EX005 Reading Chapter 1: "Unlikely Publics" by Brandon LaBelle


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In this episode I read chapter 1: “Unlikely publics: on the edge of appearance” from the book Sonic Agency by Brandon Labelle. The book deals with the fascinating question of sonic agency – of what kind of agency becomes possible by and through sound and the sonic. LaBelle further develops a typology of ‘unlikely publics’, i.e. social formations and their contexts and conditions that have particular need for sonic agency (the invisible, the overheard, the itinerant, and the weak). The first chapter of the book seeks to give an introduction to the approach as well as the problems discussed. Unfortunately the language is unnecessarily complicating things; difficulties to follow the arguments cannot be attributed to the medium of reading out loud, but are already inherent in the written text.

I originally read this text for the seminar “Writing culture – recording culture” I taught in the spring term of 2019 at the university of Bern.


LaBelle, Brandon. 2018. Sonic agency: sound and emergent forms of resistance. Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press.

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1. Title (00:00:00)

2. Chapter 1: Unlikely publics: n the edge of appearance (00:00:13)

3. Tact / and Tenderness (00:26:48)

4. Four sonic figures (00:52:13)

5. Anti-political politics (01:09:04)

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