SIEF2017 13th Congress: Göttingen, Germany
26-30 March 2017

WORKSHOP: The acoustics of dwelling, a sound programme
Location VG 4.105
Date and Start Time 29 March, 2017 at 08:30
Sessions 2


  • Carlo Cubero (Tallinn University) email
  • Pablo D. Herrera Veitia (University of St. Andrews) email

Mail All Convenors

Short Abstract

How does dwelling sound like? How can "dwelling studies" inform field recordings, soundscapes, musicology, and phonology? This workshop features sound works that examine the affects and concepts associated with the practises, territorialities, and materialities of dwelling.

Long Abstract

This workshop features sound works that, through their format and content, examine the affects and concepts associated with the practises, territorialities, and materialities of dwelling. We are interested in showcasing sound works that focus on the embodied skills at stake in the constitution of dwelling spaces, rather than on binary oppositions that emphasise its contradictory properties.

The workshop intends to address practises associated with dwelling, sound recording, and listening in order to draw connections between sonic experiences and dwelling and to ask what a sonics of dwelling could tell us about the human relations that produce these 'substantial structures.' This workshop provides a space where we can listen to anthropologically informed sound works on dwelling and discuss methodologies, circumstances, and the multiple mediations that result in the production of sound works from the perspective of dwelling.

Our starting point is a critique of conceptualisations of sound as an object of nature that can be apprehended and reconstructed through value-free methodologies. We understand sonic-ethnographies as authored narrativizations of empirical experiences, rather than articulations of transcendent principles, which ascribe conceptual causes to the unfolding of life. The workshop will also invite listeners to engage actively with the recordings, immerse themselves in the sonic moment, and consider how the listener and designer are mutually implicated in the creation of the sonic experience.

We accept proposals of 15 minute (max.) sound works to be followed by a 5 minute discussion. Proposals should consist of an abstract and, preferably, a link to the sound work.

This panel is closed to new paper proposals.


Serra da Bocaina

Author: Enrico Ascoli  email

Short Abstract

a botanical sound exploration of Serra da Bocaina during Ruralscape art residence in 2014.

Long Abstract

According with perceptions theories, environments could not be just observed, must be "explored": meaning, becoming part of it, we situate our action on it; we gives place to an interactive relationship and it is thorough action directed toward and in the environment that the subject receive a variety of sensory clues in the form of visual, auditory and tactile feedback. Any sensory modes can be excluded by this experience and often we are exposed to a large amount of information (central and secondary information) simultaneously. Environment perception always implies actions toward a goal. By exploring, selecting and classifying environmental information, an individual manages to forge a subjective and relatively coherent representation, that, according to individual factors, setting characteristics and social relations, includes emotions, orientation, categorization, organization and manipulation. Usually everyday life environment are easy and economic from a cognitive point of view, because most of the perceptual and symbolic stimulus has been already culturally gained by subject grow in it. This is good because there is less information to elaborate in perceiving our goals but at the same time the system becomes closed to experiencing new configuration of the same environment. But what's happen in the moment in which the individual approach an unknown environment? If the perception of that environment it's culturally elaborate starting from macro historical goals such as nutrition, habitability, social exchange what does means to perceive it from another point of view: for example sound or art? Which new possibilities open to have technologies and interfaces that empower our sensory systems?

Sound compass

Author: Page McClean (University of Colorado, Boulder)  email

Short Abstract

Part of an audiovisual ethnographic art installation, "Reorienting Patagonia," this piece explores the practices and territorialities of dwelling along Chile's "Carretera Austral" or Southern Highway, a 1240-kilometer road that passes through the least populated regions of Patagonia.

Long Abstract

Mostly associated with the military dictatorship of General Augusto Pinochet, the Southern Highway is still under construction. Before the road, most routes in Patagonia traveled east-west, connecting the Pacific Ocean to the Andes, winter grazing to summer pastures, and Chile to Argentina through mountain passes and gaps. Through planning, engineering, and construction, the road attempts to re-orient the compass towards the more industrialized northern provinces and capital. While the sounds of east and west still pervade the sonic compass, the ease of north-south travel has mobilized new sounds, voices, and ideas in the region that do not necessarily follow the contours of the landscape. As the construction of the road has re-oriented the people who live in the region, this piece explores the politics of space through sound. The acoustics of dwelling engage with ways in which local and central Chilean understandings of the region encounter each other in space and place. As Harvey and Knox (2015) write of roads, the engineer's designs rarely take into account the rich (sonic) experience of wayfaring. In this piece, listeners will hear sounds that orient and others that disrupt one's orientation in an attempt to represent the experience of both dwelling and conducting preliminary fieldwork. They will have to engage their listening to orient themselves to the land and sense the disorienting nature of the road. The piece is composed from field recordings made in May and June 2016.

Place making and acoustic arenas of Münster

Authors: Alexandra Dantzer (Westfälische Universität Münster)  email
Lazar Jovanović (Westfälische Wilhelms-Universität Münster)  email

Short Abstract

Research of the sounscape of the city of Münster, through sound-mapping and creation of sound naratives. The goal is to show the different ways in which sound is attended to and later on recreated and interpreted.

Long Abstract

Our soundwork explores the notion of place and sound and its connections. By talking about emplacement, that includes sense of boundaries, one is not denying the constructedness and fluidity of place making. The place is constructed and shaped through relationships, just so as acoustic spaces are. Also, sound pervades everyday experiences and sets the tone of places, and it operates through influence, mostly unconscious, that is discrete and not direct. It is immaterial in its essence but it creates acoustic arenas (Blesser and Salter, 2007) as a vehicle of emplacement. Our project is thought of as an experimentation with mapping the acoustic arenas of the city of Münster. The sound project that we are sending was based on sound walks in the Old City Center, that had a goal to sketch the keynotes, signals and soundmarks and render them audible. Some of the sounds were recorded and some of them were searched for on the Internet as our goal was to construct an acoustic arena of Münster. The goal was to show that the original source of the sound does not have to be genuine in order to create an atmospheric representation of the place. Through these mapping we would like to show in how many different ways a place can be created through sounds, regarding the position of the listener and also how one can re-create the aural environments and later on interpret them as anthropological "facts".

Link to the sound work: (more to come)

Stockholm sound diaries: documenting, exploring and remembering through the practice of field recording

Author: Elin Franzén (Stockholm university)  email

Short Abstract

Five Stockholm residents were asked to record sounds during one week, resulting in multi-layered stories about the ongoing life as well as memories of places and events in the past. With excerpts from these sound diaries I wish to address aspects of belonging/not belonging from a sonic perspective.

Long Abstract

The sound work 'Stockholm sound diaries' consists of shorter pieces from the field recording material collected in 2011 as empirical data for my master theses, in which I explore field recording as a method for studying experience of sound and place. Five persons, all settled in Stockholm, were asked to record sounds during one week, followed up by interviews. Through the process of recording, presenting and discussing everyday sounds personal narratives are created; defining sonic spatiality, articulating sound experience as ways of knowing and belonging, and linking together ongoing lives and memories of other places and events in life.

These narratives relate in several ways to the topic of dwelling. By presenting the diary excerpts I wish to address aspects of belonging/not belonging from a sound perspective. Choosing what to capture with the microphone becomes a way to present yourself and the spaces constituting your daily landscape. Identifying and being familiar with the soundscape - in many cases the tiniest details, such as the sonic qualities of different knives in the kitchen or a subtle tonality of the subway train - can be understood in terms of 'feeling at home'. The field recording process not only presents the already familiar, but also works as a method for exploring and understanding things so far unknown and things so well incorporated in the everyday choreography that they - until captured - pass unreflected.

The submitted sound work also includes comments about the field recordings from the interviews, which highlight the variety of feelings and functions connected to listening.

Link to sound work:

Liminal dwelling: navigating the hyperreal auditory everyday

Author: Iain Findlay-Walsh (University of Glasgow)  email

Short Abstract

This paper considers notions of hyperreality, liminality and dwelling in relation to everyday auditory experience, with specific reference to the stereo/headphone piece 'Born On', produced by the author.

Long Abstract

This paper considers notions of hyperreality and liminality in relation to auditory experience, with specific reference to the autoethnographic stereo/headphone piece 'Born On', produced by the author. Dwelling is considered in relation to recent theories of listening, and explored as something sought after, but evasive - an attempt at self-situation within the saturated spaces of the everyday. A short presentation and discussion will follow the piece, which has a running time of 11:20.

About the piece:

Born On (Walking Version) is a stereo composition which documents and reflects on the practice of everyday commuter (headphone) listening, re-presenting it as a search for situatedness while travelling. The piece can be understood as a layered document of my own auditory experiences during a repeated daily urban commute. A range of recording technologies and strategies are used to document my listening experiences, including recordings made by placing in-ear binaural microphones underneath a pair of IPod headphones, thereby capturing the sounds of IPod listening, environmental sound, and bodily movement simultaneously. By presenting these recordings as a stereo composition for subsequent listeners, the listener's experience of Born On (Walking Version) is designed to overlay that of their immediate auditory environment, providing a kind of 'second order' experience of headphone listening, through which my own auditory experiences are reframed. In this way, the piece draws on autoethnographic methods to explore and present headphone listening as a search for situatedness within the hyperreal spaces of the urban everyday.

Link to audio:

Future Memory, Wombscape as shared experience crossing time and space

Author: Maile Colbert (New University of Lisbon, Faculty of Social Sciences and Humanities)  email

Short Abstract

The more we understand about fetal hearing and processing sound, the more we understand how fetuses can detect subtle changes and process complex information within their "wombscape".

Long Abstract

Odette's very first movements, her first "quickening", was in response to David Bowie's "Starman". This was around 16 weeks, often the time for first movements in the fetus, and interestingly also the time when the hearing has developed. The fetus floats in a rich and complex soundscape; it is anything but quiet. The womb filter…amniotic fluid, embryonic membranes, uterus, the maternal abdomen-low frequencies, and blood in veins whooshing, then Mother's voice and body noises such as hiccups and the gurgles of digestion and of course, the heartbeat. The Mother's heartbeat can be as loud as a vacuum cleaner and ultra sounds as loud as a subway car arriving in a train station.We can try to mimic the womb-scape, imagining sounds being filtered through the body. We can use a hydrophone-a pressure microphone designed to be sensitive to soundwaves through fluid matter-on the abdomen to get an idea and sample for our wombscape.

(This is a sound work proposal for The Acoustics of Dwelling, a Sound Programme, however the audio work is attached to a two part paper:



The sound work:

Perhaps it would sound something like this…

Co-creating a dwelling place: sonic manifestation of the goddess

Author: Rajat Nayyar (Tallinn University, Estonia)  email

Short Abstract

Burps, more burps.

Hands begin to shake.

And ostentatious head rotation.

Devi arrives.

The audio showcases the collective process that a rural family undertook in order to invite the Devi (Goddess) to dwell within the body of the grandmother, who is also the most elderly figure in the family.

Long Abstract

Aaji, also commonly known as Ropani in Bhudwal village in Bihar, worked for the last 40 years in the paddy field. She used to follow her mother when she was alive and worked as a 'Ropani'. She wasn't interested in working in the paddy field as such, but in learning the songs that her mother used to sing while working. Ever since, aaji has made a home both in and through music.

She has three sons. All are married and have their own children. Two sons are away in Punjab working in a textile factory. Rest of the family lives together. For many years in the past, Aaji has suffered from depression, which could be due to the pressure of working in the field in order to survive. One day she was sent to a nearby spiritual healer, who transformed her and made her believe that Goddess (Devi) lives in a space that is free of negativity and depression. That moment, aaji decided to allow the Devi to become her. The whole family (and nearby villagers) felt the manifestation, bowed down to Aaji, sang and worshipped the Devi. This continues.

Aaji's body begins to show symptoms of this becoming. She starts to burp loudly, her hands begin to shake rapidly, head starts rotating ostentatiously and then a clap. Devi arrives. While the family, sings to the Devi.

This panel is closed to new paper proposals.