Thursday, February 23, 2012

Soundseeing Exercise

Perform in small groups or on your own before our next meeting on March 7.

Some projects to view/consider first:
Make notes immediately following each step (these can be in the form of writing, audio recording or any kind of mark making).
Part 1: Ear Opening
Go to the first location on the map: The open space between East of Temple Buell Hall and South of the Bell Tower.
Stand still and close your eyes for a couple of minutes. What is the quietist sound you can hear? What is the most distant sound you can hear? The closest? How big does your soundspace seem? What sounds of your own body can your hear? What is the mix of human and non-human sounds?
Pay attention to sounds that travel through your listening space, as you might watch visual phenomena. Try to notice a sound just as it becomes audible, and follow it until it is barely perceptible. What kind of information does this sound convey about what is making it (how fast is it moving, how big is it)?
Consider what prior knowledges you bring to your listening. When you recognize (or think you recognize) particular sounds, how do you attribute meaning to those sounds?

Part 2: Hearing Front/Back Regions
As you walk to location 2 (try to walk alone, or at least without talking to others): Try to distinguish between sounds that designate a "front" or "back" region. Which sounds do you imagine are functioning in a "public" way? Which sounds seem to be intended for "private" or limited consumption? What sounds tell you something about the workings of a place (or part of a place) not accessible to vision?

Part 3: Acoustic Territoriality (From Front to Back)
As you enter and walk through location 2, observe the audible changes in space and their impact on your perception of the space. Do certain sounds attract or repel you in going further? What do the specific sounds that are present tell you about the space? Are some spaces unified (or, alternatively, distinguished) acoustically? How does what you hear relate to what you see? Are there contrasts?

A Historical Narrative for Location 2 (The UI Histories Project)


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