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.
12 April | Auditorium of the Library of the FCT NOVA (see venue below)
11h00 — Opening
11h30 — Keynote: Listening to the Dynamics of Scientific Practice and Technological Development
, by Alexandra Supper (Univ. Maastricht)
12h30 — FCT Soundwalk
13h00 — Lunch
14h00 — The Need to Document and Preserve Natural Soundscape Recordings as Acoustic Memories, by Paulo Marques (ISPA, MUHNAC)
14h45 — Field recording(s): presence, place and process, by Rui Chaves
15h15 — Coffee break
15h30 — Sound - Vibration - Imagination, by talk with musical performance by Jonas Runa (FCSH NOVA / Univ. Lusofona)
16h30 — Roundtable Eppure Suona, moderated by Raquel Castro, with Alexandra Supper, Jonas Runa and Paulo Marques
Alexandra Supper (Maastricht Univ., NL)
In recent years, the sounds of scientific practice and technological development have received increased attention in the field of science and technology studies (STS). Historians and sociologists of science and technology have become attuned to the noises that reverberate within the walls of laboratories, the voices that populate the hallways of academic conferences and the hums that accompany the workings of machines.
In this talk, I build upon my research on sonification (as the practice of transforming scientific data into sound is known) and that of my colleagues in the Sonic Skills — Listening for Knowledge in Science, Medicine, and Engineering (1920—Present) project, to discuss how sound can help us to understand the dynamics of scientific and technological expertise. In doing so, I zoom in on how professional communities have developed specific bodily and sensory practices that allow them to generate knowledge through listening – and how in doing so, they had to negotiate the boundaries of what is accepted as legitimate knowledge. Taking sonification and sonic skills as a starting point, I will reflect on how the study of sound has become closely intertwined with some of the core concerns of STS, including issues of materiality, embodiment, tacit knowledge and epistemic authority.
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)
Soundscapes and other monitoring recordings register the acoustical activities in a locality portraying its acoustic dimension, depicting human and animal presence. Soundscapes recordings in natural areas, including urban sites, can be used to describe biodiversity, by documenting their presence, and characterize the environment. These recordings are thus primary sources of information, and securing its conservation may guarantee the acoustic memory of habitats and ecosystems. These recordings have a potential application in future recreational, educational or research activities. Soundscape recordings, and it associated information, if organized in a long-term data-curation framework, such as sound archives or collections can ensure its preservation and maintain its value.
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).
The practice of field recording has particular relevance in sound art, with influences from experimental/contemporary music and intersections with biology, acoustic ecology, ethnomusicology and cinema. Nonetheless, there are questions in regards to how practitioners in this field – mediate the recording process, the recorded place and their presence (authorial and physical) – existing a predominant view that opts for the non-interference of these elements when presenting field recordings. In this regard, this presentation will describe artworks that reveal the methodological potency of field recording in creating a dialogue between place, listener and artist/field recorder.
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).
Sound has immense potential for scientific and artistic research as it reveals deep connections to both the fundamental physics and the human psyche. In this conference, Jonas Runa will discuss the relations between sound as a scientific entity and sound as perception, (2) the consequences the autonomy of noise, and (3) the boundaries between computability and creativity in electronic music, from the point of view of artistic research *. The three problems are clues that allow not only to reach the interpretation of consciousness as the music of nature but also to outline the concept of Irrealized Musical Energy as developed in collaboration with musicologist Jorge Lima Barreto.
* Artistic research: interdisciplinary research, encompassing science, technique, theory and / or technology, based on the author's own artistic creation; music as art-science.
Artist, Composer and Researcher. Doctorate in Science and Technology of the Arts, University Professor of Science and Technology of Sound, at the University Lusófona. His works have been presented at the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao, at the 55th and 56th Venice Biennials, at the 798 Art District (Beijing), ARoS Aarhus Kunstmuseum, Galerie Scheffel (Frankfurt), Logos Foundation (Gent), Museum of Contemporary Art (Santiago de Chile), at the Théâtre de la Ville (Paris), at Arnold Schoenberg Hall (The Hague), at the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation (Lisbon) and Casa da Música (Porto), among others.
With Jorge Lima Barreto, he created the duo Zul Zelub, for piano and electronic music of art.
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
Faculdade de Ciências e Tecnologia / NOVA Lisbon, at Monte de Caparica. Learn how to get there.
Ivo Louro: firstname.lastname@example.org
- 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