What is at stake when the sonorous becomes a condition of possibility for a concept of community? Exploring the ex(ap)propriation of the sonic that takes places at the threshold between the refusal of presence in French deconstruction (Derrida, Nancy) and the refusal of biopolitics in recent Italian thought (Agamben, Negri, Virno), this essay proposes that, insofar as sound always-already goes beyond and outside itself, it provides a model for subtractive ontologies that resists both any notion of particular identity and criterion of communal belonging. The ontological-political potential of the sonic presupposes a division that inheres within aurality between the ear and the voice: between the resonant spacing that is Nancy's being-with and the sonorous residue of the capacity not to speak in Agamben. This leads to asking what form of politics can emerge if an unheard audibility is set alongside a sounding unsayability in the closest, yet irreparably disjunct, intimacy.
Naomi Waltham-Smith; The Sound of the Outside. boundary 2 1 February 2016; 43 (1): 75–105. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/01903659-3340649
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