ThesisPDF Available

Listening to Anthropocene: An Alternative Model for Earthly Survival

Listening to Anthropocene: An Alternative Model for Earthly Survival.
Sabina Rosas
Submitted to the Board of New Media
School of Film And Media Studies
in partial fulfillment of the requirements
for the degree of Bachelor of Arts
Purchase College
State University of New York
May 2019
Sponsor: Brooke Singer
Second Reader: Shaka McGlotten
In a comparative analysis of Western and Native American and African cultures
and what sense is superior in each in perceiving the reality, it becomes clear that
different societies engage whether to their environment, humans and non-human
species accordingly to the sense they rely on. Unlike Western societies that rely on
visual information, cultures that use tonality in their languages and music prove that
culturally do not use binary systems. Unlike the language in the West the sound in
indigenous societies is mobile and it does not have a dialectical dynamic. At the same
time it does not stand apart from Western languages but unlike it listening to sound
creates a fluid and engaged process of symbolization. It offers access to the production
of meaning as the tendency to speak. Therefore, the sonic-symbolic subject is
perceived as a more precise experience, it gives an audio-visual artist a chance to
overcome the self in the center of that experience.
Acoustic ecology is capable of expanding social phenomena, where through
encounters, we inhabit the world in a better way. As a result as a society, we acquire
more culture with alternative modes of exchange, production, and post-production such
as listening and sound making. Acoustic ecology suggests considering different kinds of
perspectives. By writing a script in space we are thinking temporary and ephemerally.
Which led me to write a story that took space in a place using digitally-programmed
interface to activate space which gave it utilitarian functions and poetic suggestions.
I utilize technology as a metaphor for life because through technology we can
create a better, overlapping understanding of our relationship with nature as a species,
where sound becomes a symbol of life and energy. In various parts of the world,
important research in environmental acoustics is being undertaken due to noise
pollution. As civilization develops, new noises arise over us: from primordial sounds of
nature to the sound imperialism of airports, city streets, and factories as I introduce the
exploration of our acoustic environment, past and present, and an attempt to imagine
what it might become in the future. I consider sonic classifications such as noise,
silence, harmony, and dissonance as a means of sensing life in Anthropocene by
addressing Donna Haraway’s encounters with science fiction. Her research in science
and feminist studies speculates that art of biological, ecological and technological forms
is a craft of knowledge-making and world-making, where through my own practice of
listening I find a way of weaving the stories of crafting and sustaining relations between
beings and species. Many of these sounds embed archetypal significance, as well as
affect the behavior of society, hence can be read as an indicator of social conditions
which produce it and may tell us much about the trending and evolution of that society.
After viewing my work, people will have a new conception of their surroundings and
their body within them. I examine the overlapping relationship of nature and culture
through the theories involved in Acoustic Ecology, Ecofeminism, and ethnomusicology,
and formally the amalgamation of human and natural spheres which creates a new
reality that reveals something about the way we define our own. The work I create
invades the places we inhabit, occupying the spaces we think we understand.
Listening as an aesthetic practice challenges how as a society we see and how
we interact in the production of the visual world. It expands and challenges what we
see, without negative illusion in reality of lived experience. Listening is an activity that
challenges the philosophical tradition of the West, which positions sound like an
attribute to visual and language structure. In that way, the sound is used to describe and
augment but never to do or become. Oyeronke Oyewumi, a Nigerian feminist scholar in
her book “The Invention of Woman: Making an African Sense of Western Gender
Discourses,” in comparative analysis demonstrates the contradictions at the very base
of the feminist theory, that gender is socially constructed and inferiority of a woman is
universal, placing a body always on view and making it a subject of categorization,
wherein Africa, particularly on example of Yoruba culture the social organization is
determined by relative age:
The classic example is the female who played the roles of the oba (ruler), omo
(offspring), gkg, aya, tyd (mother), and aldivo (diviner-priest) all in one body. None of
these kinship and nonkinship social categories are gender-specific. One cannot place
persons in the Yoruba categories just by looking at them. What they are heard to say
may be the most important clue. Seniority is a foundation of Yoruba social intercourse is
relational and dynamic; unlike gender, it is not focused on the body. (14)
The interpretation of social realities of both cultures through comparative analysis
led to the realization that a major difference is rooted in which one of the senses
determines the conception of reality. The Yoruba language is privileged in its tonality,
hence hearing is ingrained sense when comprehending reality. By placing sight as a
superior over other senses in Western societies, it makes it harder in a broader study of
the context to make sense of the world. By focusing on vision as a main method of
cognizance encourages what is apparent to the eye over which is not, therefore the
many other extents and variations of existence are missed out on.
By abandoning the language of the object one becomes attuned to human and
non-human assemblages through which sounds are produced and experienced. This
method, through sound, places the nonhuman to symmetrical relation to human, for
sound is a purely physical process. The subcategory of a sound as a human and
non-human assemblage, such as the sounds of other species, environmental sounds,
including mechanical and electronic sounds as well, makes a contribution of nonhuman
entities and the processes to sound itself.
In “Staying with the Trouble: Making Kin in the Chthulucene,” by Donna Haraway,
the “Chthulucene” is a possible current epoch where uncommoning of the commons
could be achieved by decolonization, by composing units of persons and kins. Natural
cultural diversity creates ‘tiospae,’ a stronger network of web. We can make that web
stronger by sharing stories that shape us, to reshape us and shape us into new
narratives and new possibilities,
The Anthropocene is about the destruction of places and times of refuge for
people and other critters. The Anthropocene is more a boundary event than an epoch,
its marks severe discontinuities; what comes after will not be like what came before. Our
job is to make the Anthropocene as short and thin as possible and to cultivate with each
other in every way imaginable epochs to come that can replenish refuge.(36)
Ecofeminism is a school of thought that reflects this thinking about the
relationship between the binary systems of both nature and culture as well as women
and men, each member of our Western society should consider “playing in the gap
between nature and culture,” and critiques phallocentric art and culture and questions
how this has affected human relationships with what we consider to be the natural
world. Ecofeminism also centers around the concept of the earth mother Gaia, which
links ideas of an oppressive patriarchal force to the repression of women and the earth.
Donna Haraway takes a progressive point of view: “If there is to be multispecies
ecojustice, which can also embrace diverse human people, it is high time that feminists
exercise leadership in imagination, theory, and action to unravel the ties of both
genealogy and kin, and kin and species,” (27) kin-making is making persons, not
necessarily as individuals or as humans. Relatives in British English were originally
‘logical relations’ and only became ‘family members’ in the 17th. For example,
Shakespeare’s punning between kin and kind—the kindest were not necessarily kin as
a family; making kin and making kind (as a category, care, relatives without ties by birth,
lateral relatives, lots of other echoes) stretch the imagination and can change the story.
Haraway uses the term of the indigenous community, Moreakamem, a powerful healer
with entanglements of both spirituality and sexuality. Conflated with terms “gay”,
“lesbian”, or “two-spirit”, as a result, the healer aspect of the word has been lost among
the indigenous people living on both sides of Mexico and US border.
She wants to show the connection between spirituality and sexuality, that
both are simply human relational activities. Spirituality, Sexuality, Nature are sets of
relations where power circulates. Sexuality for Indigenous people (and others) are ways
of collectivity to oppose settler sexuality and marriage. Linguistic mapping is an
implicated political construction of our navigation of race, class, gender, sexuality, and
disability. Corporations claim to have personhood, hence they hold the same legal
status and protections such as the right to free speech, as human beings. What is it to
be human? In our moment of irreversible ecological and political crises, why ‘human’ is
still in above all category? Whatever is the status under immigration laws, an alien is a
‘person’ in the most ordinary sense of the term, and in the Fourteenth Amendment it is
stated that “protection extends to anyone, citizen or stranger, who is a subject to the
laws of a State and reaches into corner of the territory of a state.”
How do we imagine the agency of humans and nonhumans in myths, fairy tales,
legal arguments, and definitions? By continuing the practice of storytelling we engage in
the ongoing study of identity and ownership.
I disagree that the relationship between humans and nature is a direct analogy
to the relationship between men and women. That analogy of nature vs. culture binary
with female vs. male counterparts essentializes gender in a way that is not productive to
the discussion of our obligation to amend our conceptions of these social constructs. I
consider these relationships to be much more complicated and intersectional. There are
fluid gender identities, just as there are overlapping notions of what is human and what
is natural. There is not an equivalent relationship between males and neoliberal
industrialism, just as there is not one between females and unaltered ecosystems.
Theorists of the postmodern have consistently written of the importance of
contingent epistemologies, of “situated knowledges” (in Donna Haraway’s terms) that
refuse to speak globally in one voice. However, the task of philosophy now may be to
pay attention to the local, but only insofar as it reveals multiple and chaotic relations
with the global. In a rather more synthesizing fashion than previously, in “Angels, a
Modern Myth,” Serres writes that because globalized telecommunications
(de)materialize a world that seems structured as and through exchanges of information
or messages more completely than ever before, it is possible and indeed necessary to
write “a general theory of relation.” There was no totality of humans, just as “there was
no nature, in the global sense of the word” (109). The modern social contract
constructed around Enlightenment scientific accounts of the world was also unaware of
nature, “for the collectivity live[d] only in its history, and that history lives nowhere” (109).
Nature was reduced to human nature. The contemporary world of globalized
telecommunications, however, gives us new quasi-objects, new tools that link local to
global. Serres explores how technoscience has produced conditions in the world, reform
as both a multiple localized and global network of matter-information, requires that
those traditional cords be both detached and reattached in ways that bring metrically
distant spaces into topological contiguity.
Michel Serres, the French philosopher realized in the early 1960s that our world
was heading irrevocably for a hermetical intermediate state, where boundaries are fluid,
where people and ideas were in transit, where the economy was a massive process of
circulating goods, services, and information. These transitory places can be found at
airports, communications networks, media institutions, education institutions,
There are three steps, in the beginning, our parents, our ancestors, were working
with physical energies, with the body, with their muscles, as - these are figures of the
first type of work. The second step is the transformation of metals by engines and
machines - the industrial revolution. I use three words which are the same word: form,
transformation, and information - the three steps. In the first step, this form was solid as
a statue - Atlas, the caryatid. In the second it is involved that the metal becomes liquid.
In the third step, we are living in volatile transmission. This word 'volatile' is an angelic
form. The transmission of the message, of code, of signal, is volatile. We say now about
money that it is volatile, it is turning into the transmission of codes, of messages. (269)
Serres also realized that this transitory state would confront us with new
challenges regarding ethics and knowledge. The book is set at Charles de Gaulle
airport and is a dialogue between Pia, an airport doctor, and Pantopa, a traveling
inspector, both in the service of Air France. These two contemporary angels, spend
their lives in the intermediary spaces between airports and aircraft, spend a day in
dialogue during which the message becomes the central phenomenon. A philosophy of
science which does not rely on a metalanguage in which a single account of science is
privileged and regarded as accurate. The concept of translation between accounts
rather than settling on one as authoritative. The figure of Hermes (in his earlier works)
and angels (in more recent studies) as messengers who translate (or map) back and
forth between domains (i.e., between maps).
Francisco López, an avant-garde experimental musician, and sound artist,
despite the fact that he comes from the field of biology and having his main focus in
bio-acoustics, lays out criticism to traditional acoustic ecology with regards to
anthropological studies. Specifically, he finds issues with R. Murray Schafer (author of
the seminal The Tuning in The World) in the 1960s, who opposes man-made
technology. To Shafer urban environments are horrific, and he calls them ‘sonic
sewers,’ hence it resulted in the production of booklets such as “The Book of Noise”
which calls for anti-noise legislation. Where to Lopez noise is an important component
of the urban environment as much as part of nature, for example, the audio information
in rain forests is over saturated just as in the busiest parts of the cities:
I have no intention of telling anyone how the world should be, especially like
Hildegard Westerkamp and Murray Schafer. Where I deeply disagree with these people
is that they feel that they have to tell the rest of the world how the world should be. The
main concern of the World Forum for Acoustic Ecology, which is based on the ideas of
Schafer, is to tell people that the world today is very noisy. And indeed it is, but isn't that
the way it should be? Is nature better when it’s quieter? Are machines evil because they
make a lot of noise? Is that noise boring because it’s always the same? (Bailey 11)
The nature of the word ‘evil,’ he hints, is a concept based on Western ideas of
biological determinism, where noise becomes inferior to the nature being a benevolent,
protective matriarch, her silence being tantamount to the tranquility of the spirit. Lopez
refuses to take a moral standpoint in ascribing any kind of sound as ‘evil,’ as well as
projecting his personal agenda onto nature which separates him from the rest of the
World Forum for Acoustic Ecology.
There is a tendency of seeing humans as liberators and saviors of nature in the
work of Schafer, this urge often takes the form of domestication and colonization.
Thinking in these terms brings out to light Lopez’s ‘hands-off’ attitude towards acoustic
ecology, he says no to placing himself as the chosen one, as if he is the missionary of
mankind to the natural world, in his words as “the more I like an object, the more I want
it to be possessed by someone else…someone with the courage and skills I lack for
keeping material things alive and healthy.” (Bailey 14)
People always think about putting things together, and all the pieces have to be
placed logically. With technology, it became possible to record the sound, the way we
think changed as well. The tool of 21 century is a computer just like stones in a stone
age. The modern tool allows us to think in a more conceptual way. Technology allows
us to capture every moment of experience, by mixing recorded samples we can create
new meanings. In the American landscape, the role of the sample evolved. We don't
think of a sample as a fragment but a tool to be mixed and edited. By sequencing, we
can tell a story. Customization occurs when we go into archives to pull out the moment
from the past, put layers and loop it. I pick fragments from recordings to use them as my
notes. I think the repetition of those sounds serves as a tool to build the structure in the
arrangement of different tones. We often say that the history repeats itself, I believe the
true meaning behind this phrase is that by recognizing the pattern we instantly give it a
value. A value of the memory that we didn't give before until we experienced it over
again. The notion of the repeating pattern that we hear for the first time already existed
in our minds. The sounds we already heard but never really listened to.
Steve Reich, prominent for his innovations in the creation of phasing and
patterns in music. I think it is important to know what influenced him as his style of
composition influenced many other contemporary musicians. In his early life, Reich
graduated with B.A. in Philosophy while minoring in music. His thesis was on Ludwig
Wittgenstein, who was considered one of the greatest philosophers of the 20th century.
The central idea in his works is that logic and mathematics are analytic, the verifiability
principle and the idea that philosophy is an activity aimed at clarification, not the
discovery of facts. I can see a resemblance to the therapeutic philosophy of
Wittgenstein in Reich's approach to music making. The second influence in Reich’s
music is his experience with African and Balinese musical practices. Exposed to
therapeutic philosophy and modal music, Reich approaches the composition as an
experience similar to meditation achieved by absolute awareness in listening which has
to happen gradually. African and Balinese music, both fall into a category of modal
music, where a specific key is a tonal center, the starting, and ending points. The
rhythms produced by such structure, are based on the principles of the diatonic scale,
where notes and keys used to relate to one key. The word "dia" itself translates from
Greek as "through", "across."
While performing and listening to gradual musical processes one can participate
in a particular liberating and impersonal kind of ritual. Focusing in on the musical
process makes possible that shift of attention away from he and she and you and me
outward toward it. (Reich 306)
According to Reich such music with the hypnotically droning repetition draws a
listener into a framework for improvisation. While musical processes experience with
electro-mechanical sound equipment do not have the same effect, even though the
sounding of music is ethnic there is a notion of alienation and total control over the
result. I think what is the most important idea Reich implies is that by combining both
acts of listening and performance of the gradual music process gives a chance to
remain the same control over the formation of content as well as accepting it without
any changes. The process of gradual listening shifts inward attention to self outward
towards the tonic. By hearing the process of performing there is a possibility of the
awareness to go beyond from what is heard because a sound in its own way
differentiates due to location and environment of the listener. Reich's philosophy on the
hearing processes happening resonates with Pauline Oliveros who was focused on the
investigation of new ways of focusing attention on music.
Installing sound to resonate spaces, is to engage with their architectural
parameters, the visual identity and how we engage with it on a daily basis, to dive into
their histories and stretch their current circumstances summons up Gaston Bachelard’s
Poetics of Space. He introduces us to the abandoned house by sound and comes to
question the place by its sonic ephemerality. He is not pursuing the meaning or
tradition, but purely a physical process. Hence, installed sound playing from
loudspeakers at us either hidden in corners or on the display, produced with or without
our presence brings to perception the personal poetics of an author's old family home.
Also, Bachelard introduces us to the concept, to be a dream-haunted traveler, the
desert must be lived ‘the way it is reflected in the wanderer.’ It is an invitation to a type
of meditation in which, through a synthesis of opposites, we can experience a
concentration of wandering, "these mountains in shreds, these dunes and dead rivers,
these stones and this merciless sun," all the universe that bears the mark of the desert,
is "annexed to inner space." And through this process of annexation, the variety of the
images is unified in the depths of "inner space." This formula described in the book
makes me want to explore and demonstrate the correspondence between the
immensity of world space and the depth of ‘inner space.’ Examples: The sealed vase,
the forest, because of the very fact that they fill up with sounds, form a sort of
self-enclosed whole, a microcosm...
The final product I envisioned was an acoustic simulation of various
environments. The alternative methodology has great importance in constructing the
main element of the installation is a sound and walking, as another artistic medium, as
an action that relates one to the space being moved on, it pushed me to listen to the
‘the sonosphere’. It is a term created by Pauline Oliveros which includes all sounds that
can be perceived by humans, animals, birds, plants, trees, and machines. The
‘environments’, a term I use to give a general notion the macro-environment that are
built on top of other environments, human, natural and constructed by humans using
technology. The sound is a fundamental part of the environment, it provokes
imagination into existence and the future for psychological and associative meanings,
which is overlooked in visually dominant cultures. My previous exploration of this
medium in the artworks and performances led me to understand that our awareness
and attitudes to the world around depend upon how well we listen to our environments.
The goal of the research in this project aims towards a better understanding of the
relationship between technological and non-technological systems within the larger
systems of our environment. I explore spatialized audio, which is much advanced than
the visual images, literally consists of physical measurements to produce a simulation of
the location and movement in a material world. The movement of a listener in a material
space produces sound “effects”, the body contours computationally produces itself as
an effect when introducing ultrasonic sensors to resonate with them. As a result, we are
a simulation of each, sound, body and space. The simulation of the space is produced
by playing pre-recorded soundings which are triggered by ultrasonic sensors and
channeling them into geometrical form. These patterns are playing the role of the sonic
paths to move the listener through. Audio walks, binaural recordings and 360 sound
environments are used to create a multisensory experience and sometimes often
unsettling narratives. The visual part of the installation are objects resolved in a
sculptural manner with the aesthetic sensibility of “constellation” of
body-imagination-world as an experiential, first-person relationship generated by
walking through the environments.
The book “Poetics of Space” by Gaston Bachelard introduced me to the concept:
“To be a dream-haunted traveler, the desert must be lived the way it is reflected in the
wanderer." It is an invitation to a type of meditation in which, through a synthesis of
opposites, we can experience a concentration of wandering. I can see how it is parallel
to my idea of walking as a medium and using contrasting sound recordings to enhance
the effect on the listener and produce a dream-like state. The unexplained fascination
particularly with the physical experience of an airplane flight and the emotions arousing
from the memory of saying goodbye and excitement for the moment of arrival in the
echoing and spatial airport.
My work explores notions of the invisible and the visible, an audible and
inaudible, the spatial, locations, and their relationships. Elastic Landscapes
communicates a place that I have shaped (by exploring the actual landscapes, field
recording, and processing), constantly changing due to participants interaction with it. I
approach sonic encounters in the environment as a medium that constructs the
narrative of time, three years in the site-specific location. The purpose of using specific
recordings is to engage the viewer in an immersive environment- the one that blends
human and non-human encounters an imprint of the body on the environment. The
concept of the installation is not to be seen in a single moment, rather an audience
needs to hear and experience the gradations and patterns. Constantly both sound and
physical activity are the factors for an installation to be composed and realized
according to each audience member in their own timing and scale. The technological
tools I used in order to get recordings from urban and natural environments was Zoom
H6 recorder and contact microphones I assembled myself with Piezo disks. My
exploration of the sonic environment begun when I was first introduced to Deep
Listening by Pauline Oliveros. At first for meditative purposes in order to feel more
connected to the surrounding environment, and soon I came to realize the changes in
the environment because of human impact. Besides becoming extremely aware of the
acoustic ecology of the site, I unwillingly started interpreting the patterns in the behavior
of wildlife and birds. I found much resemblance in my exploration of a sound with sound
artist Janet Cardiff, she creates sculptural and physical sound, mirroring the illogical but
connected juxtapositions that we experience in the dream world. Where one
soundscape moves into another with an electronic dreamscape composition shifting into
sound effects such as factory noises, crashing waves or birds wings and then into a
guitar and strings composition then into a choir sequence and marching band.
The title of the work “Murder of Crows” means a grouping of crows where when
one crow dies, many other crows flock to the area around the dead bird and caw for
over 24 hours, creating a ‘crow funeral’. Most
recently, on March 20, 2019, as I was
engaged in the sound walk, I noticed
extreme vocal activity in crows that doesn't
happen on a daily basis. I got interested and
wanted to understand if this is an anomaly
and weather has some meaning behind it.
So the first thing I did was typing crows and the current date at the moment in the
browser, and soon I came to understand that the same night everyone in the northern
hemisphere would encounter Super Worm Moon, which usually occurs just a few hours
after the spring equinox, making it an occurring point from winter to spring. I was more
astonished when I found out that northern tribes knew this particular Moon as the Full
Crow Moon, which gets its name from the cawing of crows which were signaling the end
of winter. I use this as an example of what I personally experienced while I was
recording the sounds I would further incorporate into the composition for my installation.
Soundwalks are crucial as they take place in public spaces because they draw attention
to and engagement with the environment, and as for my project, those spaces involved
campus, as well as sonic impact by nearby Westchester airport, both surrounded by
wilderness. The best way to perceive technology used while field recording as an
embodiment tool, my composition is constructed itself by the physical movements of my
body. As I walk, turn, change my pace, kneel to the ground, or walk up to the tree, the
perspective of the soundscape moves. For the most part, I had no pre-set agenda, and
the experience of the field recorded composition was dictated by what sonic events
were curious to me to further explore. Ultimately, the reason I went for soundscape
composition because it can take the form of an installation and draw out interactive
events, and as a result, would encourage public collaboration in various ways.
Deep Listening is a form of meditation and interactivity manifests as the
expansion of the perception of sounds that includes the whole continuum of space and
time into being connected to the vastness of the environment and beyond. I felt like
there was something very important that I was missing out on prior to being introduced
to the term “collective music,” I dwelled on feeling disconnected from the world I
perceived. Especially since the idea the current society holds that technology has
prosthetic effect on humans, its an extension that allows us to create something beyond
our power and therefore turns us into cyborgs. This way of reflecting on digital art felt
rather nihilistic to me and found myself disagreeing with the conception of instruments
to have absolute functionality of “user interface.” Even the thought of this makes me
uncomfortable, and I hold rather a phenomenological perspective on use of technology,
from the moment the person uses an interface the energy spent on that physical activity
doesn't end there, it transforms, becomes volatile, and the signal carries on whether the
user is hearing it or not. Hence, in the process of assembling the interface, I treated
Arduino, Raspberry Pi, Maxbotix Ultrasonic Sensor, and Pure Data software as
connective tissue. I was using this
technological device for the first time in my
practice. I found much help from GitHub, a
web-based hosting service, which is mostly
used for computer code to be shared among
the public. I decided to use Pure Data instead
of the analog sound modulator which would
have cost me at least five hundred dollars.
Pure Data technically can be programmed into
a synthesizer that receives data from the ultrasonic sensor and brings together four
track with field-recorded compositions. I got a grasp of using new software when I was
testing it through my personal computer, but once I tried using a patch in Arduino I
faced difficulties and had to use help from the professional electronic musician.
Sungwoo Kim, a composer that I met at Purchase college gave me lots of advice and
helped to troubleshoot the system when I was assembling it in Passage Gallery.
I wanted to make my installation as less visual as possible so it would make an
audience realize that they are entering space where the work of interactive art is
presented and rather find out on their own through total submission to space, what they
hear and how they shape and affect the sonic flow. And the reason to somewhat
invisibility of “user interface” in the interactivity of the piece is my interest in removing
the visibility of where and how the piece starts and ends and what function the presence
plays in it was to avoid the possibility for the viewer to be in conformity, I wanted to
remove the possibility of provoking consumerist behavior from my audience. At first, I
felt worried about how seriously the piece would be taken by the audience, but I came
to the conclusion that if it doesn’t then my audience was thinking rather primitively and
didn’t meet the standards on their part in
listening. The only way the piece could be
experienced as it was intended to is by total
surrender, recognition, and self-reflection. And
those are the main characteristics of the
audience to the relation to interactivity that I
finding collaborative art which does feel as a
fluctuation between alienation and invitation,
where the first one is not necessarily a negative thing. I think that feeling of alienation in
the experience of interactivity is how our ego responds when we take a moment back to
recognize and reflect.
I framed my soundscape composition as an interactive event using the
techniques based on field recording, sound walks, and sonifications. The setting of the
installation took place in the gallery, incorporation of electronics let a listener individually
engage with pre-installed soundscape while
allowing free movement to explore it and
manipulate the sonic result based on their original
experience. Rather than being performed on
stage the composition presented in my
installation is set up for long-term periods to allow
participants to experience it as they come and go.
In my exploration of the subversion of the
built environment, architecture can be described
as a means of covering or insulating the cultural
space from the natural one. My artwork questions this relationship by examining the
way the human body exists in the built space. I seek to question the human perception
of our bodies within the built space and to ask why we do not consider it a natural
space. Thinking in terms of how spaces are the physical manifestations of our minds, I
have come to the conclusion that they are sanctuaries for our interior states. My work
questions why we conceptually separate what we create from other aspects of this
world. We position ourselves as either at odds with nature or as keepers of it. Neither
perspective is sustainable. We are very much at the mercy of our environment, but we
can choose to be more functionally integrated, starting with the spaces we create. I am
looking for a way to alter our societal way of thinking by altering what the viewer would
expect from a given built environment. Reshaping and conflating the built space with
what is perceived as the natural space changes how the viewer understands these
definitions of their environment.
Works Cited
Bachelard, Gaston, et al. The Poetics of Space
. Penguin Books, 2014. Print.
Bailey, Thomas Bey William. Microbionic: Radical Electronic Music & Sound Art in the
21st Century
. Belsona Books Ltd., 2012. Print.
Cox, Christoph, and Daniel Warner. Audio Culture Readings in Modern Music
Bloomsbury Academic, 2017. Print.
Haraway, Donna Jeanne. Staying with the Trouble: Making Kin in the Chthulucene
Duke University Press, 2016. Print.
Kerry, et al. “Listening as Activism: The ‘Sonic Meditations’ of Pauline Oliveros.” The
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The groundbreaking Audio Culture: Readings in Modern Music (Continuum; September 2004; paperback original) maps the aural and discursive terrain of vanguard music today. Rather than offering a history of contemporary music, Audio Culture traces the genealogy of current musical practices and theoretical concerns, drawing lines of connection between recent musical production and earlier moments of sonic experimentation. It aims to foreground the various rewirings of musical composition and performance that have taken place in the past few decades and to provide a critical and theoretical language for this new audio culture. This new and expanded edition of the Audio Culture contains twenty-five additional essays, including four newly-commissioned pieces. Taken as a whole, the book explores the interconnections among such forms as minimalism, indeterminacy, musique concrète, free improvisation, experimental music, avant-rock, dub reggae, ambient music, hip hop, and techno via writings by philosophers, cultural theorists, and composers. Instead of focusing on some "crossover" between "high art" and "popular culture," Audio Culture takes all these musics as experimental practices on par with, and linked to, one another. While cultural studies has tended to look at music (primarily popular music) from a sociological perspective, the concern here is philosophical, musical, and historical. Audio Culture includes writing by some of the most important musical thinkers of the past half-century, among them John Cage, Brian Eno, Ornette Coleman, Pauline Oliveros, Maryanne Amacher, Glenn Gould, Umberto Eco, Jacques Attali, Simon Reynolds, Eliane Radigue, David Toop, John Zorn, Karlheinz Stockhausen, and many others. Each essay has its own short introduction, helping the reader to place the essay within musical, historical, and conceptual contexts, and the volume concludes with a glossary, a timeline, and an extensive discography.
The "woman question," this book asserts, is a Western one, and not a proper lens for viewing African society. A work that rethinks gender as a Western construction, The Invention of Women offers a new way of understanding both Yoruban and Western cultures. Author Oyeronke Oyewumi reveals an ideology of biological determinism at the heart of Western social categories--the idea that biology provides the rationale for organizing the social world. And yet, she writes, the concept of "woman," central to this ideology and to Western gender discourses, simply did not exist in Yorubaland, where the body was not the basis of social roles. Oyewumi traces the misapplication of Western, body-oriented concepts of gender through the history of gender discourses in Yoruba studies. Her analysis shows the paradoxical nature of two fundamental assumptions of feminist theory: that gender is socially constructed and that the subordination of women is universal. The Invention of Women demonstrates, to the contrary, that gender was not constructed in old Yoruba society, and that social organization was determined by relative age. A meticulous historical and epistemological account of an African culture on its own terms, this book makes a persuasive argument for a cultural, context-dependent interpretation of social reality. It calls for a reconception of gender discourse and the categories on which such study relies. More than that, the book lays bare the hidden assumptions in the ways these different cultures think. A truly comparative sociology of an African culture and the Western tradition, it will change the way African studies and gender studies proceed. "Oyewùmi's book is a departure from the majority of feminist writers on Africa. She goes further to show a society almost unintelligible using the common set of presumptions in feminist literature about how society is organized. Her indignation is real and forceful and her research and lucid presentation admirable." Modern African Studies "Oyewumi's work is an extremely interesting study that forces readers to rethink some of the accepted notions of colonialism." National Women's Studies Association Journal Oyeronke Oyewumi is assistant professor in the Department of Black Studies at the University of California, Santa Barbara
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Radical Electronic Music & Sound Art in the 21st Century​
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Staying with the Trouble: Making Kin in the Chthulucene
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Haraway, Donna Jeanne. Staying with the Trouble: Making Kin in the Chthulucene. Duke University Press, 2016. Print.
Listening as Activism: The 'Sonic Meditations' of Pauline Oliveros
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