Saturday, November 08, 2008

Kim Cascone: the grain of the auditory field

Kim Cascone on diffusing field recordings outside of a performance space:

[...] Everyday auditory fields are complex aggregations, pools of sound, local and asynchronous interlocking fields of cyclic patterns; loosely intersecting, meshing and mixing into a contiguous background. The local habits and routines of people fuse into a rhythmic din, a tapestry woven from minute activities. Sounds are shaped into a seemingly random structure; we hear but don't listen to it.

[...] Each smaller zone of noise forms an aural or auditory field that we circumscribe with a perceptual horizon. If we were able to zoom out and see an acoustic map we would see many smaller fields intersecting with one another. There are no acoustic walls or boundaries in an open space. We store these structures as acoustic mementos or snapshots in time.

[...] This led to the idea of creating a new field in an existing field by diffusing sounds already present or by adding new unexpected sounds. By using an array of speakers placed in strategic positions within a field one could diffuse sounds and move them in space.

[...] One solution would be to borrow from the practice of acousmatic diffusion and diminish the role of the artist by physically locating them somewhere where they wouldn't be visible. Another way to prevent bracketing is to not announce it as an event with a location and start time. This way the people who visit the space would be in their usual non-linear listening mode for that environment and receive any sounds heard as being part of the soundscape.

[...] If the growing movement of field recording makes its focus the sublimity of the auditory field then work needs to progress on not falling into formulaic formats because they are standard and easy to interface with. If field recording is to escape the ghetto of sound souvenir or audio puzzle then break the habits which end up relying on technology to make it interesting.
Auditory fields are not music and by trying to present them as such we end up depleting them of their grain and deadening their soul, leaving little of value to share with the listener.

[excerpts from ‘the grain of the auditory field’ - pdf - by Kim Cascone]

Field diffusion

[via kitchenbudapest]

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