Gascia Ouzounian and Isobel Anderson from Recomposing the City were happy to attend the scoping meeting for a new UK Sound Studies network at University of Glasgow on 30 April. The meeting brought together several dozen scholars and artists who work across a broad range of disciplines and practices connected to sound studies: filmmakers, radio producers, acousticians, sociologists, composers, sound artists, soundscape researchers, and many others. Participants took part in discussions on such topics as 'Sound and Community', 'Sound, Space and Subjectivity', and 'Creative Practice in Sound', covering issues that ranged from listening practices to the affective power of sound. During the final discussion, David Hendy, author of the recent 30-part BBC Radio 4 series 'Noise: A Human History' and the book Noise: A Human History of Sound and Listening, suggested that the day's discussions pointed towards the unique ways in which sound studies can contribute to the understanding of community health and well-being.
We are looking forward to hosting a terrific lineup of speakers for our upcoming symposium on 30 May 2014. Please visit our symposium page for more information on this event.
The symposium poster is by Helena Hamilton, who is studying towards an MA in Sonic Arts at Queen's University Belfast. It features an image by Declan Price, an MArch student at Queen's. We are grateful for their excellent design work. To find out more about Helena's work, please visit www.helenahamilton.com
Recomposing the City is looking forward to presenting our work on 'Sound Maps and Listening Maps' at the 2nd International Meeting of the European Sound Studies Association in Copenhagen, 27-29 June 2014. The meeting is focused on the topic 'Sound Studies: Mapping the Field', and it will feature keynote speakers Georgina Born (Oxford University), Carolyn Birdsall (Amsterdam University) and Ann Lislegaard (Denmark). Our paper will explore how sound maps and listening maps offer new ways of representing and experiencing urban environments, and how these tools can be applied and developed within architecture and urban planning. If you are planning to attend ESSA in Copenhagen and wish to get in touch regarding shared interests please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
There is an exciting new journal on the horizon, Sound Studies: An Interdisciplinary Journal. It is published by Bloomsbury Press, and edited by Michael Bull, Professor of Sound Studies at University of Sussex and Veit Erlmann, Professor of Ethnomusicology and Anthropology at University of Texas at Austin. Please find the call for papers below.
Recomposing the City is looking forward to participating in the symposium 'Beyond Noise and Silence: Listening for the City' on 8 May 2014. This event is focused on 'Environment: From Sound Art to Urban Sound Design and Acoustic Planning'. It is organised by artist Sven Anderson, who leads the Manual for Acoustic Planning project at Dublin City Council. For our presentation, we will discuss aspects of sound art as urban design, focusing on the special case of Belfast and artists who have created works that re-imagine and re-invent the 'post-conflict city' through sound.
Please find more information on the event here.
It's our pleasure to announce that the PhD studentship for the Queen's University's DEL Strategic PhD Award for 'Acoustic Mapping of Cities' has been accepted by Conor McCafferty. For many years, Conor has led public engagement projects for PLACE Architecture and Built Environment Centre, Belfast, including the annual Urban Design Academy for young people, the Place-Making Podcast series and other publications, events and workshops. He edited the book Vacant to Vibrant: Rethinking Town Centres (2014), which collects case studies and essays on issues relating to town centre vacancy and dereliction. Conor is also a Co-Director at Platform Arts studio space and gallery in Belfast city centre. With Paul Clarke, Conor produced the feature-length documentary film Drawing on Life (2013), which explores the relationship between architects and the world of drawing. We are delighted to be working with Conor starting in September 2014.
Street Society, Queen's Architecture's Live Project, entered its fifth year in 2014. Building on last year's sound project in which students made recordings on either side of one of Belfast's peacelines, this year's group of three MArch and five BSc students took on the challenge of making a soundmap of Belfast's Sailtortown Area. This part of the city, once a bustling urban community, has seen considerable downturn in recent years due to decline of industry and the building of a major roadway through the area. The Street Society '14 team spent an intensive week in March recording the sounds of the area and interpreting the sonic environment through sketch and maps, combining their work into the Belfast Sailortown SoundMap. During the week, they also showed their work to over 20 secondary schools as part of the School's initiative to showcase the power of design and architecture to young people. You can see their blog of the week at http://streetsociety14.blogspot.co.uk/. Congratulations to the whole team.
We were treated to an especially sunny visit by Carsten Seiffarth, a tireless sound art curator from Berlin who seemed to bring endless sunshine with him along with a fascinating talk on Bonn Hoeren, an initiative whereby the City of Bonn has appointed an annual City Sound Artist since 2010. Seiffarth, who is behind the sound art gallery singuhr-hoergalerie in Berlin as well as several important publications in sound art, generously advised Sonic Arts and Architecture students on their projects during his visit, and met with Recomposing the City researchers to discuss future collaborative research plans. Anyone in the vicinity of Bonn this summer should not hesitate to attend the festival that Seiffarth has planned for Bonn Hoeren in June 2014, which will include a large-scale 'city symphony' featuring hundreds of participants.
We were the lucky audience at Carsten Stabenow's brilliant seminar on the project Tuned City, whereby cities including Berlin, Tallinn, Nürnberg, and Brussels have been transformed into laboratories for fascinating experiments in sonic architectures and interactions. Stabenow discussed historical efforts ranging from Athanasius Kircher's Phonurgia Nova to contemporary investigations of urban sound. Along the way we were treated to a discussion of dozens of projects carried out under the auspices of Tuned City, a project that responds in a profound way to the sites it inhabits and imbues. Please visit the Tuned City Web site, a detailed archive of projects and events since 2008. A beautifully designed book is also available for purchase through the Web site. We are sincerely grateful to Stabenow for sharing his insights with our group, and for his inspiring efforts in the area of sound art curation.
Recomposing the City wishes to thank the Architecture Society at Queen's, who hosted a wonderful seminar on 17 February featuring Chris Corrigan, technical manager at the Sonic Arts Research Centre (SARC), and Stephen Douglas of Hall Black Douglas, the architects of SARC. We learned about the special challenges of designing a building for research in sound, and the many uses of the Sonic Lab as a performance and research space. Attended by students in Architecture as well as the general public, the seminar and ensuing discussion made clear that collaborations between sound artists and architects can result in innovative design strategies, new modes of building, and new ways of using space in the context of performance and recording. Thank you to Stephen, Chris and ArcSoc for a great evening.
Recomposing the City will have a book chapter in the forthcoming volume The Acoustic City, edited by Matthew Gandy and BJ Nilsen. This chapter explores the possibilities and limitations offered by acoustic mapping, discussing such projects as Montréal Sound Map by Max Stein and Julian Stein, The Roaring Twenties by Emily Thompson in collaboration with Scott Mahoy, Chris Watson's Inside the Circle of Fire: A Sound Map of Sheffield, Matilde Meireles' X Marks the Spot, and Ian Rawes' London Sound Survey, among many others. Please look out for The Acoustic City, which will be published by Jovis in 2014.
Recomposing the City is happy to announce that we have been awarded a DEL strategic PhD Studentship at Queen's University Belfast on the topic 'The Acoustic Mapping of Cities', to begin in 2014-15.
You can find the project details and contact information here.
All applications should be made through the Queen's University Belfast Applications Portal.
We look forward to receiving applications! Please don't hesitate to get in touch if you have any questions.
Thank you to Leonardo Music Journal and MIT Press for making the article 'Recomposing the City: A Survey of Recent Sonic Art in Belfast' free to download from their Web site. This special issue of Leonardo Music Journal is devoted to Sound Art, and we are excited to see our research included among so many fascinating projects. The article discusses the work of numerous sound artists who have created works in and for the city of Belfast, and how their projects can be said to '[expose] the city as a resonant, shared idea that can be composed, and recomposed, through sound'.
Get your free PDF of the article here!
We have now recruited four great Masters of Architecture students at Queen's to think about sonic arts and architecture during their dissertation work 2013-2014. They are Rita Farrell, Declan Price, Antonis Stylianou and Meghan Nelson-Nilehn. They bring muscial and design experience with them from England, Northern Ireland and Cyprus including expertise in building homes and playing drums, piano and Uilleann pipes. We look forward to seeing (and hearing) what they find and create this year.
Recomposing the City was honoured to host the Danish sound artist Jacob Kirkegaard for our first public events, on 9-10 October. During his visit, Jacob gave a seminar on his recent projects, and described recording sounds of the earth's ionosphere, in volcanic geysers, and in the devastated city of Chernobyl. He stressed the idea that 'sounds are not always what they seem' and that the same sound can be understood in many different ways depending on how it is experienced. The following day, Jacob presented his work Labyrinthitis , in which audiences can 'listen to listening' -- a concept explored in this wonderful review by Manuel Arturo Abreu. The visit concluded with a day-long meeting with Forum for Alternative Belfast (CIC), who invited Jacob, Sarah and Gascia to their offices to start a conversation that will result in a design proposal by Jacob for a vacant site in Belfast. We were wowed by the energy, enthusiasm and incredible knowledge of the FAB team, and are grateful to Declan Hill and Mark Hackett for giving us a brilliant, critical history of Belfast's planning and architecture, and a walking tour of Belfast's city centre. Jacob was an inspiring presence, and many students in our community wrote to us following his visit saying that they would like to participate in future events. Thank you Jacob for all your outstanding work for this trip, and we look forward to future collaborations!
Gascia Ouzounian and Jacob Kirkegaard from Recomposing the City are featured in this article on sound art by Ella Delany in today's New York Times. Ms. Delany draws attention to important issues like the growing prominence of sound art; the perception of sound art by audiences; sound art in the global arena; the influence of new technologies upon the medium; and the buying and selling of esoteric and ephemeral works.
Posters by ICRH Institute Fellows and Project Research Groups like Recomposing the City are on display at the Peter Froggatt Centre at Queen's University Belfast until 28 October and will be going on a 'poster road show' -- watch out for them at the Student's Union and the International Postgraduate Centre. And view them online, here!
Sarah presented the Recomposing the City project to Queen's Architecture Master's of Architecture dissertation students in the design studios. We're looking forward to working with several students to think about how architecture and sound can work together in the city. This research by the students may go on to inform their later design projects in their two-year course.
Gascia Ouzounian and Sarah Lappin from Recomposing the City have co-authored a manifesto on 'soundspace' that will appear in the forthcoming issue of Architecture and Culture, the journal of the Architectural Humanities Research Association. Please look out for the issue on Transgression: Body And Space (Vol. 2, No. 3), guest edited by David Littlefield (University of West England) and Rachel Sara (University of West England), and due to appear in November 2014.
Recomposing the City is pleased to announce a new partnership with the Department of Architectural Science at Ryerson University in Toronto, where we will host a design lab for an international group of architects and sound artists in Summer 2014. This programme will invite pairs of sound artists and architects to collaboratively create design proposals for development projects in the City of Toronto. Proposals will be publicly presented with view to sharing our research with the wider community of artists, architects and researchers, as well as urban planners and policymakers. We are grateful to Professor Colin Ripley, Chair of the Department of Architectural Science at Ryerson University, and pianist Eve Egoyan for their support of this collaboration.