10 Feb 2021 2:30pm - 4:30pm ONLINE SESSION (UK Time)


This is an online event hosted via Zoom. Registration is now closed.


Julian Henriques (Goldsmiths)


Marie Thompson (Open University)

Virtual music set at close of session by Conscious Way Outernational, Guadeloupe
Link for streaming session:



In this talk I take the Jamaican sound system as an exemplary apparatus for exploring the relationships between black knowledge, sounding and technology. Black knowledge challenges what Angela Davis calls “the tyranny of the universal” to identify subaltern knowledge systems, epistemologies of the south and not least the “ways-of-knowing” of the Jamaican audio engineers. Against the dominant ocularcentrism, the talk considers the performance of the sounding of music as a particularly rich medium of expression informed by black knowledge production. Swing and blue notes in jazz, dub music and the “phonomorphic” (sound shaping) techniques of the audio engineers provide examples. The role of technology for knowledge and sounding is also explored through the example of the sound system set of equipment itself. Here the repurposing of domestic instrument of the gramophone as a tool for social and cultural liberation in the dancehall session can be describes as “reggaefuturism” – a progenitor of Afrofuturism.


About the Speakers

Julian Henriques is a filmmaker, sound artist, and scholar of cultural studies at Goldsmiths, University of London, where he is Professor in the Media, Communications and Cultural Studies Department. He is the author of Sonic Bodies: Reggae Sound Systems, Performance Techniques, and Ways of Knowing (Bloomsbury, 2011). Other recent research projects include the establishment of the TRU (Topology Research Unit) in 2011, with particular interests and activities in the areas of diagrammatics, rhythm and auditory topology. He established Sound System Outernational in 2015 to organize events bringing together academic researchers, system culture practitioners and aficionados. He is the founding director of Sonic Womb Productions Ltd, a collaboration research project that develops immersive surround-media environments.

Marie Thompson is a Lecturer in Popular Music at The Open University. She is the author of Beyond Unwanted Sound: Noise, Affect and Aesthetic Moralism (Bloomsbury, 2017) and is the Principal Investigator of the AHRC research project, Tinnitus, Auditory Knowledge and the Arts. Marie is a founding participant of Sonic Cyberfeminisms, an ongoing project that critically and creatively interrogates the relationship between gender, sound and technology.

Conscious Way Outernational Hi Powa is a Non For Profit Association and sound system based in between Guadeloupe (FWI, Caribbeans) and UK. Founded by Abigene (Selectress) and Tiqur (Operator), the association aim at promoting the Roots Reggae Dub and Sound System Culture as means for education and social betterments. Since 2015 promoter and organizer of different cultural events in Guadeloupe (Roots Dub Meeting, Roots a Vieux Bourg, Guadeloupe Dub Club) as well as in UK (Dub Reaktion events and a collaboration with Manchester University Humanitarism and Conflict Response Department). The CWO Hi Powa sees the light in 2020 when the building of the highly customized sound system has been “completed”, and proudily keeps working glocally amplifying talents such as Djahibre aka Suga Moss, Sistah Jahia, Bobo Nattywell and Ras Beni among others…  Musical Reasonings, Dubplate Pressure, Bass Culture! 



An event organised by Auralities Research Network
Administrative assistance: networks@crassh.cam.ac.uk 

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