Sound Mapping Trough Time and Space

The German avant grade radio movement came into being when radio became possible. They considered sound as a medium with unique potential.

 “In the beginnings… every broadcast was an experiment, every production was an attempt to improve the quality of the sound, to find ways to balance music, sound effects and voice, to create and enhance illusion.” Soundplay p333

We know that sound establishes qualities about our environment in ways that image cannot. We hear distance, activity, communication, and nature combine to establish qualities of a space that makes us feel like we understand where we are. The concept of balancing to create illusion is analogous to balancing to create what we believe to be real.

“Radio art as acoustical art, a radical and short-lived breaking away from literary conventions that was to signal the debut of the avant grade tradition” p334

This desire to create aural dramatic experiences was based on the notion that sound could be used to evoke an emotional response in its own way, aside from text or image.

Arnheim’s Acoustic Bridge:” ‘By the disappearance of the visual, an acoustic bridge arises between all sounds: voices, whether connected with a stage scene or not, are now of the same flesh as recitation, discussion, song and music. What hitherto could exist only separately now fits organically together: the human being in the corporeal world talks with disembodies spirits, music meets speech on equal term’ ” p335

What if we erect an acoustical bridge in of contested spaces? What about the elements of sound fitting together can pave the way for a rethinking of space, and our ability to engage with how space is a pluralistic experience?

“Now stylized, sound effects could have a totally different structural function. Instead of motivating or compensating for the missing visual dimension, they could function symbolically to suspend the classical theatrical unities of time, place and action. Instead of contributing to an external verisimilitude, they could lead inward to realms of thought and emotion more characteristic of internalized monologues of prose fiction than the dialogues of drama.” p338

There is an opportunity to appeal to this inward realm when contested spaces are at issue. If theater is a way for us to play out scenarios in a space that is isolated from immediate real world consequence, what can we do with sound to accomplish the same thing? Can we run through the experience of being in more than one place at a time to change our relationship with contested spaces?

These are best experienced with headphones for stereo effect.

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Categories: Reflective Posts


I work as a digital media producer, am pursuing a masters in Media Studies at The New School, ride bicycles and mopeds, listen to lots of music, and maintain an unreasonably large book collection for the size of my Brooklyn apartment. Right now I'm developing research on teams of experts who come together to solve problems and create things. I'm interested in games, integrating multimedia in to unexpected aspects of life, and learning to do as many new things as possible.


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