Sound + Space
Co-taught with Barry Salmon, graduate seminar elective
Sound is not something merely projected into a space. Space is not merely sound’s container. To the contrary, sound has the potential to define space, to create metaphorical walls. Sound “happens” in space; its waves traverse a distance from source to ear. Furthermore, both sound and space have a structural design, an architectonics. This seminar addresses the sonic qualities of space, the spatial properties of sound, and the myriad other links between space and sound. We will begin by addressing theories of space – particularly those that acknowledge the role of sound, or silence, in shaping and giving character to space. We will then move on to examine some historical examples in which sonic and spatial constructions have worked in concert to define a place in time. The remainder of the semester is devoted to a variety of sound/space applications: artists crafting spaces out of sound, architects creating sonic spaces, sonic landscapes and sculptures, sound in mediated spaces, and auditory media’s role in shaping spaces or demarcating boundaries. Everyone will be asked to complete one mid-semester paper on a topic of his or her choice, and a final group project – either a substantial research paper or a creative project. Throughout the semester, additional assignments will be developed collaboratively between instructors and students. Through the completion of these exercises and weekly reading assignments, weekly attendance, and occasional field trips and guest speakers, students will leave the class familiar with a new body of theory, appreciative of the connections between these seemingly unrelated concepts, and aware of how sound shapes the world we live, and listen, in.
Spring 2008: Syllabus