SIEF2011 10th Congress: Lisbon, Portugal.
17-21 April 2011
Sound, space and memory: ways of emotionalizing and instrumentalizing sound
Location Tower A, Piso 0, Room 4
Date and Start Time 19 Apr, 2011 at 11:30
Globalization and mobility have remodeled the relations between sound and space through emotionalization and instrumentalization. The panel aims to highlight the new connections between sound and space, taking into account the dynamics of detaching and repositioning sound and place today.
Sound and space have been considered as two distinct phenomena, visual and aural, to be studied by different disciplines: (ethno)musicology and geography. But the anthropology of space, the anthropology of senses (Turner) and performance studies (Schiefflin, Marshall) have shown how music links with space and memory. Every experience of space is at the same time a visual, acoustic and memory experience. Places possess a particular soundscape (Murray Schafer, Feld, Scaldaferri) linked to the process of recollecting and learning the traces of the past.
In times of musical globalization and musical hybridization, music detaches itself from its space of origin and tends to exist as a non-spatial and non-identifiable object. On the other hand, sound becomes appropriated by space influenced by local discourses, nationalist rhetorics or heritage politics. Space is considered in these terms as the mythical origin of musical expressions.
In the last decades, human migrations have profoundly remodeled the relation between music and space. As a result, an increased role was attributed to aural memory for remembering places, involving particular emotions. In these terms, memory stimulates a widespread nostalgia for the sounds and spaces of origin.
The panel aims to highlight the connections between sound and space, in local emic terms and as an etic concept of cultural politics. How can ‘local sounds’ be understood in a globalized world? What role do memory processes play in linking space and sounds? In what sense does the aural compliment the visual in performance? In what respect can music as a symbol evoke a ‘lost space’?
This panel is closed to new paper proposals.
Silence habité: constructions sonores de la spatialité dans la clôture
Nous chercherons ici à montrer que l'espace monastique se construit sur une base principalement sonore et qu'il produit et conserve des comportements et des valeurs bien particuliers. Le concept de a-globalisation peut-être ainsi utilisé pour caractériser le groupe monastique.
Partant d'une ethnographie participative, réalisée en partageant la vie de deux groupes carmélitains français, nous montrerons ici que la construction/déconstruction de l'espace monastique, sa gestion et son utilisation sont pensées et vécues en premier lieu sur une base sonore, tant comme recherche du silence que comme canalisation et réglementation de la parole de prière. Ces deux aspects produisent, dans l'architecture du couvent, des choix spatiaux précis qui, à leur tour, agissent au niveau du comportement et du sens.
Les processus de transmission du sens du silence et de la parole, avec les façons d'être et de croire qu'ils comportent, se fait précisément par le biais d'un apprentissage des formes spatiales particulières au couvent (structure globale, espace collectif, espaces individualisés), mais aussi des pratiques d'aménagement des objets et des personnes.
Nous proposerons ici une relecture phénoménologique du son-silence et du son-prière, sur le plan de l'agi spatial, de l'entendu et du parlé. Nous examinons à la loupe un cas-limite de son/espace, où, pour l'observateur, le son apparaît comme non-son et non-parole et où l'espace semble caractérisé de façon univoque à la mesure des rapports relationnels que l'on veut créer entre les corps.
Building the hero: from ritual mourning to mp3 among the Armenian Yezidis
This presentation aims to highlight the way laments of the Yezidi community of Armenia, delocalized from the ritual space through displacement and new technologies, gain a new dimension in which shared memories are shaped by sounds and poetics.
In the Yezidi community of Armenia, laments for the dead can be heard in daily life as well as in all funerals. The massive emigration during the post-soviet period did not stop the vitality of this pratice but it gave to the ritual a new space, spread out over borders and timescales.
This new space can be defined by the creation of a non physical locality. People quite often attend to funerals via mobile phones (listening to laments and sometimes even performing them). Funerals are also filmed by the family and sent to the relatives abroad. Finally, laments for heroes are not only sung in funerals, but also recorded in studios and sold in mp3 compilations on street markets.
Delocalized from the funeral space and time, laments for the dead become part of a shared memory.
Sound, space, and dance in the local "panigyria" in Greece: the co-relation of sound, space and dance in the local "panigyria" in Northwestern Greece, their dynamics and their social implications
How sound ,space and dance co-relate in the local panigyria in Greece and why a special place is selected to be the space of the dance in accordance with its functional purpose?
The "Pamygiri" in Greece is a typical form of a religious festival, found in many forms and in different places. Nonetheless there are some common characteristics (shared by the local panigyria in certain areas of Greece) which reveal a process that supports important social purposes. As the purpose of the dance changes a different space is required as the form of the dance and the music differs. These purposes which reflect the self-identity of the communities are indispensable to it as they are bound to the question of its survival. In such a way they are incorporated in every activity related to it and especially in every activity that reflects the reaction of its members against its dissolution.
Sounds like history: maritime heritage soundscapes and the appropration of the past
Sounds are important elements in the construction of a maritime past because they are linked to cultural and economic value. We will illustrate this argument by reporting a case study on the soundscapes of maritime heritage festivals in Flensburg, Germany.
Sounds are ephemeral phenomena, which are omnipresent elements of our sensory surroundings. Soundscape is a multi-faceted term which refers at the same time to the sonic environment of a place and to a variety of cultural practices with respect to sounds, such as performing, listening, interpreting, recording, or creating. But how can sounds become constituting elements of a group - put differently: How do sounds become cultural heritage/cultural property? In order to empirically investigate these ideas, we conducted a case study that was based on interviews and sound recordings. The data were collected in the context of a sound exhibition project ("Harbour Soundscape", Flensburg Maritime Museum 2010) as part of the DFG-research project "Sounds and tones as cultural property?".
Our paper investigates why some sounds are stronger value-laden than others and therefore have contributed to the notion that Flensburg owns a rich maritime past. For example, the sounds that people in Flensburg (Germany) associate with their city are those of the sea, church bells, and ship horns - and do not include those of daily city life, like traffic. In this context, we focus on how actors and institutions participate in the construction of maritime heritage. We conclude that the human senses are culturally encoded instruments and, therefore, ideas and discourses play an important role in the interpretation of soundscapes.
Embodied imagination: understanding place through sound and movement
This paper examines ephemeral sound-based artistic practices that are concerned with the specificity of place, and examines the relationship between sound and space through embodiment and imagination.
In recent years much has been written about the conceptual limitations of site specificity in art; about the homogenization, fragmentation and alienation resulting from globalization; and about an understanding of place as an unstable and shifting set of contested relations . Despite - or because of - these scenarios, there seems to be a movement in contemporary art practice towards a more direct engagement with a specific location, and a return to what James Meyer has termed the "literal" site . This paper examines ephemeral sound-based artistic practices that are concerned with the specificity of place, and examines the relationship between sound and space through embodiment and imagination. The paper will present an investigation of the work of Canadian sound artist Janet Cardiff, paying close attention to the audio walk The Missing Voice: Case Study B, which takes the listener through the streets and lanes of London's East End, starting at the Whitechapel Gallery and finishing inside Liverpool Station. The walk consists of a "well-structured psychic tapestry" which combines pre-recorded ambient sounds of the location with descriptions, comments, fragments of overheard conversation, loosely-structured narrative, snatches of music and references to the past. Fragmented and incomplete, the walk leaves space for the imagination, memory and emotion of the listener. The terrain for the exploration is the internal experience of the individual in the city and uses sound, memory and imagination to create a deep connection to place.
Synchronization of images and music realised by Leoš Janáček in Moravia in 1906 in the context of documentation of the traditional Whitsuntide ritual “The Little Queens“
This contribution introduces the folkloristic activity of the composer, Leoš Janáček. In 1906 he initiated a project involving the photographic documentation of the traditional Whitsuntide ritual known as “The Little Queens”. For the purpose of synchronization of the music and the visual components he then used a unique, experimental system.
The composer, Leoš Janáček, (1854–1928) was working on folkloristic studies within a project called “Folksong in Austria”. In the spring of 1906, he recommended engaging the photographic studio, “Atelier Rafael”, in Brno (Czech Republic), for the purpose of photographic documentation of folk dances and children's dance games. Together with his colleague Lucie Bakešová (1853–1935), he prepared a performance of the Whitsuntide ritual, “The Little Queens”, performed by young girls and young ladies in the village of Ořechov near Brno. As the photographs were being taken, Janáček precisely identified the shots, connecting them with printed notation, and later creating his own version of the piano accompaniments. It will be presented in an audiovisual format for the first time in the context of this contribution.
These results offer inspiration for consideration on several levels. With regard to the documentation itself it is unique material recorded by a completely original method which coordinates spatial, kinesthetic and musical parameters. The performance was rehearsed on the basis of printed documents reflecting experience in similar materials from different localities and regions and by using individual songs from an older printed collection. For technical reasons, Janáček, Bakešová and invited photographers had to use non-original time and space. “The Little Queens” in this form represented a typical product of folk revival, and their subsequent popularity brought about the standardisation of the resultant form. The ceremony has been performed in its locality and surroundings, with small breaks, until the present day. As a strong identification factor, the ceremony remains in the general consciousness of the inhabitants interested in the cultural history of their municipalities.
Eastern dreams and sonic utopias: the amplified worlds of Romanian manele
This paper deals with the relations between the sonic shaping of musical space and the symbolic references of musical structures. It focuses on an amplified song genre, which became popular throughout Romania in the aftermath of the 1989 revolution.
In Romania, manele have been a popular song genre for the past 20 years. They are performed primarily by professional Roma musicians, for Roma and non Roma audiences. Manele are characterized by their rhythmic pattern, along with a typical melismatic performance style. Both features are generally commented as "oriental" by local listeners.
The genre is also associated with strong amplification and the use of electronic sound effects. Amongst the latter, reverberation and echo are most common. I propose to analyze the ways in which these electronic spatializing techniques mingle with the characteristic exoticism of the genre.
How does the acoustic shaping of musical space combine with the symbolic references to the East ? What kind of experience do the musicians seek to provide for their listeners ? How does the sonically enchanted world of manele relate to their actual setting of performance ? My analysis will be based on recordings and field observations carried during 2009-2010 in Bucharest.
Linking spaces with sound
The well known notion of soundscape appears as a problematic concept in an anthropological use. As we are immerged in sensorial contexts, we « hear in » rather than we hear something (Ingold, 2008). Using the term of sonic environment let us dealing with questions of relation and implication. Based on an ethnographic research carried out in a popular area of Naples (Italy), this communication intends to show how sonic postures and listenning criteria can reveal several types of relation with social and sensorial spaces.
The well known notion of soundscape appears as a problematic concept in an anthropological use. As we are immerged in sensorial contexts, we « hear in » rather than we hear something (Ingold, 2008). Except in particular listenning situation (as an acousmatic concert), we never listen to a sonic environment in a contemplative way as we look at a lanscape. Based on an ethnographic research carried out in a popular area of Naples (Italy), this communication intends to show how sonic postures and listenning criteria can reveal several types of relation with social and sensorial spaces. Vocal gestures, as well as popular practices of fireworks, appear as territorialisation media and privileged ways of beeing present in the social web. Giving ones voice to the public space - during distant communications - is one of the possible ways offered by the sociocultural context to participate to a global way of linking habitat spaces and asserting social membership. For the inhabitants of this area, being sonic becomes integrated into the strategies adopted for living the street. The sensorial porosity between outdoor and indoor let us question the classical dichotomy between private and public spaces. By focusing sound as an anthropological entry, phonography appears as an privileged way of deeply observing everydays way of living (De certeau, 1990).
"Die besten falschen Russen": Exploring music and memory in the Russenpartyszene in Berlin
In this paper I will explore how the musical event of the popular Russendisko parties in Berlin function as a site for the exploration and reinterpretation of the collective memories of Germans and Russians and their shared past.
Since its first emergence on the Berlin club scene in 1999, the hugely popular "Russendisko" parties at Kaffee Burger have mostly been treated by social scientist as a place where Germans come to escape modern life and wallow in vodka-drenched soviet-nostalgia. The particularities of the time and place where the phenomenon of the Russenpartyszene - Russian parties for Germans - sprung up, namely in post-Wende Berlin, has up until now largely been neglected.
This paper will focus on the particular social-historical context of the Russenpartyszene and one of the key places where this scene flourishes most. In Kaffee Burger, once a pub where East-German dissidents came together and famous for its still intact GDR-exterior, different groups that spent most of the 20th century separated from each other, come together to dance and party. Through musical imagined worlds, Germans and Russians de- and reconstruct ideas about each other and their shared past. On an empirical level, this paper will look at how German and Russian musicians use a variety of key-symbols in their musical performances that is generally recognized by their German audiences to be "authentically" Russian. The paper will explore how musicians both use and redefine this idea of Russianness, and how it is intrinsically connected to ideas of "Germanness". On a theoretical level, the paper will focus on how the secluded space of the musical events allows for the exploration of issues such as collective memory, identity, and implicit social knowledge of a problematic shared past.
Espaces à la recherche de vocations : Les églises de Montréal (Québec, Canada), écrins de mémoires sonores
Présentation d'une recherche doctorale qui explore la dimension sensible de l'espace de l'église, et en particulier sa dimension sonore, pour envisager de nouvelles façons de l'investir, nombre de ces espaces étant voués à une disparition imminente au Québec.
On sait que la perception de l'espace architectural est une expérience globale (Zevi, Pallasmaa) qui engage la totalité des sens, et ses contours sont recomposés par l'ouïe autant que par l'œil. Un lieu possède une empreinte, une identité sonore (Schafer, Amphoux).
La situation de l'espace de l'église, au Québec, illustre le sort d'un lieu de pratiques musicales aujourd'hui « déterritorialisé » par l'érosion de la pratique religieuse mais aussi celle des structures urbaines et territoriales héritées de l'époque industrielle et la mobilité des populations. Propriété d'institutions religieuses qui ne peuvent plus en assurer le maintien, et en l'absence d'un soutien de l'État suffisant, leur conservation passe par l'attribution de nouveaux usages séculiers.
La dimension sonore occupe traditionnellement une place importante dans les églises. Lieux de la Parole, du silence, de la prière, du chant et de pratiques musicales sacrées ou populaires, des enjeux importants sont liés à la mémoire de ces pratiques et à la transmission de savoir-faire hérités. Mais ils demeurent aussi des « caisses de résonance » bien particulières et ces caractéristiques acoustiques suggèrent de nouvelles formes d'appropriation, par l'expérience spatio-temporelle autre [en dehors du temps ?] qu'ils suscitent, et qui affecte le rythme du mouvement et de la parole (Arkette).
Le maloya, une racine identitaire ambigüe (île de La Réunion)
Situé au-delà du langage, le fait musical est amené à la signifiance au sein d’un ensemble social et culturel dont il définit les contours. Métaphore du travail de socialisation engageant l’être en profondeur, nous suivrons quelques interprétations historiques et spatiales assumées par le maloya.
Caractérisée par l'emmêlement des généalogies tant biologiques que culturelles, l'île de La Réunion participe de ces sociétés ayant « à la fois, selon l'anthropologue créoliste Jean Benoist, la chance et le malheur d'avoir un passé si brouillé que leur avenir doit être inventé ». Associé par les artistes mais aussi les politiques culturelles contemporaines aux esclaves, à leurs descendants et de plus en plus à l'ensemble des Réunionnais, le maloya est la musique insulaire qui s'est le plus investie dans la question mémorielle.
Ceci d'au moins deux manières : l'une relative à l'Afrique, l'autre à l'île. En effet, cette musique accompagne autant les cultes de possession mettant en scène les ancêtres afro-malgaches que la définition actuelle des identités, notamment « avant-gardistes », dans ce département français d'Outre-Mer. Autrefois revitalisé par le courant local de décolonisation qui pointait son ancrage dans une tradition aussi authentique qu'interdite, le maloya participe à l'ancrage dans la globalisation, que d'aucun qualifient de post-moderne, comme l'illustrent sa progressive industrialisation sur la scène des musiques « du monde » ainsi que sa récente classification par l'Unesco. Nous proposons ici une analyse de la construction esthétique du passé selon ces deux espaces sonores qui sont aussi, et avant tout, des espaces sociaux dont les contributions à l'identité créole réunionnaise semblent déterminantes.
Devouring memories: leading with modernity through ritual songs in the Andes
I analyze a livestock branding ritual in a group of indigenous villages not far from the capital of Peru as a cultural phenomenon whereby Andean villagers grapple with key ideological dilemmas of Peruvian modernity. Analysis of these songs and the emotional world of the singers gives access to folk views of troubled migration journeys and problematic attempts to integrate into the national society.
I analyze a livestock branding ritual in a group of indigenous villages not far from the capital of Peru as a cultural phenomenon whereby Andean villagers grapple with key ideological dilemmas of Peruvian modernity. Some ideological internal contradictions at issue involve ancient cosmology. However, more to the fore are conflicts felt by Andean villagers drawn to life in modern Lima. I examine ritual lyrics for their discourses on modernity. Analysis of these songs and the emotional world of the singers gives access to folk views of troubled migration journeys and problematic attempts to integrate into the national society.
This panel is closed to new paper proposals.