Noise Uncloseted by Callum Blackmore and Alex Birchall

“Our working definition of queerness is the impossibly realised, prepersonal element of music which incites an affective disturbance of normative boundaries, throwing them into flux. Queerness is thus psychophysical or psycho-aural in its affective moment. An ontology of ‘sonic queerness’ is thus developed by synthesising Lacanian and Deleuzian thought. In the first section of the paper, the authors employ the work of Deleuze and Guattari to describe a kinesiology that illustrates the ability of sound to be physically forceful. Secondly, the notion of ‘queerness’, as it appears in ‘queer theory’, is examined, with the aim of incorporating this literature into a more generalised Lacanian account of disturbance. We then engage attempts by musicologists to ‘queer’ the study of music, and how ‘queerness’ may invite questions of the closet. We advise travelling beyond the idea of a queer authorial voice in music; to look instead for voices that threaten normativity. This point is extended through a Lacanian conceptualisation of ‘voice’ as objet petit a to critically examine how sound operates within the three orders: the Real, Symbolic and Imaginary. The queerness of sound is understood as concomitant to the Real as its vibratory powers have a serious potential to disrupt the Symbolic order.”

Callum Blackmore is currently studying a BMus(hons) in musicology at the University of Auckland. In 2013 he won first prize in the Australia New Zealand Viola Society Composition Competition, with his piece after the storm will come a sleep. He was one of four composers selected for the APO Composer Development Programme with a new work The first time I stood… for soprano and orchestra performed as part of the WWI Centenary at the Auckland War Memorial Museum. He was selected as the New Zealand young composer representative to the 33rd Asian Composers League in Manila, Philippines, where he won 3rd place for his piece Seraphic Lucidities. His opera, Love Thy Neighbour was work-shopped and fully staged by Opera Factory in Auckland.  He has been a regular singer at Opera Factory over the last 9 years and is a member of the New Zealand Opera Chorus 2016. Other performing accolades include a performance award in the 2013 Lilburn Composition Prize, performing his own vocal monodrama The Ghost Sonata, and the Best Actor award in the 2013 Short and Sweet festival. In 2015 he was awarded a University of Auckland Summer Scholarship to undertake research into music and sound in cinema. Most recently he has been musical director and composer for two adaptations of Shakespeare plays at Auckland’s Pop-up Globe Theatre.

« Contents