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Sound and More-than-human Sociality in Catherine Clover’s Oh! Ah ah pree trra trra

Browning, J. ORCID: 0000-0001-7013-7959 (2021). Sound and More-than-human Sociality in Catherine Clover’s Oh! Ah ah pree trra trra. Organised Sound: an international journal of music and technology, 26(2), pp. 179-189. doi: 10.1017/s1355771821000352


This article transposes questions about socially engaged sound practices into a more-thanhuman register, turning an ear to the sounds of interspecies encounters. It takes its impetus from a workshop aimed at forming a ‘cross species choir’ by the artist Catherine Clover, in which participants tried to sing like, with and to birds in a London woodland. I describe how Clover’s speculative choir was informed by theoretical models drawn both from sound studies and the environmental humanities, as well as a down-to-earth, humorous sensitivity towards the limitations and absurdities of artistic practice. Where much theory associated with sound art and experimental music sees sound as an ontological suture (Ochoa Gautier 2016) for repairing the fractured relationship between humans and nature, Clover’s practice offers a more ambivalent and, I argue, therefore more generative means of conceptualising the role of sound within more-than-human social worlds. In particular, it uses sound to draw attention to the apprehension of humans by other creatures and to various dynamics of evasion, non-encounter and undecidability in our relationships with the more-than-human world. By amplifying this alternative way of understanding sound and listening, the article seeks to recast projects of social engagement through sound in more speculative and expansive terms.

Publication Type: Article
Additional Information: This article is published in a revised form in Organised Sound This version is published under a Creative Commons CC-BY-NC-ND. No commercial re-distribution or re-use allowed. Derivative works cannot be distributed. © the author.
Subjects: M Music and Books on Music
Departments: School of Communication & Creativity > Performing Arts > Music
SWORD Depositor:
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