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VIDEO DOI: https://doi.org/10.48448/m7xe-e859

technical paper

AAA Annual Meeting 2021

November 18, 2021

Baltimore, United States

Listening for Life: Silence, Resonant Hauntings, and the Reorientation of Aural Chaos among Suicide Witnesses in Neoliberal South Korea


everyday life

music and sound


Despite labor laws that aim to provide better work-life balance, the increasing precarization of life•where a slowing neoliberal market intensifies skills needed for employability•finds many young South Korean adults not only confronting the impossibility of fulfilling a continuously displaced “good life” and the everyday forms of cruelty this optimism generates (Berlant 2011), but in a position where their biological life is at risk as self-blame continues to sustain the commonplace of suicide. But within such polarities, this paper concerns what comes of life for those Koreans who witness the suicide attempts of an intimate other in their residence, and in the silent aftermath of witnessing, how they negotiate life as the resonant hauntings of suicide consume the everyday security otherwise found in their fragile spatiotemporal construct of home. I propose this is aurally negotiated. By paying attention to how these suicidal hauntings in silence entangle with the precarious silencing of self in the chaotic noise of urban Seoul, I listen for how “silent” forms of sensing•subvocal humming, headphone listening, and stargazing•become employed as techniques of everyday survival and reprieve as the fragile repetitions of everyday life are rendered increasingly fraught (Deleuze & Guattari 1987). With these minor uses of inaudibility, I discern how these Koreans orient life to continuously exceed the foreboding self-subjectivization experienced in neoliberal Korea. Even amid the disorienting density of silence, I discern how these Koreans productively invoke and enact an unbridled becoming of life otherwise aurally limited through ideological and teleological framings (Grosz 2004, Jackson 2011).


Transcript English (automatic)

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