Sonority of Place
08.-10.07. 2011, daily 11:00-15:00

This series aims at drawing correspondences between ‚architecture‘ and ‚sound‘ to a more primary  relation between notions of ‚place‘ and ‚practices of listening‘. In other words to underscore an  interplay between the sense of being ‚situated‘ and the intentionality of what is being ‚heard‘. It is from within this primary level of interactions that a sense of ‚sound‘ as well as a notion of ‚site‘, and by extension ‚architecture‘, are derived in the first place. For the current constellation of talks and presentations a particular emphasis is placed on an understanding of listening, not as a biological  constant, but rather a ‚practice‘ that both shapes and is shaped by various contexts. In this sense every mode of hearing is understood to be distributed across a diversity of practices and disciplines.

Talks and presentations as well as pertinent artist projects and presentations included in this tuned city event draw upon recent developments in such diverse fields as urbanism, art and architecture history and theory, philosophy, sensory history, sensory ethnography, archaeoacoustics and musicology, getting closer to what may be at stake in auditory models of ‚situated-ness‘. One common approach, shared by the various practitioners, understands the ‚sonic imagination‘ to be an operative mode of thinking. It is this mode of thinking that potentially engages the social, aesthetic and even ethical, political implications of an attentiveness to the sonority of place.

The program will take place each day in different locations, undertaking a architecture-historic journey, starting from the 14th Century Old Town with the opening performance, going over the remains of the industrial developments in the beginning of the last century, the Soviet-era architectural utopies of the 70s and 80s and ending in the Now of contemporary Tallinn.

For further information on the conference settings please see places >>>

July 08th 2011
beginning 11:00 @Kultuurikatel
Põhja puiestee 27, Tallinn – map >>>

Block A: Sounding the Local
Does Tallinn resound and if so, in what manner? Is there such a thing as a Baltic auditory trait? Do sonic ambiences assist in urban navigation or do they introduce another spatiality  altogether? Can sounds instill a sense of identity, cause alienation or leave room to inscribe oneself into one’s surroundings? Is the city audibly territorialized and if so, who administers the rights to sonic borders? When tuning into audible urban ambiences, certain themes tend to arise. Carlo A. Cubero gauges relations between inhabitants and an auditory locale in his case study  ‚Sonic Potentials of Tallinn‘ by applying ethnographic phonography methods in order to grasp the various spaces and sounds of Tallinn. John Grzinich will discuss the process of creating an auditory guide to Tallinn with the ‚Sound Map of Tallinn‘ project. Local musical traditions also provide indications of underlying auditory understandings and Urve Lippus seeks relations between practices and broader social-political themes of the Baltic context. For Louise K. Wilson, the audibility of site operates through immediate experience as well as within collective histories, projected memories and implied narratives embedded in locales. In a series of works, Wilson explores relations between the tactility of audio technology and lost traces from former Cold War sites.

Sonic Potentials of Tallinn: a case study
lecture by Carlo A. Cubero (EE)
Associate Professor of Social & Cultural Anthropology at Tallinn University

Sound Map of Tallinn
John Grzinich (US/EE)
sound artist, MoKS, Mooste

Constructing Finno-Ugric identity through music
lecture by Urve Lippus (EE)
Professor of Musicology, Estonian Academy of Music, head of the Department of Musicology

On the Plasticity of Echoes: Cold War sites and ruined temples
lecture by Louise K Wilson (UK)
artist and researcher

Block B: Subjective Soundscapes
Recent attention in architecture and urbanism to flows and non-localized relational networks within the city as well as a recognition of the importance of subjective geographies and mapping not only as inert tools but rather producers of space casts doubt on the usefulness of the term ‚the soundscape‘ (in its initial formulation) as an effective agent for comprehending the relational, fragmented, acoustemologies of the contemporary urban setting. Marta García Quiñones extends this concern by focusing on the enactive qualities of hearing, portraying spontaneous urban listening as a form of operative action in public space. Justin Bennett addresses the publicness of public space itself in his ‚Shotgun Architecture‘ project of Zuidas Amsterdam, utilizing pistol shot recordings of semi-public spaces to derive subjective measurements and mappings in various formats. Peter Cusack’s ongoing ‚Favourite Sounds‘ project understands the ‚locale‘ to be an agglomeration of acoustic psychogeographies where the aural site of a city emerges at intersections between locations and attentive listeners. Ann Goossens recognizes transformations in listening habits opened up through the availability and portability of field-recording devices and has set out to create a pan-European platform titled ‚Sounds of Europe‘ for developing the cultures of phonography.

Listening as action.
Movements and gestures to sound and music in the everyday life of the city.

lecture by Marta García Quiñones (ES)
researcher and PhD candidate at the Universitat de Barcelona

Shotgun Architecture
presentation by Justin Bennett (UK/NL)
artist and lecturer at the Sonology Institute – Royal Conservatory (The Hague)

Favourite Sounds and Sonic Migration
presentation by Peter Cusack (UK)
sound artist, musician and environmental recordist

Sounds of Europe
project presentation by Ann Goossens / Q-O2 (BE) and Jaume Ferrete(E)
researcher and cultural worker, Brussels

July 09th 2011
beginning 11:00 @Väike-Õismäe

the space is to be annouced soon!map >>>

Block A: Social Acoustemologies: Hearing Contexts
Hearing nuances of our surroundings in terms of explicit meanings is a practice that notably indicates an intention to discern ‚places‘ within an eventfulness of sounds. The prominence of such capacities, within any given social setting, are a function of the collective practices, techniques as well as beliefs and customs that enforce and perpetuate such habits. Ernst Karel’s fieldwork in south India emphasizes sound’s role in the social production of space, and place and explores the prospects of phonography as a means of evoking lived experience through his dual practices of sound ethnography and music-making. Mark Smith addresses the challenges of listening to the past by recognizing contextualization as a paramount strategy in accessing meanings of past sounds and proposes future areas of historical inquiry. The emerging field of Archaeoacoustics attempts to uncover sonic narratives from physical remnants of the past, at times from cultures that have vanished from existence. Aaron Watson’s acoustic research into the megalithic sites of the British Isles has shown that their architecture produces dynamic spatial orchestrations of echoes and resonant frequencies.

With reference to the anthropology of sound
lecture by Ernst Karel (US)
artist and lecturer in the Sensory Ethnography Lab, Harvard University

Listening through history
lecture by Mark Smith (US)
Carolina Distinguished Professor of History at the University of South Carolina

The Sound of Megalithic Monuments: from Skara Brae to Stonehenge
lecture by Aaron Watson (UK)
artist and archaeologist

Block B: Social Acoustemologies: Listening
To hear a place is as much a sensing of a location as it is a constitution of one´s own presence and posture within relational events. To significantly hear a space is also to subtly inhabit situations by potentially recognizing the measure of oneself in relation to other capacities within an auditory continuum. David Kleinberg-Levin examines listening itself as a critical social praxis and a practice of the ’self‘, in terms of developing skilled hearing that has the capacity to open into the ontological dimension of the auditory field. Awareness of the dynamic relations between bodies, spaces and vibrations is the theme of Pierre-Laurent Cassière’s architecture related sound works, whose performances and installations often deal with perceptual limits and reorientations of listening. The body is not only the receiver but also a producer of sounds as Eduardo Abrantes points out in his phenomenological approach towards uttered sound in every-day situations, an approach that indicates resounding vocality itself as a root of identity, consciousness and presence.

Listening as Critical Social Praxis and as a Practice of the Self
lecture by David Kleinberg-Levin (US)
Professor Emeritus, Department of Philosophy at Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois

presentation of architecture related soundworks
by Pierre-Laurent Cassière (F)
sound artist, Paris

Wandering with Voices – a phenomenological inquiry on the vocal experience of everydayness
lecture by Eduardo Abrantes (PT)
PhD candidate at the Center for Subjectivity Research at the University of Copenhagen

July 10th 20011
beginning 11:00 @Kumu
Weizenbergi 34, Valge 1, Tallinn
map >>>

Block A: Transduced Spatiality
The importance of the transducer in modern notions of sound includes not only in its technical capacity to transform transient vibrations into retrievable objects and data as well as its historical role in the standardization of loudness, but also in the influence such methods exert upon the organization of spatial relations within architectural and civic domains. Sabine von Fischer gauges historical relations between the acoustic laboratory (the site of scientific experimentation) and the home and workplace (the site of prosaic life) in terms of common concerns for containment, ideas of linkage and controlled sonic environments. Carlotta Darò investigates relations between domestic space and transductive communication networks by focusing on the way in which early developments in telecommunication networks shaped a common imagery of the modern American home. Udo Noll’s Radio Aporee projects underline the extent to which communication technologies disrupt a commonsense status of place but at the same time open up other potentially fertile modes of located-ness through disjunctive simultaneities and telepresence. Unsworn Indistries deals with idiosyncratic telecommunication needs.

Resonant Chambers, Broadcast Spheres
lecture by Sabine von Fischer (CH)
architect and writer, Ph.D. candidate in architectural history and theory at ETH Zurich

Plugging the Modern Home
lecture by Carlotta Darò (CA)
Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow at McGill University, in the department of Art History and Communication Studies

radio aporee ::: maps & mobile listening – introduction of a spatial radio
presentation by Udo Noll (D)
media artist and scientist for media technology

presentation by Unsworn Industries (SE)
interaction design and innovation studio based in Malmo, Sweden

Block B: Applied Sound: Case studies
The urban surrounding provides an immensely complex acoustic terrain of interrelated eventfulness, bridging the intimate with the social and tectonic. To listen carefully in such conditions means literally to enact the city, emphasizing space as ‚lived‘ as well as denoting acoustic territories as domains of exchange. To hear a city is also to subtly transform that ‚location‘ by opening into its latent potentialities. The discipline of urbanism has recently began to recognize notions of sound beyond the bias of ’noise abatement‘, and Max Dixon surveys some examples, themes and implications from the municipal perspective on this emerging field of activities. At the same time, existing city conditions can be reevaluated simply by approaching situations from an auditory frame of mind. It is with this attitude that Sam Auinger and Carsten Seiffarth discuss their auditory findings of Bonn in their ‚bonn hoeren‘ project, as well as longer term observations stemming from Auringer’s two decades of city-sound explorations and art practice. Anatol Bogendorfer and Florian Sedmak, founding members of ‚Hörstadt‘, discuss a diverse set of strategies and programs engaging public perceptions of the auditory dimensions of the city developed for various of the project´s manifestations.

Imagine a Tuned Future
lecture by Max Dixon (UK)
independent consultant in town planning, London

bonn hoeren – »a hearing perspective«
presentation by Sam Auinger + Carsten Seiffarth (D)
‚city sound artist‘ respectively curator of bonn hoeren, a sound art project of the »Beethovenstiftung für Kunst und Kultur der Bundesstadt Bonn«

Hörstadt Linz
central project in the music section of Linz 09 European Capital of Culture

presentation by Anatol Bogendorfer + Florian Sedmak (A)
artists, researchers, cultural workers, Linz