Relational listening and site specific interventions
all photos by Laura Arlotti
Soundstorming – Amsterdam, 12-13 May 2011
Soundstorming is an exploration walk that guides participants through various acoustic territories and sound locations. The walk functions as a mobile playground for collaborative experiments with sound and listening.
Echoing the process of brainstorming, Soundstorming provides a freewheeling environment in which participants are encouraged to explore different listening modes and develop site specific interventions.
Particular attention is put on the body as a whole sensory being and political subject. Situated listening activities serve as a starting point for developing individual sensitive capacity as well as a strategy for investigating specific social-cultural contexts and notions of public and private.
At the end of the walk, participants critically presented their documentation and the experiential data gathered during the exploration with the group.
Key-terms, concepts and actions
Phenomenon and context > Sound is not exclusively a linear signal from source to listener. Instead of focusing on sound “in itself”, think about how the whole context of listening modifies your sensations, feelings, and place perception. Consider how site variables and conditions contribute to the holistic experience of a certain event and inform your listening experience.
Production of space > On one hand space is physical, its affordances and constraints modify your relation to it. On the other hand: each of us has the capacity to modify space just by “being there”, by triggering new events, and by making new relations possible.
Politics of listening > The position we occupy in space is a declaration of intent – a socio-cultural-political statement. Relate this to what are considered “acceptable behaviours” in public space and to the set of power relations that reside in every space. Just by adopting a certain listening posture you are questioning social conventions and cultural habits.
Borders > Borders consolidate and – at the same time – deny the contradictions and the ambiguities that they represent. On one hand, they are physical structures, they delimit specific portions of space. On the other hand they are cultural constructions that serve as an identity mirror for emphasizing – and isolating – differences. It’s only by reconstructing our relation with the space around us and by inhabiting its borders that it becomes possible to reduce and confine the violence and the power that borders represent.
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