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The noisy urbanity of (almost) every day

22 september
© Marta Costa

The noisy urbanity of (almost) every day
Carlos Fortuna (CES / FEUC)

September 22, 2020, 4:00 pm (GMT +01: 00)

Event in digital format

Comments by Giovanni Allegretti and Pedro Quintela (CES)

Twelfth session of the "Conversations Unfinished" debate cycle. In the sound environment of modern cities, noise has long assumed an unavoidable highlight. Since the times of profound strangeness, this "social world of noise" has been widespread throughout the 20th century with widespread indulgence and social accommodation. The "unwanted sound", as Murray Schafer refers to noise, found in the futuristic artistic field one of its main accomplices. In painting, music and poetry - with U. Boccioni, L. Russolo and Álvaro de Campos - many artists "invited" the city to naturally accept the noise of machines and engines as a sign of modern avant-garde. Others - from Th. Lessing to Julia Rice -, however, contested the high price to pay for the new urban condition. However, colonialism proceeded to the sound globalization of the noise that would anticipate political globalization. Today, noise is both a cultural feature used as a perverse denunciation of the presence of the "other" or as a powerful device that silences dissent. In both situations, this "social world of noise" represents an unusual territory of social and political disputes that invite a thorough sociological investigation that goes beyond the technicality of its mapping in the different areas of the cities. The strange silence with which COVID 19 covered European cities led many groups and organizations, out of nostalgia or demonstration of power, to unexpected celebrations of the gradual return of urban noise. As a rule, without noticing that this urban silence denounced, this time, such a serious functional failure of the "living machine" whose remedy requires a very deep "repair".

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