I was going to wait until next week to starting posting again but I thought I’d write briefly on the talk I went to in the Science Gallery entitled An Ear Alone is Not a Being. The talk on Tues night last was hosted by Audio Cultures, an initiative under the GradCAM umbrella, in association with the current Biorhythm exhibition at the gallery and was intended as the launch of a new bi-annual journal Interference (not an especially developed website just yet).
Featuring three speakers, the talk spanned very different topics all exploring the relationship between sound and the physical body. It’s actually pretty amazing that the topic may seem pretty limited but the three speakers barely touched on eachothers points, and if they did it was occasionally in opposition to points the other speaker had made. I imagine this made for a very interesting panel discussion following the presentations but I unfortunately missed that (due to leaving early to get to Kaleidoscope that evening, which I also missed-doh!).
Dr. Franziska Schroeder spoke of her participation in Networked performances (example of one such performance here). Her talk centred around how listening has developed into a combination of sight and sound; into associations which have been fabricated over the history of formal music performance. Networked performances break down these associations (she uses the phrase ‘haptic aurality’ to develop this idea) – even though you may be presented with familiar work, the presentation is so dramatically different to anything you would have experienced previously that you are forced into a new way of listening that is disconnected from sight. I’m actually butchering her presentation into a few short sentences and needless to say there is years of research reading available if you’re interested.
Dr Teresa Dillon from Ireland spoke of the role of sound in establishing a sense of self in the individual and how we continually locate and signal our positions in this world through the use of sound.
The third speaker (actually the second in the running order of the talk) was the artist Sonia Cillari. I found her talk, as did the rest of the audience I’m sure, absolutely fascinating. Coming from an architectural background, Cillari uses electronic arts to investigate the human body as a physical surface and as perceivers. The projects she has created within this field are incredibly taxing on the human body (as they are predominantly performances pieces) and reveal fascinating insights into our perception, reactions and the realities we create. I highly recommend looking into her work and engaging with the projects should the chance arise.
I was amazed to find that although I understood every word in the talk I was sometimes lost in the middle of the more technical elements of the discussion. Despite being absolutely comfortable engaging with sound as a general subject I am constantly challenged by the knowledge presented on platforms such as An Ear Alone is Not a Being. I find this immensely reassuring! I’m looking forward to watching the development of Interference, especially if it’s going to facilitate more conversations along these lines.