Soundscape Campus is back for a second edition, taking sound as a hub for reflection and hybridization between History of Science and Technology, Sciences, Ecology and Arts, and operating in the larger global context of inquiries into human agency in nature as raised by the concept of the Anthropocene.
Subject to the topic of “Sound, Body and Science”, the activities of Soundscape Campus 2019 will be dedicated to the often neglected role of sound and listening in the production of knowledge.
This year Campus programme includes several days dedicated to practical activities on listening and field recording and will end with a day dedicated to an interdisciplinary colloquium, with talks conveying different perspectives on the epistemological role of sound.
Practical activities include the sonic exploration of the FCT Campus. These will entail field recordings, soundwalks, and the collective production of sound compositions that convey narratives or soundscapes evoking the experience lived during field work. Participants will be taught about field recording as a practice (history, equipment and techniques), listening exercises and sound editing techniques.
Eppure Suonna! — “Seeing is believing” is the norm that orients the practices of the scientific world, and yet the world sounds.
The history of sound as an epistemological tool in modern science and technology problematizes the construction of scientific objectivity centred only in the visual dimension. In the traditional scientific narrative, the body and the bodily practices of researchers are considered sources of subjectivity, hence are systematically dismissed or erased. As such, in a Cartesian construction of science there exists a hierarchy of the senses: vision, gets associated with the mind and becomes the privileged sense to access and make sense of the real — the objective sense, per se. To the body belong the remaining senses, whose perceptions can hardly be replicated by graphs, tables or images, and as such are catalogued as subjective interpretations. Current studies in history of the senses aim to open the entire sensorial apparatus of the human body as wholly involved in the analytical and productive activities of various scientific fields.
Historical examples from science and technology — like the stethoscope, the Geiger Counter, the audification of earthquakes, bioacustic research, the scanning probe microscope, etc.— show that both in the laboratory as in the open field, listening for phenomena is often fundamental to knowing them.
A similar problem with the body afflicts the practice of field recording.
Field Recordings have a large array of applications that go from scientific recordings to the collection of sound samples to use in artistic compositions. In both cases, the audible presence of the recorder’s body or other human elements in the phonographic register is a constant issue, and is related to the degree of objectivity of this representation. In the case of the more naturalist approaches, the audio recording is presented as a way to document the world and objectively transmit reality and nature. In this sense, the presence of humans or human activities in the recorded sound is taken as an intruder, spoiling a pristine register.
Another possible approach is to assume that any kind of sound capture is necessarily subjective, as it reflects a series of individual decisions and preferences, from the choice and positioning of microphones to the editing of recordings. In this case, using the voice or sounds of body movements or even to hit objects can be an essential element in the composition of a sound piece. The artistic agency becomes explicit, affirming the human as an integral part of the context or ecology of the place/moment.
Both in science as in field recording practice, sound or the sound register can hold different and ambiguous statutes regarding the ability to access and making sense of the real. At the Soundscape Campus 2019, we want to oppose both worlds in debate and in the making of artistic works that help us to problematize and reflect on what is a valid sensorial experience, what we take as culture and nature and our assumptions about objectivity and subjectivity.
Some of the questions we’ll try to address are:
- In what contexts can sound become a fundamental element in the production of scientific and other kinds of knowledge? What examples can sustain this position?
- How does sound problematize the figure of the neutral observer that stands outside the observed phenomenon?
- How do different fields of research listen for their research objects and how do they handle the communication of their findings?
- How do recent works in the fields of Sound Studies and History of Science and Technology question the separation of the senses?
- How does sound as an epistemological tool, as well as the problematizing of the phonographic register as an objective representation of the real, informs us of different philosophies and cosmovisions of culture and nature?
- How does sound legitimizes other forms of knowing outside the western scientific paradigm, for instance indigenous epistemologies?
- How does capturing sound helps us to understand the dynamics that unfold in urban and ecological spaces? Is it possible to have an actual objective representation of the real in the phonographic record?
- In the context of different eco-social crises that trouble the present, how does listening as vehicle for reflection or action over reality can incite a new eco-cosmopolitanism? How do the different phonographical approaches complement or conflict with these efforts?
Participation in all activities is free but with mandatory registration. Follow the link below to start your registration.
Field Recordings Workshop
In order to accommodate the schedules of faculty students and external participants, the practical activities of the campus are divided in two rounds. Both the 27th March and the 3rd of April are geared towards FCT students. The days of 6 and 7 April to external participants. However, participants are free to choose what round they want to attend, and they may even go to both rounds. In this last case, they will be able to enjoy the diferent activities that are planned for each day.
- 27th March | 14PM - 19PM – Field Recordings and Sound Walks at the Caparica Campus. Exploration of the campus and sound visits do laboratories. Oriented by Ivo Louro
- 3rd April | 14PM - 19PM – Continuation of Field Recordings and Sound Walks at the Caparica Campus. Oriented by Ivo Louro.
- 06th April | 10:30 AM - 5PM — CSF Collected sound fragments for an imaginary landscape Workshop – Field Recordings & Sound Walks. Oriented by Nils Meisel and Pedro André
- 07th Abril | 10:30 AM - 5PM —CSF Workshop — Group Composition of Soundscapes with audio editing techniques and tools. Oriented by Nils Meisel and Pedro André
12 April | 11:30 AM - 5:30 PM – Colloquium “Sound, Body and Science” (Detailed programme coming soon.
Alexandra Supper (Maastricht Univ., NL)
Alexandra Supper is an assistant professor at the Department of Technology and Society Studies, Maastricht University. She does research at the intersection between science & technology studies (STS) and sensory studies. In her PhD research, she investigated the practice of sonification, the auditory display of scientific data. Her PhD thesis, 'Lobbying for the Ear: The Public Fascination with and Academic Legitimacy of the Sonification of Scientific Data' analyses the emergence of scientific/artistic community dedicated to sonification and that community's struggles to have listening to scientific data accepted as a scientific approach. She has been part of the team led by Karin Bijstervel on the project Sonic Skills dedicated to studying the role of sound and listening in the development of science, technology and medicine, from the 1920s to today
Paulo Marques (ISPA / MUHNAC)
Paulo Marques is a researcher at the Unidade de investigação em Eco-Etologia (ISPA-IU) and the Museu Nacional de História Natural. His research deals with animal communication and migration. Currently studying the evolution of communication in acoustically complex environments. Especially in the context of parent-offspring communication. He is the curator of the Natural Sounds Archive of the National Museum of Natural History (MUHNAC).
Rui Chaves (Santiago do Cacém, 1983) is a sound artist and performer. In December 2013, he finished a PhD at the SARC (Queen’s University Belfast) with funding from Fundação para a Ciência e Tecnologia. This practice-based research explored a “relational” and “post-medium” approach that was inspired by different forms of contemporary performance. This praxis foregrounded a discussion of presence — both physical and authorial — in the process of making sound art: an endeavour that is informed by a contemporary critical inquiry and exploration of the thematics of body, place, text and technology. This conceptual framework reflects an on-going interdisciplinary sound based artistic practice: site-specific interventions; video art; mixed-media installation; and community art projects. Currently, he also focuses on the development of a postcolonial historiography that describes contemporary sound practices produced in the Global South . Between 2015-2018, he was a postdoctoral researcher at NuSom: Research Centre on Sonology (University of São Paulo), having developed an online art archive of Brazilian sound Art (www.nendu.net) and is currently co-editing with Fernando Iazzetta a volume on the topic, Making it Heard: A History of Brazilian sound art (forthcoming 2019, Bloomsbury Academic).
Composer/improviser, researcher and musicologist. Inventor of electronic musical instruments.
More lecturers to be announced soon.
Faculdade de Ciências e Tecnologia / NOVA Lisbon, at Monte de Caparica. Learn how to get there.
Ivo Louro: email@example.com
- Ivo Louro (Coordination) (CIUHCT)
- André Pereira (CIUHCT)
- Hugo Almeida (CIUHCT)
- Maria Paula Diogo (CIUHCT)
- ANTHROPOLANDS - Engineering the Anthropocene: colonial science, technology and medicine and the changing of the African landscape.
- FCT NOVA
- Fundação para a Ciência e Tecnologia