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Sounding the Limits of LifeEssays in the Anthropology of Biology and Beyond$
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Stefan Helmreich

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780691164809

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: October 2017

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691164809.001.0001

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Chimeric Sensing

Chimeric Sensing

(p.173) Chapter 1 4 Chimeric Sensing
Sounding the Limits of Life

Stefan Helmreich

Sophia Roosth

Michele Friedner

Princeton University Press

This chapter examines auditory chimerism, an experimental technique in which sound recordings are decomposed and then reconstituted otherwise, often with the aim of testing the limits and possibilities of human hearing. Auditory chimeras are sound events realized through a technical practice of sieving one sound through another. The auditory chimera delivers a kind of structured nonsense meant to force listeners to confront their assumptions about how and what they are hearing when they hear. The chapter considers auditory chimerism through the work of the electronic composer Florian Hecker, who has experimented with this technique to produce against-the-grain redescriptions of sound. Its goal is to show how to think of bio-chimerical human hearing next to the technical process of making auditory chimeras, and what happens when chimeric listening meets chimeric composition.

Keywords:   auditory chimerism, sound recordings, hearing, sound, Florian Hecker, auditory chimeras, chimeric listening, chimeric composition

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