Thursday, January 13, 2011

again, seeing and listening, active and passive

When Susan Sontag says “photographic seeing,” she is problematizing the fact that the original is dismembered and appropriated by a photographer, a dissociative observer. The main reason why she thinks this problematic especially with photography, but less so with paintings is that, for her, photographs can be fetishized as part of the originals. The big difference between sound ecologists and Sontag is that, while sound ecologists problematize the aggressiveness of the acoustic environment to one who listen to, Sontag problematizes the aggressiveness of one who see things. Though she questions also the numbing effect of sensational photographs that bombard us every day, she basically discusses the aggressiveness of seeing. For her, and probably for many, seeing is active. On the other hand, sound ecologists often discuss passivity of the listener, and encourage to listen more actively, and also to record acoustic environments.

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