Distancing and Loneliness: Being Heard in the Silence

Paper Presentation
27 August 2020
14:00 - 14:30 hrs (GMT+7)

Francis Nuntasukon, Speaker

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This article rests on a question: What are the conditions for understanding silence? The language of silence cannot be achieved through its representations, even the ontologicals of silence are not empirical or observable phenomena. It is for this reason that our experience of understanding almost all silence is an experience that comes through a “cultural tool.” Through this tool, our experience forms and creates the meaning of silence, limiting the condition and the boundary of its instrumentations; its form manifests itself through social loneliness. 


The concepts of loneliness and silence have always been evident in contemporary music. Although loneliness may not be directly linked to distancing or social isolation, due to the lack of relationships with others, loneliness can be a  negative outcome of the inconsistency between the physical relationship and the self-imposed standards of social expectation. It is for this reason that we ourselves rebuild the “mentality” of loneliness and social isolation as a new condition of wanting to stay away from society and others. This condition manifests itself through the language of music.


Within the framework of Adorno’s study of mass culture, music in mass culture is changed to a new position that does not place itself solely on the artistic framework. Instead, it becomes a tool and a process to heal emotions that are depleted or address the vital social symptoms of almost all human cultures in capitalistics era, that is the perception that individuals can redefine their perceived symptoms and view it as a logical reflection of societal mentality. Loneliness and silence have something in common. They are ignored through observable patterns. As empirical aesthetics, attention to loneliness and silence is necessary to expand understanding of the mechanisms behind the symptoms and the persistent state of social symptoms that should be addressed, and this may be presented as a means of addressing the social impact that has occurred. 


We found that there was a pattern of discrepancies in the concept during the consideration of how music was placed on an ontological turn, affecting the regression of the human listening in nature that was inherited when living on the soundscape. Under this COVID-19 pandemic, some social behaviors have manifested interestingly through Thai’s online soundscape, such as ASMR and Virtual Concert, which are important in the study of new musicology, or contemporary sound studies.


This study was funded by the Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn Anthropology Centre (Public Organization)