) structures or postulates for realism, the less it may convey the impression of a vital individual sonic experience. Sonic fictions articulate in excess.
5: Sonic fictions are epistemologically insightful
Insight into a highly individual epistemological process, through listening, understanding and listening again; this insight is granted by sonic fictions.
4: Sonic fictions do inspire other sonic fictions
Sonic fictions do emerge as an inspiration or a provocation of a narrative discourse, a back and forth of telling and re-telling, asking and answering, move and countermove, serve and return, a call and response between narration and counter-narration, unfolding and counter-unfolding, questioning and differentiation, revision and specification. I like to call this: a conversation. A confluence.
3: Sonic fictions tell the untold tales of theory
This conversation attempts to arrive ever closer and closer to an individual sonic experience; it tries to unfold a theoretical, terminological (also: an iconographical or semiological) narrative and a highly tentative approach to a specific theoretical position. While we follow the text, or even a sonic, videographic or choreographic artifact, we might see such a position unfold and formulate itself – not as a perfectly polished, theoretical or philosophical argument as artifact (such as, this article, perhaps, in parts), free of any inner contradictions, ambiguities and frictions. In contrast to such easily consumable and commodified theory products, in the case of a sonic fiction, we do experience a theory in progress.
2: Sonic fictions are narratologically generative
Every sonic fiction – in its strongest sense – transforms the way we write and speak, dance or paint, move or taste about sound: our individual style and vocabulary, our grammatical virtuosity gets to be morphed and fluidized, pressed and hacked, stretched and reversed. Accordingly, a great sonic fiction is often also hard to understand, as it invents and applies radically new means of describing sound with language, in its effort to describe specific sensations and effects in a highly distinctive way. Such sonic fictions explore epistemologically new grounds in reflecting sound and articulating sonic experiences.
1: Sonic fiction is a heuristic to transform and expand our contemporary means of speaking about sound
Sonic fictions open up the field of speaking about sound in general: articulations reflecting individual sonic experiences. They expand our individual as well as our collective potential to articulate (be it via language or other means) auditory and other sensory experiences. They lead us to new and rather different ways of describing and displaying our specific ways of sensing and feeling, and they also lead us toward new ways of entering an exchange about these different ways of feeling and sensing. We may then come to understand each other a very tiny bit better as regards how we might experience and perceive certain sensory events around us, listening and sensing.
* * *
This Late Night Show ends with Flying Lotus. You can read the closing credits for A Night School on Sonic Fiction, as the driving beat of the first track, All In, of Flying Lotus' most recent album Until The Quiet Comes plays.
A year or so has passed since I wrote the entry paragraph of this text. Our daughter now has a pair of younger twin siblings. Right now I am sitting in a train that brings me from one workshop I gave on the heuristics and the insights of sound studies in Innsbruck, Austria, to a lecture I will give tonight in Munich on the concept of anontology of vibrational force as proposed by Steve Goodman. I am looking forward to see my family again. The sun flickers through the train windows, hot on my skin, blinding on the little screen on which I am writing these lines.
The quiet comes.
“Anyway, I hope all these comments can inspire you to rework your text and submit a smashing and trailblazing essay on sonic fictions.”