noises| signals is a sonic research project on signal and noise in the acoustic environment.
For the most part, scientific results are represented in abstract terms–like text, data or diagrams. In contrast, the course »Field Recordings« experimented with sound recordings as alternative media for research and representation. Drawing on Murray Schafer’s »soundscape«–with respect to more recent paradigms from sound studies and ethnography–students of European Media Studies investigated all the differing local qualities and features of the sonic environment, and compiled a corpus of »sonic documents«. The recordings were analysed and arranged to form a »sonic research report«, which keeps record both of the research process in the field as well as the characteristics of sound recordings as representational media in general.
Listen now to Birth of a Sound, Field Recordings Fast & Furious, Consonance or Competition, Printing Sound, Library, Station, The Ways of Water, or Traffic.
Continue reading “Noises | Signals. Sounds shifting between figure and ground”
›[The] visualist bias has dramatically influenced the way in which anthropology itself has evolved. Thus, one emergent and potentially very important aid to the refocusing of the discipline lies in attending to kinds of knowledge that have proved resistant to being coded in graphic or visual ways.‹ (Michael Herzfeld on the future of anthropology; Herzfeld 2002, 245)
Today, there is an increasing concern for the senses in the humanities. Some even venture to proclaim a ›sensory turn‹. In cultural anthropology, a greater awareness for sensory phenomena and embodied subjectivities, for materiality and atmospheres is reflected in approaches such as an ›anthropology of the senses‹ (Howes 1991) or a ›sensory ethnography‹ (Pink 2009). However, in today’s academic practice many scholars still appear to be utterly reluctant to go beyond text, images, or diagrams as a means of communicating knowledge–even when presenting research on the human sensoriality.
Now ›Cultures of Auditory Knowledge–Knowledge of Auditory Praxis‹, an interdisciplinary conference held at the University of Music and Performing Arts Graz and the Karl Franzens University of Graz in June 2014, offered just the right setting to address and, indeed, transgress these representational conventions within an academic context. With a paper on ›Soundscapes and Ethnography. Field Recordings within Urban Studies‹ I did not try to construct another theory on sound in the city. Rather, I aimed to allow for some first-hand experiences, or at least to provide some ›sensory material‹ by presenting a composed sequence of recordings from the field.
Listening to this sound sample is an experiment you can partake of: Can these recordings actually convey a ›sense of place‹ (Feld/Basso 2009)? Do they reveal something about the people living here, about the atmosphere and mood of this particular ›sonic lifeworld‹?
Continue reading “›Background Noise‹. Field Recordings and Ethnography”
›Inside every room of every house of a street, each of them full of audible details, usually concealed behind closed doors: if it would be possible to listen to these everyday choreographies, what could you hear?‹
Buddhist temple at Berlin Ackerstraße (Photo: Andreas Praefcke)
This experimental project called Berlin Ackerstraße (2006-2007) takes you on a participant observation or rather, a participatory sound expedition in Berlin, Ackerstraße. It enables you to listen to the sounds of everyday life in Ackerstraße five years ago – while walking down the street today.
Miniatures for mobiles is an app which responds to your movements: you are literally composing by walking. You are wandering around in a radio play.
Continue reading “Compose by walking! A miniature for mobiles”
In June 2010 I participated in a soundwalk conducted by Kathrin Wildner, an urban ethnographer reknown for her research in Mexico City and Istanbul. In Berlin, we were taking a walk at Oderstraße along the line of the fence which encloses the former Tempelhof airport. We asked ourselves if the fence may act as a sonic border and what – in general – a border sounds like.
In the meantime, the airport had been opened to the public which slightly shifted the focus of our inquiry towards the massive change of the soundscape in this area. Surprisingly, the Tempelhof Field today makes up an area of quietness in the middle of Berlin. Continue reading “›Talk about the walk‹. Kathrin Wildner’s soundwalk at the Tempelhof Field”
From 2006 to 2008 I participated in Sensing the Street, an interdisciplinary research project about three streets in Berlin resulting in three exhibitions. See www.sensingthestreet.de (in German).
Listen to an excerpt from an ethnographic audio documentary about the Ackerstraße in Berlin. Continue reading “Ethnographic audio documentary of Berlin, Ackerstraße”