Posthuman attunements: aesthetics, authority and the arts of creative listening

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Brigstocke, Julian ; Noorani, Tehseen (2016)

This introduction to the themed section on attunement explores the varied practices, politics, and aesthetics of attuning to more-than-human voices, temporalities, and material processes. What happens when we attempt to attune ourselves to forms of agency that do not possess a conventionally recognized voice to be amplified? What new intersections among research, invention, and political agency might emerge when voices have to be assembled rather than merely amplified, and when new methods of listening need to be invented? The concept of attunement speaks to subtle, affective modulations in the relations between different bodies. We describe four broad traditions of scholarship that render differently the concept of attunement. First is the Kantian sense of attunement as a harmonious and playful mediation between the human faculties of imagination and understanding. Second, attunement can be seen as a preconscious way in which we find ourselves disposed, or tuned, to our environment. Third, attunement can be conceived of as a form of embodied relationality and interconnectedness that capacitates individual empathy and grounds the possibility of coproduction. Finally, attunement to vastly different spatiotemporal scales can be seen as strange, uncanny, and uncertain—transient achievements that bring us into contact with lost futures, haunted presents, and even different versions of ourselves. The contributions we have drawn together explore the concept of attunement in relation to themes that include technology, aesthetics, human–animal relations, class, landscape, feminist, political, and postcolonial theory.
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