Abstract for IMS 2017 Tokyo

This study is part of a larger research project investigating the soundscape of what Marc Augé calls a ‘non-place’ and the way in which the subjectivity of homo mobilis is reconfigured by sound in the hypermodern world. The present study asks the question: What will the soundscape be like in the near future, and how will the human subjectivity be determined by it? In an attempt to answer the question, this paper examines the process through which the subjectivity is constructed by sound in sci-fi film. The consideration of soundscape in futuristic sci-fi film is especially relevant here because diegetic sound is often used to set up a sense of historical time and location. The starting point for the discussion is the soundscape of the film Minority Report (2002), in which sound plays a central role in shaping the human subjectivity. Select scenes featuring ‘non-places’—in particular, a motor-cum-airway, a subway station, and a shopping mall—are analysed in terms of their soundscape. It will be shown that denizens of this utopian/dystopian world are not only constantly looked at but, more important, spoken to, by holographic billboards projecting advertisements specific to each individual; the inhabitants, in other words, live in a world where they are incessantly exposed to visual and ‘aural’ gaze. Drawing on Lacan’s concept of ‘extimacy’ (extimité), the present study argues that this constant encounter with the externalised self blurs the division between the most intimate interior and the exterior of the subject. The study concludes by revisiting the soundscape in the present day, in an attempt to speculate the soundscape and the subjectivity in the imminent future. (270 words)