Towards an Ontology of Noise
Bloomsbury Academic 2013
What is noise? In his new book Noise Matters: Towards an Ontology of Noise (Bloomsbury Academic, 2013), Greg Hainge, Reader in French at University of Queensland, Australia, explores this question. The book is written within the tradition of critical theory and is at once playful and punning, as well as suffused with challenging and perceptive analysis. The core position of the book is that we need to move beyond the dichotomous understanding of noise that sees it as either something to be removed or rejected, an unnecessary distraction from a core signal, or something that should be celebrated, but in celebration co-opted into being something that isn’t noise. For Hainge we need a new understanding of noise, an understanding that seeks to celebrate noise through a range of engagements with cultural and theoretical phenomena. Noise is not just about sound, but figures in all forms of communication. The book takes on the accepted readings of work in music, such as John Cage’s 4’33”, literature, such as Sartre’s Nausea, as well as photography and film. These new approaches, mediated by the concern with noise, will be of interest to a range of readers from across the humanities, as well as for specialists in film and music theory and aesthetics. The project of founding on ontology of noise is also a contribution to the growing field of noise studies, which is the kind of interdisciplinary academic area that is emerging within the noisy world of the contemporary academy.