Forum Artistic Research

Lecture Performance

Becoming Soundscape. Listening, Perceiving and Acting

Max Spielmann, Andrea Iten, Catherine Walthard, Daniel Hug

on  Sat, 15:30in  Neuer Saalfor  40min

/ Making Sense / We are an interdisciplinary team that combines pedagogy with art, design and sound. At the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic we organized an international workshop series over Zoom, where participants from five continents recorded soundscapes together and exchanged ideas. We found that a re-sonance or con-sonance emerged from this collective work, in which sounds become manifestations of presence and agency; the sociality and simultaneity of the space we shared together remains with us today. / From Soundscape to Shared Listening / A soundscape is a shared space of possibility. The field of interaction created by sounds—crunching, hissing, whispering, or croaking—influences and includes us, and yet also exceeds our capacity to listen. While we give soundscape names such as “boundary-object” and try to encounter the unexpected with an applied curiosity, we also find that soundscapes design their own implications through the interactions of the groups that explore them. In this way, shared listening creates a commonly negotiated and transient listening space, in which we actively decide how, why, and what we are listening to. / Performativity / A soundscape is a collective performance by living beings, machines, and physical phenomena. Although we might feel like we “arrive” inside the soundscape, the “moment” of arrival is actually in a continuous state of becoming: we perform while we listen and vice versa. And it is inside this transient and performative space that we also encounter objecthood, the remainder or trace of a concert, exhibition, natural environment, urban space, or Zoom call. By listening to and experimenting with the sounds that exceed the lecture room, we create a temporary spatial structure. / What Remains? / Our lecture performance creates a diversity of perception. Who has a voice and who or what is considered voiceless? Who joins in and where and how do these voices come together? For us, these questions are bounded by the possibilities of the soundscape itself, in that when we inquire we do so interactively and become part of the experiment ourselves. We aim to create an ephemeral pluriverse that expands outwards in such a way as to produce a “we” that neither subsumes nor valorizes the “I”, a collective experience that adapts to exposure and to whomever is present in that particular moment.

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