SOUND & SPACE

Silence itself, in a place of worship, has its music. In cloister or cathedral, space is measured by the ear: the sounds, voices and singing reverberate in an interplay analogous to that between the most basic sounds and tones; analogous also to the interplay set up when a reading voice breathes new life into a written text. Architectural volumes ensure a correlation between the rhythms that they entertain (gaits, ritual gestures, processions, parades, etc.) and their musical resonance. It is in this way, and at this level, in the non-visible, that bodies find one another. – Henri Lefebvre, The Production of Space

Sound is not something merely projected into a space. Space is not merely sound’s container. To the contrary, sound has the potential to define space, to create metaphorical walls. Sound “happens” in space; its waves traverse a distance from source to ear.  Furthermore, both sound and space have a structural design, an architectonics. This seminar addresses the sonic qualities of space, the spatial properties of sound, and the myriad other links between space and sound. We will begin by addressing theories of space – particularly those that acknowledge the role of sound, or silence, in shaping and giving character to space. We will then move on to examine some historical examples in which sonic and spatial constructions have worked in concert to define a place in time. The remainder of the semester is devoted to a variety of sound/space applications: artists crafting spaces out of sound, architects creating sonic spaces, sonic landscapes and sculptures, sound in mediated spaces, and auditory media’s role in shaping spaces or demarcating boundaries. Everyone will be asked to complete one mid-semester paper on a topic of his or her choice, and a final group project – either a substantial research paper or a creative project that will link into the Department’s “Media Space | Public Space” project. Throughout the semester, additional assignments will be developed collaboratively between instructors and students. Through the completion of these exercises and weekly reading assignments, weekly attendance, and occasional field trips and guest speakers, students will leave the class familiar with a new body of theory, appreciative of the connections between these seemingly unrelated concepts, and aware of how sound shapes the world we live, and listen, in.


TEXTS:

You will be asked to purchase the following:

  • Gaston Bachelard, The Poetics of Space (Beacon Press, 1994)
  • Brandon Labelle & Steve Roden, Eds., Site of Sound: of Architecture & the Ear (Errant Bodies Press, 1999)
  • Brandon Labelle, Fred Dewey, Achim Wollscheid, Brandon Labelle: Site Specific Sound (Errant Bodies Press, 2004).
  • Elizabeth Martin, Ed., Architecture as a Translation of Music (Princeton Architectural Press (Pamphlet Architecture 16), 1994)
  • Jonathan Sterne, The Audible Past: Cultural Origins of Sound Reproduction (Duke, 2003)
  • Emily Thompson, The Soundscape of Modernity: Architectural Acoustics and the Culture of Listening in America, 1900-1933 (MIT Press, 2002)
  • Additional readings available on the portal

  • Other Resources: Sound & Space: An Incomplete Bibliography
  • Chicago Public Radio's Re:sound show

Wed., Sept. 7: SPACE THROUGH SOUND, SONIC SPACE: LINKING THE TERMS

Introduction

Links:



Wed., Sept. 14: STARTING TO THINK ABOUT SPACE, SONICALLY    

Phenomenological approaches to space and sound.

  • Gaston Bachelard, The Poetics of Space (Beacon Press, 1994 /1958)
  • Christine McCombe, “Imagining Space through Sound” In Proceedings UK and Ireland Soundscape Community Conference: Sound Practice (Darrington, 2001)

Supplemental Readings:

  • Hegel, Lectures on Aesthetics, Part III (Heidelberg, 1818)
  • John Dewey, “The Varied Substance of the Arts,” In Art as Experience (Perigree, 1934): 214-44.
  • Gilles Deleuze & Felix Guattari, “1837: Of the Refrain” In A Thousand Plateaus: Capitalism and Schizophrenia (University of Minnesota Press, 1987): 310-50.
  • Richard Cavell, “A Short History of Space” and “Prosthetic Aesthetics” In McLuhan In Space (University of Toronto Press, 2002): 3-30, 69-90.
  • Gordon Gow, "Spatial Metaphor in the Work of Marshall McLuhan," Canadian Journal of Communication (2001).



Wed., Sept. 21: THE HISTORY OF SOUND, TECHNOLOGY AND THE SENSES        

The history of sound production and technology.

  • Jonathan Sterne, The Audible Past: Cultural Origins of Sound Reproduction (Duke, 2003).

Links:



Wed., Sept. 28: HISTORY, CONT.                                                                       

  • Continue with Jonathan Sterne, The Audible Past: Cultural Origins of Sound Reproduction (Duke, 2003).



Wed., Oct. 5: ARCHITECTURE OF AND FOR SOUND

Historical examples in which sonic and spatial constructions have worked in concert to define a place in time.                       

  • Alain Corbin, “The Auditory Markers of the Village” In Village Bells: Sound and Meaning in the 19th-century French Countryside (Columbia. 1998): 95-158.
  • Emily Thompson, The Soundscape of Modernity: Architectural Acoustics and the Culture of Listening in America, 1900-1933 (MIT, 2002).

Links:



Wed., Oct. 12: NO CLASS – Yom Kippur



Wed. Oct. 19: LISTENING (to) SPACE           

Spaces designed to maximize the sonic experience. Thinking about architecture  

  • Leo Beranek, “Music and Acoustics” and “The Language of Musical Acoustics” In Concert Halls and Opera Houses: Music, Acoustics, and Architecture (Springer, 2004): 1-35.
  • Listen to NPR’s “The Connection” show on “The Soundscape of Modernity,” with Thompson and Beranek.
  • Listen to Chicago Public Radio's Hello Beautiful! show on "The Sound of Architecture"

Links:



Wed. Oct. 26: CITY SOUNDS: THE URBAN SOUNDSCAPE

  • R. Murray Schafer, "The Rural Soundscape," "From Town to City," "The Industrial Revolution," "The Electric Revolution," and "Music, the Soundscape and Changing Perceptions" In The Soundscape: Our Sonic Environment and the Tuning of the World (Destiny, 1977/94): 43-119.
  • Fran Tonkiss, “Aural Postcards: Sound, Memory and the City” In Michael Bull & Les Back, Eds., The Auditory Culture Reader (Berg, 2003): 303-309.
  • Garret Keizer, "Sound & Fury" Harper's (March 2001).
  • Iain Chambers, “The Aural Walk” In Christoph Cox & Daniel Warner, Eds., Audio Culture: Readings in Modern Music (Continuum, 2004): 98-101.

Links:

 

Wed. Nov. 2: POETICS OF LISTENING: MODES AND PROJECTIONS

  • Ola Stockfeld, Adequate Modes of Listening in Musik som lyssnandets konst: En analys av W.A. Mozarts symfoni no 40, g moll K.550 (Musikvetenskapliga institutionen, 1988).
  • Excerpts from Michel Chion, Audiovision: Sound on  Screen (Columbia University Press, 1994).
  • Excerpts from John Cage, Silence (Wesleyan University Press, 1961).



Wed., Nov. 9: METHODS FOR MAPPING SOUNDS

  • R. Murray Schafer, Part 3: Analysis, Part 4: Toward Acoustic Design, Appendix I In The Soundscape: Our Sonic Environment and the Tuning of the World (Destiny, 1977/94): 123-267.

Links:



Wed., Nov. 16: SOUND ART AND SCULPTURE                                                             

Artists’ and architects’ sound installations and sonic sculptures. Works studied may include those of Maryanne Amacher (Sound Characters, Volume: Bed of Sound, Videotaped interview w/ New Musicbox), Laurie Anderson, Mark Bain, Maja Bajevic, Michael Brewster, Janet Cardiff, Trisha Donnelly (2005 Artpace exhibition,) Brian Eno, Bill Fontana (Resoundings), Christina Kubisch, Hans Peter Kuhn, Bernhard Leitner, Skip Leivsay, Alvin Lucier (Volume: Bed of Sound, Interview w/ pianist Thomas Moore, I am sitting in a room, IASIAR on Ubuweb), Jennifer & Kevin McCoy, Paul Miller, Robin Minard, Max Neuhaus, Bruce Odland, Steve Roden, Murray Shafer, Barry Truax, Richard Teitlebaum, Trimpin, Ultrared, Stephen Vitiello, Achim Wollscheid, Iannis Xenakis, composer Lutz Glandien and architect Malte Lueders.

  • Brandon LaBelle & Steve Roden, Eds., Site of Sound: of Architecture & the Ear (Errant Bodies Press, 1999).
  • Brandon LaBelle, Site Specific Sound (Errant Bodies Press, 2004).
  • Andra McCartney, “Soundscape Works, Listening, and the Touch of Sound” In Jim Drobnick, Ed., Aural Cultures (YYZ Books, 2004): 179-185.
  • Maryanne Amacher, “Synaptic Island” In Elizabeth Martin, Ed., Architecture as a Translation of Music (Princeton Architectural Press (Pamphlet Architecture 16), 1994): 32-35.
  • Ellen Fullman, “Sonic Space of the Long-Stringed Instrument” In Elizabeth Martin, Ed., Architecture as a Translation of Music (Princeton Architectural Press (Pamphlet Architecture 16), 1994): 46-49.
  • Zeug Design, “Instrument as Architecture” In Elizabeth Martin, Ed., Architecture as a Translation of Music (Princeton Architectural Press (Pamphlet Architecture 16), 1994): 50-54.

Supplemental Readings:

Links:



Wed., Nov. 23: No Class – Thanksgiving



Wed., Nov. 30: SENSING SPACE: BEYOND THE VISUAL

  • Juhani Pallasmaa, The Eyes of the Skin: Architecture and the Senses (Wiley-Academy, 2005): 1-51.
  • Joy Monice Malnar & Frank Vodvarka, “Spatial Constructs,” “The Mind’s Eye,” & “Sensory Response” & “Sensory Cues” In Sensory Design (University of Minnesota, 2004): 1-58, 129-52.
  • Steen Eiler Rasmussen, “Rhythm in Architecture” In Experiencing Architecture (MIT, 1991): 127-158, 224-237.  (Optional: “Hearing Architecture,” pp. 224-237).
  • Optional: Ted Sheridan & Karen van Lengen, “Hearing Architecture: Exploring and Designing the Aural Environment” Journal of Architectural Education 52 (November 2003): 37-44. (Much repetition of other texts – but offers applications of sonic techniques in design studios)

Links:



Wed., Dec. 7: ACTIVATED SPACE: TOWARDS A PRAXICAL PHENOMENOLOGY           

Linking the course’s theoretical foundations to the practice of sound production: space’s “coming into being” through sonic experience.

  • Excerpt from Maurice Merleau-Ponty, Phenomenology of Perception (Northwestern Unversity Press, 1964)
  • Martin Heidegger, “Language” In Poetry, Language and Thought.  Tr. Albert Hofstadter. (Harper and Rowe, 1977).
  • Excerpts from Christian Norberg Schultz, Genius Loci: Toward a Phenomenology of Architecture (Rizzoli, 1980).

Links:

SUPPLEMENTAL MATERIAL

UBIQUITOUS MUSIC, SOUND AND THE COMMERCIAL SOUNDSTAGE

Music and sound in public and semi-private spaces.

  • Report:  Department of War Production, Division of Media and Radio.  (excerpt.)
  • Barry Salmon, “Soundstaging” Paper given at 1999 IASPM Conference, Nashville, TN.
  • Jonathan Sterne, "Sounds Like the Mall of America: Programmed Music and the Architectonics of Commercial Space" Ethnomusicology 41:1 (Winter 1997): 22-50.
  • Excerpts from Slavoj Zizek, Looking Awry:  An Introduction to Jacques Lacan through Popular Culture (MIT Press. 1998).

Links:

PORTABLE SOUNDS & PRIVATE SOUND SPACES

  • Michael Bull, “Sounding Out the City: An Auditory Epistemology of Urban Experience” and “Visual Theories of City Life and Personal-Stereo Use” In Sounding Out the City: Personal Stereos and the Management of Everyday Life (Berg, 2000): 115-146.
  • Michael Bull, “’To Each Their Own Bubble’: Mobile Spaces of Sound In the City” In Nick Couldry & Anna McCarthy, Eds., MediaSpace: Place, Scale and Culture in a Media Age (Routledge, 2004): 275-293.

Supplemental Reading:

  • Tia DeNora, Music in Everyday Life (Cambridge, 2000).