Rémy Bocquillon – Sound Formations, Towards a Sociological Thinking-with Sounds


transcript, ISBN 978-3837663303, English, 212 pages, 2022, Germany

In this dissertation project, Rémy Bocquillon attempts to establish ‘sonic sociology’, whereby sound is regarded as an instrument of sociology rather than its object. Bocquillon develops a particular theoretical interpretation of how sound can facilitate relational processes, thanks to its unique physical and dynamic properties, by defining it as a ‘vector of intensities leading to the production of knowledge.’ Having promoted a diversity of this kind of production that includes non-human actors within the process, the author focuses on how acoustic space contributes to the appropriation of knowledge and the recovery of materiality to a greater extent than ubiquitous visual culture. Starting from the seminal analysis of Ong and McLuhan to the recent work of Haraway and Despret’s definition of the ‘Phonocene’, Bocquillon contextualises his own aesthetic practises related to reverberation and spatial perception to define what he calls ‘thinking-with sounds.’ Here, the sociological aspects become evident through his engaging artworks and the use of sounds as a means of knowing. The final chapter, called the ‘audio chapter’, uses a large QR code to give the reader access to more experimental writing coupled with audio tracks, both stored on the author’s personal website. An unusual but hopefully increasingly accepted way of integrating sound into these kinds of books.