Points of Listening # 35 with Jennifer Lucy Allan: Distant Horns

Date: Wednesday June 14th, 2017
Time: 18:30
Venue: London College of Communication
Free. RSVP email: markpeterwright@gmail.com


“How are we to study phenomena that, even though close to us in time, bear witness to a paradoxical distance?” (Alain Corbin, Village Bells)

Distance affects the way we think about sound. It affects what we hear and the way we listen. Distance is about being sited near or far. Distance is social, geographical, cultural, and temporal.

Distance assumes a listener with a location. As a researcher, how close can I get? I can use research, written records, primary sources, field trips. I can stand underneath a restored foghorn, but it has been severed from its original purpose. How do these factors affect the way I can think about accessing a sound from the past in the here and now?

This Points of Listening will address notions of distance and proximity through a triptych of deafening and not-so-deafening foghorns, considering ways to hear a lost sound which is still with us. It starts close, directly underneath the Nash Point foghorn in south Wales, where I commune with a very different horn than the melancholic characters heard out at sea.

Jennifer Lucy Allan is a writer and researcher interested in the links between sound, weather and place. She is writing a PhD at CRiSAP on the social and cultural history of the sound of the foghorn, and works extensively with physical archives, unearthing sensory material in the historical record.

She is also a music writer, specialising in experimental and underground music, contributing regularly to The Guardian and The Wire, and is co-founder of the reissues record label Arc Light Editions. She teaches music writing in London for The Hackney Citizen, and lives and works in Southend-On-Sea.