The Materiality of Sound

All readers of this site should be familiar with the pioneering work of ethnomusicologist and musician Steve Feld, now based at the University of New Mexico, who has been making sustained explorations into the environment of sound through both his written work and his own recording practice for many years. Starting with the Bosavi of the Papua New Guinea rainforest, Feld has worked with many other sonic environments including bell ringers in Europe, and more recently has been working in Accra Ghana.
Feld has linked up with musicians and environmental activists to draw attention to the political landscape, cultural politics and commodification of sound
We are keen to get more sound work through this website and to explore the interface between sound and visual representation, and to explore the tactility and materiality of sound, particularly in the digital formats of electronic disseminations such as this blog…we look forward to hearing from any of you working on the boundaries of sound, vision and theorizing their material presences…

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3 Responses to The Materiality of Sound

  1. Patrick Laviolette (SVMC, Massey Univ.) October 1, 2007 at 8:37 pm #

    Just briefly to add to Haidy’s posting, those particularly interested in this area should also be familiar with the periodical ‘Soundscape: The Journal of Acoustic Ecology’ run out of Victoria, Australia.
    I’d like to single out one person’s work in particular here, Kumi Kato, because we will have the pleasure of hosting her as part of a Visual & Material Culture Forum at Massey in November. Kumi’s a lecturer in Japanese and Cultural Studies at the University of Queensland, Brisbane. She’s doing some interesting research on the materiality of sound and how the intangible senses harbour a potential for increased environmental awarness/concern. She has a chapter (‘Tuning in the world, listening to the ethics of being’) in a forthcoming book, the title of which is indicative of this revival in the world of soundscapes which I remember hearing was quite big in the 70s: ‘Hearing Places’ (eds) Duffy, M. Bandt, R. & D. McKinnon. Cambridge Scholars Press. Her website is:

  2. Raviv Ganchrow (TU Delft & The Institute of Sonology) October 15, 2007 at 12:00 pm #

    Sound and Space
    Maybe a point of interest for those of you addressing the “materiality of sound”: We have recently posted a call for papers centered around the questions of sound and space for an upcoming issue of the Dutch Architectural Journal, Oase.
    “What happens when space is examined in terms of frequencies, and conversely, how does our notion of sound reconfigure when it is broached in terms of physical sizes? The upcoming issue of Oase “immersed” will attempt to explore the overlap of ‘sound’ and ‘place’ by emphasizing the physical properties of sound in relation to the acoustic characteristics of architectural space.”
    Further information can be found at:

  3. Jo Tacchi, QUeensland University of Technology November 17, 2007 at 6:58 am #

    The journal Senses and Society has a few interesting articles on sound:
    Steve Ferzacca describes the making of kroncong music in Urban Indonesia as the ‘musicking’ of social life (2006 vol 1 (3)
    Michael Bull’s ‘Iconic Design: the Apple iPod’ vol 1 issue 1 2006 attempts to connect the ‘iconic’ design of the iPod with the soundscapes they create – ‘our cathedral of sound’. Kathleen Ferguson responds with the ‘anti-pod’ questioning the emotional response the i-Pod engendered (vol 1, issue 3).
    I notice a couple of papers on sound in the most recent issue also.

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