Field Studies 2011
Tue 13 – Fri 16 September 2011
Field Studies 2011 is a four-day summer-school led by four acclaimed sound artists, architects and composers: Raviv Ganchrow, Liminal and Esther Venrooy. It explores the possibilities of engaging with places through listening, and working with recorded sound as a creative and practical tool in the context of architecture, the city and art practice.
Field Studies is organised by Musarc, a sound and architecture research platform at the Faculty of Architecture and Spatial Design (ASD), London Metropolitan University, and led by Joseph Kohlmaier.
In recent years, there has been a noticeable increase in the number of galleries that exhibit sound-based art; books that engage with the phenomenon of sound and the listener; radio programmes and blogs; symposia, teaching programmes and festivals around the question of sound. Although this is not a new phenomenon, ‘sound’ still very much occupies a place outside the mainstream. It brings a certain promise: an alternative, new way of looking at culture, and new opportunities to engage with the environment specifically in the context of architecture and the city.
At the same time, and probably as a consequence, the world of sound-culture harbours certain myths and misconceptions, which the workshop aims to examine through a series of talks, discussions and evening lectures. Already the way we use the word ‘sound’ in this context needs to be scrutinised, as Tim Ingold has done convincingly in a seminal short essay with the title ‘Against soundscape’. The same scrutiny should be brought also to other, more generally accepted conceptions about listening and sensory experience.
One of these might be the assumption that the senses operate separately from each other, and dominate over one another, and that this dominion is a product of our own culture. An engagement with sound is often seen as a remedy against the predominance of sight. In reality, however, our senses are probably not only always at work at the same time, but cross over and connect with each other through a form of synaesthesia.
Field Studies is a practical workship as well as a place to explore questions like these – more specifically in the context of architecture and the built environment, where the great opportunity of working with ‘sound’ simply arises from the fact that apart from seeing, hearing is the only other sense we have the means to represent.
Sound recording technology has been around for almost as long as photography, and is catching up fast in terms of quality. The premise of Field Studies is simple: that by engaging with listening and its representation, the means by which we connect to places will become more varied, and creative processes in design may come to encompass an aspect of experience that is currently not present in architectural representation.
Field Studies aims to explore the ways in which this might happen. What can listening do in the context of architecture and the city? How can field recording – be it through listening, sketching what we hear, or recording sounds – inform design processes? Which aspect of the built environment can sound make tangible that sight can’t penetrate?
Field Studies is run in the form of masterclasses, each led by tutors who approach these questions from a rich variety of different perspectives. A series of cross-masterclass talks by the tutors and visiting speakers, and a series of practical workshops complements a programme of sonic-capture field trips and creative work following a set brief. Click here for more information.