Active Listening Sites
The physical configuration of the built environment generates a wide spectrum of acoustic effects. Even while they usually remain unnoticed, these acoustic phenomena actively support our orientation in the city and provide a sense of place.
For the exhibition, we have assembled an inventory of urban auditory situations illustrating some of these effects in the vicinity of the architecture forum. We provide a visitor of these places with instructions that facilitate awareness of these effects and decode the underlying interaction between the physical environment and the soundscape. By contrasting these situations with videos of similar situations in other cities around the world, we show shared principles and seek answers to questions such as: why do some urban spaces seem to attract or repel us? What information is being offered to our senses, what information gets lost?
We want to initiate a conversation about the soundscape as a shared, collectively owned resource, its synesthetic interactions and atmospheric elements. Stadtmusik scrutinizes the role of public space as a space of performance that provides a frame through its structures and inter-dependencies.
all images (c) senseable city lab 2011
dust serenade at MIT museum
Markus Decker, Dietmar Offenhuber, Orkan Telhan
‘Dust Serenade‘ is a reenactment of an acoustic experiment done by German physicist August Kundt. Inspired by the Chladni’s famous sand figures visualizing sound waves in solid materials, Kundt devised an experiment for visualizing longitudinal sound waves through fine lycopodium dust; a setup that would allow him to measure the speed of sound in different gases.
Kundt was a strong believer in experimental methods over purely theoretical inquiry in a time when the disciplines of theoretical and experimental physics started to diverge.
‘Dust Serenade’ intends to remind us the materiality of sound. Tubes filled with scraps of words and letters–cut-up theory–interact with sound waves and turn into figures of dust. Here, visitors can modulate the frequency of the sound emitted by moving a rod and create different harmonic sound effects. As sound waves figure, refigure, and disfigure the text, we invite visitors to rethink about the tension between their theorical knowlegde and the sensory experience.
Dust Serenade is one of a series of interactive sound projects that enable visitors to experience the physical aspects of sound, presence, and atmosphere. Works in the series have been shown at the Ars Electronica Festival in Linz, Zagreb, Istanbul and São Paulo.
The project was funded by the Council for the Arts at MIT and the Austrian Federal Ministry for Education, Arts and Culture (BMUKK)