Posted in Project

Noises | Signals. Sounds shifting between figure and ground

noises_signals_titlenoises| 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.

The_rolling_mills_at_bay_view_milwaukee_1882_AUSSCHN_MITTEL

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Posted in Critique

Who’s afraid of R. Murray Schafer?

r-murray-schafer-marcia-adair Photograph by Miss Mussel

Who is, indeed? Both a fervid apology of and a furious pamphlet for Murray Schafer, written by James Wyness last year. Still groovy!

Fouter & Swick

frog

It has become fashionable in some sound and new music quarters to sneer and snipe at R. Murray Schafer and his ideas on the soundscape. In particular I’ve noticed that the ideas set forth in Soundscape: Our Sonic Environment and the Tuning of the World come under attack for being nostalgic, romantic (without defining what this means), idealist, utopian – the list goes on. Of course the detractors rarely come up with any positive ideas themselves. And no I’m not going to name names – that’s for the reader to discover. The critics, if I may dignify them with such a title, range from academics seeking to distinguish their own second-hand ideas to the composer who seeks to validate his or her compositional aesthetic. Personally I doubt if many of the snipers have actually taken time to read the book from cover to cover. I confess openly that after years of taking for granted the…

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Posted in Miniature for Mobiles, Workshop

›Walking in the City. Hidden Sounds and Mobile Places‹

A miniature for mobiles inspired by Michel de Certeau’s seminal text ›Walking in the City‹, based on the radio aporee app
Silly Walks
John Cleese, The Ministry of Silly Walks

›The act of walking is to the urban system what the speech act is to language. It is a process of appropriation of the topographical system on the part of the pedestrian (just as the speaker appropriates and takes on the language); it is a spatial acting-out of the place (just as the speech act is an acoustic acting-out of language).‹ (Michel de Certeau)

Unterschiedlicher Straßenbelag in der Berliner Ackerstraße II (Willkomm 2006)Photo by Judith Willkomm

›Walking in the City. Hidden Sounds and Mobile Places‹ is a sound art installation in public space, accessible via a customised smartphone app. Listeners are invited to explore and appropriate an area of hidden sounds–and to compose their own radio play by walking.

Footsteps weave places together.‹ (Michel de Certeau)

Vorderseite_KOSMOS_Einladung_2013_final_0©: Kerstin Kühl, 2013

›Walking in the City. Hidden Sounds and Mobile Places‹ was created and presented in September 2013 as an exceptional soundwalk for the KOSMOS Summer University 2013 ›Modern Walking. Innovative Urban Mobility‹ (here’s a video clip on KOSMOS Summer University).

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Posted in Report

›In the Field‹. Symposium at the British Library

in-the-field_900From 15th to 16th February, I attended In the Field, a symposium hosted by the British Library in collaboration with CRiSAP (Creative Research in Sound Arts Practice). Given the library’s own extensive collections of field recordings — ranging from oral history to ethnomusicological documents, from historical wildlife recordings to industrial sounds — it may just seem consequential for the British Library to adress contemporary practitioners of documentary recording. In fact, with its considerable line-up, In the Field truly aimed to further ›explore the art and craft of field recording‹: among others, speakers included Ximena Alarcón, Peter Cusack, Zoe Irvine, Christina Kubisch, Udo Noll, Salomé Voegelin, and Chris Watson.

As a point of departure, it was Joeri Bruyninckx’ task to relate contemporary field recording practices to its historical origins: back to the days of wildlife recordists Ludwig Koch (UK) or Albert Brand (US), when field recording meant to bring a mobile studio into ›the relative wilderness of the field‹ (Bruyninckx) — occasionally even mounted on a horse carriage.

1936_02_2Peter Kellogg from Albert Brand’s team recording in the swamps of Florida, 1936.

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Posted in Report

R. Murray Schafer’s ear cleaning game at The Global Composition 2012

The Global Composition Header›Considering the world’s objects as instruments, its inhabitants as their players and all sounds on the globe taking place simultaneously, leads to the imagination of a global composition. Any audible phenomenon is part of this huge ongoing concert which includes all living beings and unites them in – mostly unintentional and uncoordinated – collaboration.‹ (The Global Composition)

With ›The Soundscape‹, published in 1977, R. Murray Schafer inspired this idea of a global composition. At the correspondent Conference on Sound, Media and the Environment in Darmstadt-Dieburg in July this year, Schafer opened the meeting with an introductory lecture, including a sample of his so-called ear cleaning games.

R. Murray Schafer at Darmstadt-Dieburg, 2012R. Murray Schafer at The Global Composition 2012

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