September 21, 2017

Site-specificity and sonic urbanism

Photo: Chappelle Charbon, Alexandra Lacroix
Photo: Chappelle Charbon, Alexandra Lacroix

This workshop is part of a series of Atelier TM meetings, under the Collège d’études mondiales Global Cities chair, bringing together practitioners and researchers from the fields of sound and urbanism.

Date: Thursday 21st September 2017, 2-5pm
Location: Fondation Maison des sciences de l’homme, Paris
Speakers: Richard Sennett, John Bingham-Hall, Marta Gentilucci, Alexandra Lacroix

In May and June 2017, two meetings of Atelier TM asked “what is a sociable acoustic?” By heightening our awareness of, and also performing sound, participants experienced different sonic qualities urban space as social potentials. This served as a starting point for discussion about the relationship between the noise of the city, aspects of musical structure, and urban sociality. Several ideas emerged for different ways that performed sound can be a tool for embodied understanding of urban/social space, and inversely how thinking in a specific urban/social context can open different approaches within the creation of sound, in music or otherwise. A continuing series of monthly meetings throughout 2017 will investigate, practically and conceptually, specific ways that elements of music embody and reconfigure social relations, following the threads that emerged in the first two sessions: idiorrhythmy, amplification, porosity, silence, and so on.

In this session, two presentations will form the starting points for discussion about the potential for music to reconfigure the socio-spatial characteristics of place, and the problems of site-specificity.

Richard Sennett & John Bingham-Hall
With the Chappelle Charbon site explored in the previous sessions as a focus, the spatial typologies of the border and boundary will be interpreted as sonic conditions. This leads into a wider discussion of whether sonic intervention, through performance, can act as an urban design strategy to change the workings of a space and its boundary conditions. It also raises a debate about the problematics of site-specificity as a strategy in performance, between the contextuality and universality of music.

Marta Gentilucci & Alexandra Lacroix
Responding to the spatial problematics raised in the previous presentation, artistic questions will be raised about intervening in a space through site-specific music: what elements of a space can be incorporated into performance?; what are the implications of different ways of staging the relationship between performers, spectators, and site?; what kind of citizens are audience members and producers in a performance in public?; how much ‘artificial’ sonic and physical material, not native to a place, can be introduced?