Events   /  SoundS

Paulo C. Chagas

sic ! sound in context

24 January 2023 | sic ! artist talk

Pho­tos © Pao­lo Chagas

Sound, Truth, and Paradigm … Imaginations


24 Jan­u­ary 2023, 7pm


Elek­tro­n­is­ches Stu­dio, TU Berlin, Ein­stein­ufer 17c 10587 Berlin


In this talk Cha­gas presents his research on phe­nom­e­nol­o­gy of sound and music focused on the notions of truth and par­a­digm. It begins with Heidegger’s view of art as a tool for achiev­ing truth, fol­lowed by Kuhn’s ideas on advances in sci­ence by way of par­a­digms and rev­o­lu­tions. The notion of par­a­digm as a dis­ci­pli­nary matrix leads to a com­par­a­tive approach between sci­ence and art, aim­ing to observe sim­i­lar­i­ties and dif­fer­ences. With a brief look at Wittgenstein’s con­cept of the lan­guage game, Cha­gas will exam­ine the notions of par­a­digm and sig­na­ture in Agamben’s philo­soph­i­cal arche­ol­o­gy. Three cul­tur­al par­a­digms with­in the his­to­ry of West­ern music are explored : vocal, instru­men­tal, and elec­troa­coustic. Delv­ing into the notion of appa­ra­tus as a process of sub­jec­ti­va­tion, we will inves­ti­gate how the elec­troa­coustic par­a­digm builds capac­i­ty for appa­ra­tus­es to expand con­scious­ness of sound phe­nom­e­na. A par­a­digm shift has occurred from a sub­jec­tive hermeneu­tic view of the world, to a think­ing shaped by cyber­net­ics and infor­ma­tion the­o­ry. The auto­matic­i­ty of music appa­ra­tus­es is viewed through sev­er­al lens­es, includ­ing the way that the elec­troa­coustic par­a­digm inau­gu­rat­ed the era of music as a tor­ture appa­ra­tus. Flusser’s notion of the telem­at­ic par­a­digm high­lights the com­mu­nica­tive com­plex­i­ty of mod­ern soci­ety and the idea of cham­ber music as a mod­el for dia­log­ic telem­at­ic com­mu­ni­ca­tion. As illus­tra­tion on my artis­tic out­put, Cha­gas will present Sound Imag­i­na­tions, a recent work that explores the con­cepts of lis­ten­ing cul­tures and audio­vi­su­al immersion.


Paulo C. Cha­gas is pro­fes­sor of com­po­si­tion at the Uni­ver­si­ty of Cal­i­for­nia, River­side. He cre­at­ed more than 190 works for orches­tra, cham­ber music, elec­troa­coustic, audio­vi­su­al and mul­ti­me­dia. His works result­ed from numer­ous com­mis­sions and have been acclaimed in the Unit­ed States, Europe, Rus­sia, Asia and Brazil. Cha­gas devel­ops exten­sive research in music semi­otics, phi­los­o­phy, elec­troa­coustics, audio­vi­su­al com­po­si­tion, and telem­at­ic music. His book Unsayable Music (Leu­ven Uni­ver­si­ty Press, 2014) presents the­o­ret­i­cal, crit­i­cal and ana­lyt­i­cal reflec­tions on key themes of con­tem­po­rary music. He recent­ly edit­ed the book Sounds from With­in : Phe­nom­e­nol­o­gy and Prac­tice (Springer, 2021) and pub­lished the book Zwis­chen Klän­gen und Appa­rat­en : zur The­o­rie und Prax­is der elek­tro­n­is­chen Musik [Between sounds and appa­ra­tus­es : the­o­ry and prac­tice of elec­tron­ic music] (Rediro­ma, 2021) Cha­gas has received sev­er­al inter­na­tion­al awards, includ­ing recent­ly the pres­ti­gious Ful­bright Research Award for a research project at the TU Berlin.

Pho­to © Pao­lo Chagas