November 5, 2020 - Theatrum Mundi - Out now: Sonic Urbanism: The Political Voice
e-flux Architecture
November 5, 2020
November 5, 2020

Theatrum Mundi

Cover of Sonic Urbanism: The Political Voice. Image: Diana Portela.

Shannen SP. Courtesy of Shannen SP.

The International Western. Image: Storm Greenwood.

Eleni Ikoniadou performing. Courtesy of Eleni Ikoniadou.

Out now: Sonic Urbanism: The Political Voice
New publication and launch events

Release event 1: November 18
Release event 2: November 19
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To celebrate the launch of Sonic Urbanism: The Political Voice, Theatrum Mundi and &beyond collective are hosting a programme of virtual events around the theme of the publication. Hosted at, two evenings of performance and discussion invite readers to go beyond urban soundscape as an artifact, and ask questions about cities that start from sound, and particularly from voice.

The virtual launch event will feature two new performances, a panel discussion and a DJ set responding to the theme of the "political voice." 

Pre-order at a discounted price to get a copy of the publication (print + multimedia edition) and access to the virtual live programme.

Live programme

Wednesday, November 18

7–7:15pm GMT Performance by The International Western: Canary 
Directed by Denna Cartamkhoob

Until 1986 we carried caged canaries down British coal mines to detect carbon monoxide before our delayed human reaction. In 1986 a crowd of protestors interrupted the conference announcing the development of Canary Wharf by freeing sheep and bees into the landscape. They shouted "kill the canary!" but only canaries could have saved us: living signalling systems, a sentinel species sacrificed to warn us of the danger ahead. Now when we need it more than ever, is the canary dead already? Or is it singing otherwise, as a sign, a gift of grace time in the city? Time enough now to escape, move, abandon tools, halt work; to make the air safe enough to return.

The International Western and company is a performance collective based in London, working together since 2012, making installation and performance work about the technosocial mechanisms of contemporary living. 

7:15–7:30pm GMT Performance by Eleni Ikoniadou, Polyphonic Lament
"One has to inhabit the crazy, nonsensical, ranting language of the other. Inhabit and even cultivate this absence” (Fred Moten). This audiovisual performance is a chorus of human, nonhuman, computational, sonic and bodily voices, coming together to compose a non-linear collective lament.

Eleni Ikoniadou is Senior Tutor at the Royal College of Art and member of the art collective AUDINT ( With Steve Goodman (kode9) and Toby Heys, she has co-edited the volume Unsound: Undead (Urbanomic, 2019) and produced a series of exhibitions under the same title, funded by the Arts Council of England (2018-2020). Currently she is working on a fully funded project by the Human-Data Interaction EPSRC Network, investigating machine learning in Art, Music & the Culture Industries. She is founder and co-editor of the Media Philosophy Series (Rowman and Littlefield International) and author of the monograph The Rhythmic Event: Art, Media and the Sonic (The MIT Press, 2014).

Thursday, November 19

7–8pm GMT
Join publication contributors Eleni Ikoniadou, performer and sound artist Ella Finer, Theatrum Mundi’s John Bingham-Hall and &beyond’s George Kafka for a multi-disciplinary conversation on how the voice is produced, amplified, shared and heard in contemporary cities. 

8–9pm GMT London based DJ, artist, and vocalist, Shannen SP, known for her work with esteemed UK label Hyperdub, and her co-curation of the Ø event with Kode9, will be responding to the theme of the ‘political voice’ through a DJ set dedicated to emergent gqom, kuduro, batida and UK rap. Shannen SP is also a member of the Nine Nights collective, started during the UK’s Covid-19 lockdown amid the global wave of protests that followed the deaths of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor. So far they have orchestrated a series of live streams exploring blackness in its different forms in London and Berlin, featuring DJ Stingray, Flohio, Obongjayer and more.

Live programme curated by Andrea Cetrulo

New call for contributions
The third iteration of Crafting a Sonic Urbanism will take place in Paris on March 18, 2021, in partnership with the research centre IRIS (EHESS). For this new edition, we are calling for presentations of artistic, design, and research projects, showing what can be learned by listening beyond human voices to the ways that animals, plants, and indeed other forms of non-human life make themselves heard. In line with the aims of Crafting a Sonic Urbanism, we are interested less in the soundscapes produced by non-human lifeforms as end points in themselves, than we are in how design and research approaches informed by acoustic methodologies might help understand and stimulate interspecies cohabitation in cities. In an urbanising world, urbanism becomes the study of reality itself, and requires therefore the greatest possible range of means and collaborators for imagining and enacting situations that can sustain both human and non-human life. Buildings and physical infrastructures are not enough – we also need new imaginative and cultural infrastructures to transform cities and the ways we live in them into sustainable habitats for a multitude of species.

The call for proposals is open until December 3 (end of day), full details here.  

Theatrum Mundi is an independent research centre based in London and Paris, which aims to expand the crafts of city-making through collaboration between artists and urbanists. We lead research and creative projects that stimulate new thinking about the way urban design shapes the public lives of cities. Sonic Urbanism is one of a number of diverse projects currently underway, each of which takes multiple forms including workshops, commissions, exhibitions, research, talks, performances, and publications. 

&beyond collective is a transdisciplinary group of editors, writers and graphic designers founded in Berlin in 2016. The collective members working on Sonic Urbanism were: Diana Portela (graphic design), George Kafka, Sophie Lovell, Fiona Shipwright and Rob Wilson (editorial).

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