16-20 October 2023

What does 2023 sound like?

Perhaps it’s the murmur of crowds ambling again along streets once hushed by a pandemic. Perhaps it’s the diminuendo of birdsong as a climate catastrophe vibrates on our shores. Or else the politicised protest of those fighting for action. Perhaps it’s the daily wail of an air-raid siren as the long peace in Europe is threatened.

Consciously or unconsciously, intentionally or unintentionally, we all make sounds. They all have an impact on the world around us. Our voices, our footsteps, our machines and, yes, our music… All contribute to the sonic landscape of our world.

We are equally all affected by sound or by its absence. The way we experience sound is subjective. It depends on our individual preferences, our cultural background, and our personal experiences. Sound can sooth us or unsettle us. It can bring us joy or drag us into despair.

Our world is in flux, so too is its soundtrack. Through Bodies of Sound, the UNESCO Week of Sound will explore how sound gathers, summons, lands, diffuses. How sound affects, lifts, hurts. We will investigate the body—human, natural, political and planetary—as an instrument. Of joy. Of pain. Of change. And then there is silence, the absence of sound, a presence of soundlessness. We will ask what silence offers, denies and creates.