Cinema as Aural Art

PhD Seminar Film-Philosophy: Resonances and Rhythms: The Epistemology of Cinema as Aural Art

Directed by ¦ Patricia Pisters ( and Philipp Schmerheim (
Dates ¦  5 Oct, 2 Nov, 7 Dec 2012, 1 Feb, 1 March, 5 April, 3 May, 7 June 2013.
Time ¦  3-6 pm

Last year’s film-philosophy seminar investigated the question ‘what is cinema’ by returning to Bazin, Munsterberg and Cavell and looking at the virtual life of film under the conditions of the cinematic in the digital age. This year we will focus on a specific aspect of cinema: its sonic dimension. We will not only look at aesthetic, affective and phenomenological aspects of sound, but will also explore facets of the epistemology of aurality. Besides investigating the contemporary relevance of classics of sound studies in film, such as the works of Rick Altman and Michel Chion, we will invite new perspectives on sound scapes, music, rhythm and resonance, and points of audition. We will also analyse the intricate entanglement of cinema’s sonic and visual dimension and critically reassess the traditional definition of cinema as being predominantly visual. To speak with Veit Erlmann in his recent book Reason and Resonance: A History of Modern Aurality we want to investigate the cinema as an art form that is ‘neither deaf nor dumb, ocularcentric or logocentric’.

Martine Huvenne (University of Gent / University of Amsterdam) will open this year’s PhD seminar on October 5 with a presentation on “The Spatial Aspects of Sound and Listening in Film: a Phenomenological Approach.”

During the second session on November 7, Milla Tiainen (Anglia Ruskin University) will present her research with a presentation on “Affective Rhythms: Rethinking What a Voice Can Do in Cinema”. Carolyn Birdsall (University of Amsterdam) will be the respondent.

Detailed information about each session, further presentations, and the location will be announced later on. If you want to join the seminar as a new member, please send a message to the convenor and coordinator to be added to the mailing list and receive further information.

Selected research master students may participate in this PhD seminar and have it count as a 6  EC tutorial for their studies. Please contact the organizer(s) for eligibility and further details.