Discourse 11.05.23, 11:00 Forum Saloon Entry: Free

Tim Ingold

How the world makes itself heard

Guest production


Does a falling tree make a sound if no-one is around to hear? It depends on what you mean by sound. If it is a physical impulse, transmitted through the aerial medium, then ‘yes’; if it is something we register in our minds, then ‘no’. But must we choose between these alternatives? In this talk, I ask you to picture yourself walking in the forest, during a storm. The sounds of trees falling, wind gusting and thunder rumbling are not objects of perception but rather the reverberations of a consciousness that has opened to the sky, to merge with the cosmos. In this sense, sounds are neither mental nor physical but atmospheric. This leads us to think differently about ears, not as anatomical organs primed to respond to acoustic signals, but as the attentiveness of a body placed on aural alert. This aural attention, this hearing, gives voice to the tree, the wind and the thunder. Hearing, thus, doesn’t provide a portal for the human mind to take possession of a world. Rather, it is in taking possession of its human inhabitants that the world makes itself heard. Is this also what happens in music-making?


(Musical) Improvisation and Ethics is a four-year research project supported by a grant from the Austrian Science Foundation (FWF). The project’s core team consists of musician and artistic researcher Christopher A. Williams from University of Music and Performing Arts Graz, anthropologist Caroline Gatt from University of Graz and philosopher Joshua Bergamin from University of Vienna.

The seminar series will explore issues related to ethics, improvisation, music and research methods.

Seminars will be held both at Forum Stadtpark, Graz and online.

Join the seminar

We invite you to join the discussions and debates!

It is funded by the University of Graz Postdoctoral office, the FWF and the Forum Stadtpark.

(Anatomy) of a Musical Ethics Lab
9 March, 11:00-13:00, Joshua Bergamin, Caroline Gatt und Christopher Williams
The seminar will be conducted in English
White Ethics: Race, Method, and Artistic Research
30 March, 11:00 - 13:00, Ben Spatz (online)
The seminar will be conducted in English
How the world makes itself heard
11 May, 11:00 - 13:00, Tim Ingold
The seminar will be conducted in English
Human and Non-human agency in sound and music
1 June, 11:00 - 13:00, Bernd Brabec de Mori
The seminar will be conducted in German

How the world makes itself heard