Audio History of Film

Project lead: Prof. Dr. Winfried Pauleit (ZeMKI Lab "Film, Media Art and Popular Culture")

Funding institution:  Excellence Initiative of German federal and state governments

The project explored how film sound and film sound generate, model and make history audible and experienceable, and thus represented an extension of the approaches to cinematic narration of history and visual history.

The innovative core of the project lies in the hypothesis that the acoustic dimension of film makes its own contribution to the modelling of history. In contrast to the cinematic narration of history and visual history, the audio history of the film has not yet been investigated. Although sound and sound have developed into a relevant field of research in film studies and have recently been established as a separate field in sound studies, the historical reference of sound and sound production in film and its significance in the production of historicity has not yet been specifically addressed.

Historical science has described and reflected the telling of history as a poeological process, and visual history, which explores film and visual images, is regarded as an established process within the discipline. But with this approach, the auditory dimension is not specifically examined, but exclusively questioned in terms of pictoriality. This is where the project comes in and explores how film sound and sound can generate history auditively, model it and make it possible to experience it. It is thus a matter of forming a theory on the audio history of film. The aesthetic dimension and its potential for the production of history will be examined as well as the material, technical and cultural dimension of film sound production with regard to historical modelling.

The aim of the project was to prominently elaborate the significance of film sound in the production of history. The project was a pioneer in film studies and at the same time offered the prospect of a highly innovative approach to the interdisciplinary field of film studies and history.

Further information

Website Film Studies / Media Aesthetics:


: Prof. Dr. Winfried Pauleit
Prof. Dr.

Winfried Pauleit

Institution Centre for Media, Communication and Information Research of the University of Bremen (ZeMKI)

Building/room: GW2 B3930
Phone: +49 (0) 421 218 677 20