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David Toop - Sinister Resonance. The Mediumship of the Listener.
Hearing occupies an unusual place amongst the senses: sounds are phenomena that are difficult to control or subdue, signals that may seem to come from nowhere, or an unknown source, then fade and die. There is shuteye, but no shutear. In a visuocentric culture like ours, sound seems disturbingly intangible, indescribable or inexplicable by comparison with what we can see, hold or touch. Musician, writer and sound curator David Toop takes it from here and investigates the absence / presence of sound in works of art, be it paintings, sculptures, novels or poems, listening as it were with the “mind’s ear”. Through the account of this history of listening it is shown how sound often functions as a metaphor for mystical revelation, instability, forbidden desires, disorder, formlessness, the supernatural, for the breaking of social taboos, the unknown, the unconscious and extra-human.