On extended, boundless, vibratory and in-the-now sympathy music


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(Jérôme Joy)
Étudiant Ph.D. En art audio et musique expérimentale, Université Laval Québec (CAN)
Locus Sonus – audio in art, groupe de recherche, http://locusonus.org/
Professeur à l'École Nationale Supérieure d'Art de Bourges, France
joy(at)thing.net, support(at)locusonus.org

PhD art audio & musique expérimentale (audio art & experimental music), Université Laval Québec, 2014. (Unpublished)

In Symposium #8 Locus Sonus, Audio Mobility, École Supérieure d’Art d'Aix en Provence, École Nationale Supérieure d'Art de Bourges, LAMES MMSH Université Aix-Marseille, Seconde Nature Aix en Provence, Fondation Vasarely Aix en Provence, et Accord-Cadre CNRS / Ministère de la Culture.
(En cours de publication / forthcoming)


We shape the environment that shapes us. What we discern as an auditorium and a listening space is now overlapping the specific physical structures and architecture (concert halls, venues, etc.) towards enlarged sensory enveloping forms. It appears as a hybridisation of actions and spaces where tactics such as collective-driven, individual weavings, embedding mobility and spaces/places visits, and so on each contribute to the everyday experience. When we collaborate and oscillate with the environment, within mobility, by modulating and interacting with sonic expanses and continuities of the properties of the places, the experiencing of a spatial and acoustic space is still characterised and assessed by the perception and the feeling of a 'certain' homogeneity and intermediacy, and of a co-presence to 'something' or 'someone': that defines an action of tuning with that is radiating and coming to us. It is not merely a question of placings and of trajectories of isolated presences and bodies in space and immersed together or lonesome into an environment (visual, sonic, animated, landscape, ambiance, venue, concert hall, at home, with earphones, etc.). It is to listen more than what we hear. It is continuous and immediate actions of attention, in mobility or mobilised, of lithe, flexible, and absentminded exchanges and weavings with the fields of the sensible and with mobile / immobile reality (the moves, the rythms, and also the oscillations between the « possible » and the « real »). That corresponds to aesthetic, experiential situations, creative and participative spatialisation experiences. We need to explore and to consider a larger auditorium we're modulating and playing.


Nous façonnons le monde qui nous façonne. Ce que nous distinguons en tant qu'auditorium et espace d'écoute dépasse aujourd'hui les architectures et structures spécifiques (les salles de concerts par exemple) et permet d'envisager ces notions et les pratiques qui les animent dans des dimensions de l'ordre de formes enveloppantes sensitives et perceptives. Ces aspects et ces opérations présents dans nos expériences quotidiennes, c'est-à-dire dans des mobilités continuelles, couvrent une certaine hybridité comprenant à la fois nos actions et la perception d'espaces. Ils apparaissent comme des nœuds et des tactiques de cheminements, de visites et de trajets à la fois conduits collectivement (avec les co-présents) et individuellement (se frayer un rythme dans une polyrythmie environnante). Quand nous collaborons et ainsi oscillons avec l'environnement, au sein de la mobilité, par les modulations et interactions avec les étendues sonores (les sons qui viennent vers nous) et les continuités perçues dans les lieux traversés, faire l'expérience d'un espace acoustique reste caractérisé et évalué par la perception et le "sentir" d'une certaine homogénéité et intermédiarité, et d'une co-présence à quelque chose ou à quelqu'un : ceci définit les actions de syntonisation avec ce qui rayonne et vient vers nous. Il s'agit moins d'une question de positions, de placements et de trajectoires de présences et de corps isolés ou immergés ensemble dans un environnement (visuel, sonore, animé, paysage, ambiance, salle, ou encore dans une écoute domestique ou ambulatoire équipé d'un casque d'écoute). Il s'agit d'écouter plus que ce qu'on entend. Ce sont des actions continues et immédiates d'attention, dans la mobilité ou en étant mobilisé, aux échanges et tramages souples, flexibles et distraits avec le sensible et avec la réalité mobile / immobile (les mouvements, les rythmes, et également les oscillations entre le "possible" et le "réel").
Ceci correspond à des situations esthétiques et expérientielles et à des expériences participatives de spatialisation. Nous avons besoin d'explorer et d'envisager un plus large auditorium que nous modulons et jouons.

1. Introduction(Edit)

My research since few years focuses on the notion of 'auditorium' and how it cannot remain untouched and unscathed in a digital and networked age i.e. that we have to explore the subtle difference between what is 'producing' an auditorium and what 'is' an auditorium. In this way, we have to distinguish how these spaces and systems dedicated to listening are shaped by music and art works (what are the musics and works that occur here?) and vice versa; and to examine how music and art works involve and engage listening practices in new spatial and temporal conditions (what types of listening are mobilised?) What we discern as a listening space for production and reception of music and for sound propagation in space and in time is now overlapping the specific physical structures and architecture (concert halls, venues, esplanades, etc.) towards enlarged and invisible sensible & sensory enveloping forms beyond of the perimeters of our sensorium and perception: from environmental milieux, ambiances, atmospheres and membranes to internet auditoriums and larger invisible listening structures, as transparent and emerging as they are.

We have to examine those 'spaces': their architectural filiation with places and rooms, their plasticity and ductility for being built, planned, settled and landscaped for listening, their ability to locate and seize listeners and to be explored by sound productions designed to be listened to. It would be interesting to explore hidden forms of sound and musical structuring. That is why the author is opening several assumptions crossing both musical and sound production and 'manufacturing' (music composing, interpreting, playing), reception and perception (the listening), the presence and co-presence in the spaces and places for audiences, sociotechnical arrangements that allow interconnections between these actions, operations, and members of an audience, all being perceived as coherent, seamless, and homogeneous (that is producing an 'auditorium').

Actually, along my various studies, it appears that the listener and an audience are always participating to the sound propagation and to the listening place whatever the design and nature of what we distinguish as an auditorium. The act of listening and to manufacture listenings is to activate and to listen to a space and to have consciousness of the space around. This research involves what the author considers as an extended music for expanded and expanding auditoriums (idiomatic music for correlated and 'tuned' spaces and for attuned members of audiences to a homogeneous and co-constituted set, as virtual and intangible as it is, in which they feel to be co-present and to participate 'in space' and 'in time') and the expected development of a music 'by' environment, based on and structured by impact and feedback of spaces: when music and environment are intermingled, collaborate together, and both oscillate. Thus such as attuned listeners we could explore an idiomatic music and new aesthetic experiences both based on properties of sound propagation in acoustic networked, tuned and connected spaces.

You may understand that the notion of mobility is not at the very core of my research. But because the auditorium could be considered as perceived spaces where sound is propagating with some constraints and for obtaining certain (acoustic and aesthetic) effects, and because its structure has continuously moved along the music history and the history of architectural listening buildings from rooms where listeners are maintained in a certain disposition (body, attention, and so on) to spaces where the audience can move, choose a listening point, trajectory or itinerary and visit the space, plasticity and ductility are new aspects of what we understand and consider as an 'auditorium'. Thus questions involved in the notion of mobility (of the audience, of members of the audience, of elements of the space) certainly imply modifications of aspects of these auditoriums. To landscape an auditorium, beyond the boundaries of our sensorium, requires to map, sound and probe a space, a milieu, an environment, and a combination of spaces dedicated to the listening and to organisations and interactions between listeners. For my today presentation and in order to test the question of mobility in the listening, I'll rely on three examples: Akio Suzuki's works, Hugh Davies's and Karlheinz Stockhausen's approaches about intuitive music, and a brief approach of the environmental aesthetics about 'grasping' the environment or fluctuating elements into an environment. This study is exploratory in nature and not very stable, but maybe it can open some assumptions about the topic of this symposium.

2. Visiting and weaving within sonic expanses(Edit)

Akio Suzuki as a Japanese composer, artist and inventor of instruments, is interested in the use of the echo phenomenon that gives us a strong sense of place. His performance works play with richly layered and simple resonances, delays, echoes and overtones that emerge “as a sound exploration of the environment based on the progressive acceptance of natural melodic phenomena”[1]. While discovering new methods of listening, he's exploring various processes of “throwing” and “following” based on the principles of call and echo for an investigation of places by constructing a topography of sound, and “taking the natural world as his collaborator” (Suzuki).

“The echo is the perfect example of the temporal continuum of nature. An echo brings the actions of the past into the present (for what is an echo but the mountains responding through repetition?), but also prepares for the future. It is a type of being-in-the-moment, which contains all sonic time.”[2]

Since 1996, Suzuki is developing a specific work based on listening: Oto-date (echo point or listening point). These works, without using sound conceived by Suzuki, or while being 'soundless', question both sound perception and musical situation: how past and mundane experiences of members of the audience could reconstruct new experiences in the now? Akio Suzuki’s Oto-date plate marks and draws attention to a special place (and chosen spaces of transit) for listening in nature, urban space, or a building, and finally focuses on listening to everyday situations. The Oto-date plate shows a pictogram of human footprints and ears: the artist proposes and plans a route by designating and selecting 'audial' points located at places with extraordinary acoustic and atmospheric features that invite the visitor to listen to. These works join other works by Max Neuhaus (Listen, 1966-68) and Peter Ablinger (Listening Piece in four parts, 2001). The passers-by are invited to discover a new sensation, perception and emotion, and finally a new way to inhabit, affect and perceive the surrounding space-time continuum, by staying, in an unusual attitude, for some time motionless in a specific location. This intimate understanding of the place puts our body at the crossing of sonic expanses that propagate to us and are within our reach, and such as a component of a moment and a structure of the environment.

“Nature was my teacher. I would immerse myself in the surrounding environment and play around with natural sound phenomenons. For example, I would go to the mountainside or shout across the valley and listen to the way the sound came back. My interest in natural echoes then led me to start thinking about an instrument that could also create that kind of sound.”[3]

A few years ago, I had the opportunity to follow and to participate in a sound performance by Akio Suzuki during a festival on an island near Hong Kong. A part of this festival took place in a bay of the island surrounded by mountains and a lush vegetation: Tung O on Lamma Island. Suzuki has proposed a collective soundwalk, such as a procession or a wandering, starting from the shore to the mountainside through dense forest passages. I wrote in a former article some descriptions concerning out-in-the-open music comparing to “shakkei”, a analogical way of gardening the listening and weaving in sonic environments[4]: The event by Suzuki is able to simultaneously alter our participation as listeners and our perception of what music is made of, between what it is to receive those played sounds and what it is that constitutes the played sounds themselves. Akio Suzuki creates wakes of sounds that we follow during an aimless stroll. Successive sounds of stones banged together by the performer reverberate as we walk on the more or less reflective surfaces of the environment, along the narrow path crossing a grass area, then a small hamlet of houses built close together then entering an emerging forest under a canopy. To play sounds while wandering across different spaces (and fluxes) involves the transmitted sounds successively lighting up echoing acoustics. Our wandering follows the furrow and “groove”, without having to record or read a preliminary sound. It creates the impression of audio filtering as distances between transmission and reception increase and decrease, as sounds leave and then return from the surfaces of the spaces reverberated and reflected. In some respects, this is reminiscent of the practice of ambulatory lighting as it stimulates and explores acoustic spaces thorough the soundscape. What is already there becomes real through our wandering movement and the distances we establish between things. The interpretation of these perceptible spaces, either occasionally or as something more regular, involves seizing the opportunity of the moment and the place, making what is already there manifests through its multiple fragments and variations, as if they were so many coloured and tinted planes and volumes. These kinds of perception profoundly and permanently alter the topography: the road and the landscape are more complex than they seemed to be at first. At the same time, we both lose our way and discover new landmarks. This art of manufacturing the space of remote listening encounters, by analogy, another art: shakkei. In Japanese tradition, shakkei (which literally means “borrowed scenery”) refers to the subtle practice of gardening considered as a technique of perception, construction and interpretation of the reality (and of collaboration with the exterior world). It corresponds to what is called mitate (“see like”) and, if taken into the acoustic field could be translated as ototate (a term surprisingly close to that of Oto date, which designates the listening station works by Akio Suzuki). This form and experience of listening, that we must direct, modulate and adapt ourselves, with intuition, improvisation and composition with the environment, will remain in all likelihood partial and wandering, yet which nevertheless has the capacity to profoundly altering our perception of our environments and, ultimately, the world itself while being in immersion into it. This process of manufacturing — effectively the establishment of an auditorium — collaborates with the environment and experiments with acoustic expanses, between strategies of minimum and maximum saturation and intensification of acoustic spaces (“merging into the surroundings”); it modifies, to repeat, our ways of perceiving and enables us to participate, evaluate and modulate “together” the very listening experience that is being constructed.

As Suzuki plays with the wind and echoing surfaces, and the sound qualities of places in nature and architectural spaces while being immersed in the surrounding environment, this example can help us to have a better approach of how we're playing with our milieux (towards a sort of mesology) and with co-presents perceived into these milieux.

What is important through Suzuki's works is, beyond the visual, what is perceptible and perceived, and beyond that we grasp at first (aspects of the landscape and the soundscape, even if they last), that what comes to us comes together in time (sounds emerge and propagate together). What we might characterize as an environment is both diffuse and intense, solid and fluid, opaque and transparent. It is not only the product of hearing (and vision), but of intensification, since we are interacting in it. In turn, the philosopher François Jullien points out, the notion of complicity[5]. If Da Vinci described us how to paint what is at a distance and in motion, and how to paint the wind[6], it would be difficult for him to tell us how to paint while being in mobility and interaction.

Da Vinci, Teatrise on Painting (ca. 1520), p. 201
De Vinci, Traité de la Peinture (ca. 1520), p. 295

Akio Suzuki, Oto-date
Akio Suzuki, Oto-date, Torino, 2006

Akio Suzuki, Oto-date, Torino, 2006
Akio Suzuki, Oto-date, Torino, 2006

Akio Suzuki, Oto-date, Sentier des Lauzes, 2004
Akio Suzuki, Oto-date, Sentier des Lauzes, 2004

Akio Suzuki, performance, Tung O and Motat village, Soundpocket Festival, Hong Kong, 2009

Max Neuhaus, Listen, 1966-68
Peter Ablinger, Listening Piece in four parts, 2001

3. Modulating into the environment(Edit)

The way of modulating and syntonizing into an environment could correspond to ways of improvising in music. For this and at the occasion of this article, I'm going to explore notions of intuitive music and environmental music as they were investigated by Stockhausen and Davies, specifically in Mikrophonie I realized in 1964-65 (a work based on sound exploration of an instrument). I discover by chance that Hugh Davies, an English composer who was musical assistant of Karlheinz Stockhausen, and was involved in several musical and art projects in the 70s and 80s (Gentle Fire (1968-75) — featured Davies, Richard Orton, Graham Hearn, Stuart Jones, Richard Bernhas and Michael Robinson —, Naked Software, Music Improvisation Company (1968-71), Artist Placement Group, EMS Electronic Music Studio), has realized a piece in 1974 which took place not so far from here: Sounds Heard at la Sainte-Baume. Very few documentation about that work is right now available and accessible (except in his book released in 2003 about home-made instruments and thus anticipating Nicolas Collins's book)[7], but by referring to recent papers by Julian Cowley and James Mooney, we can point out that Davies realized Sounds Heard in a very close way to Suzuki's performance at Tung O Beach and his Oto-date works:

“In July 1974 in southern France, English sound artist Hugh Davies ... wrote Sounds Heard at La Sainte-Baume, a text comprising seven invitations to listen. One advocates standing on the highest mountain peak, listening to the shrill calls of swifts in their rapid convoluted flight. Another commends listening to the loud and varied songs of crickets. The seventh proposes listening to the echoes produced by two stones struck together, in regular rhythms at different speeds, in a small secluded valley high up in the mountains, surrounded by rock on all sides.”[8]

One month ago, at the same place, and for the second edition of the festival organised by the Centre International de Sainte-Baume en Provence, Davies performed also (with Gentle Fire, and after the former shows in Liege on September 1972 and in La Rochelle in 1973) Alphabet für Liege by Stockhausen, a series of connected instrumental and vocal works about harmonization between music, humans and spaces.

At that time both Davies and Stockhausen were involved in environmental listening, improvisation and indeterminacy, new instruments, and audio art and installations. But my today interest would to focus on the notion of intuitive music first developed by Stockhausen[9] and re-interpreted by Davies. To examine intuitive music and its correspondences and differences with free improvisation could help us to distinguish specific manners of deliberated decisions and participations based on interactions, synchronisations, and responses we're engaging with an evolving sonic environment, organisation and with co-presences. Briefly and without diving into details that are otherwise very interesting, we could summarize the distinction between free improvisation that is based on personalities (of the individual performers) and on their respective background, training, and playing (and stylistic) technique, that each one of the performers might use to react and interact with others and with forms and music that emerge; and intuitive music based on common sets of rules (even if details are not described) followed and interpreted by everyone and by each personality in order to participate to the emerging form: to an “environment in which our own group musical personality has a chance to resonate.”[10]

It's a question of balance between what is predictable and unpredictable, premeditated and un-premeditated. But what I want to point out is another difference we can find in intuitive music: the difference between a “process plan” (by the use of written rules, symbolic notations, or specific instrumental or technological configurations) and a “people process” (in such a way that the musical personalities of the performers are incorporated into the compositional fabric, and are allowed to shape the musical form as it emerges, using descriptions of the interaction and ensemble characteristics of playing together)[11]. Michael Parsons says: “it is only necessary to specify one procedure and the variety comes from the way everyone does it differently [in the sense of natural individual differences, rather than talents or abilities].”[12]

Mikrophonie I by Stockhausen and works by Gentle Fire and Davies illustrate this distinction. “Mikrophonie I is a piece that involves six performers. Two performers strike, scrape, or otherwise excite the surface of a tam-tam —a large circular Chinese gong in this case 155 centimetres in diameter— using a range of beaters, bows and other implements. A further two performers have hand-held microphones which they move around throughout the piece, following detailed graphical instructions in the score that describe the distance between the microphone and the surface of the tam-tam, and the position of the microphone relative to the site of excitation. What the listener hears, then, is a combination of natural tam-tam sounds and sounds constantly modified through the dynamic use of microphones, filters and potentiometers. The overall purpose of the work, Stockhausen says, is to “discover the micro-world of the acoustic vibrations, amplify it and transform it electronically”[13].

“Exploration of timbre with the mediation of microphones is also a characteristic central to Gentle Fire’s Group Compositions III and IV (both 1971), which utilize custom-built instruments. [...] This comprised three welded metal grid structures —like wrought-iron gates or oven grills— measuring about 1.5 meters squared[14]. These were suspended from a stand or from the ceiling, allowing the structure to resonate[15]. [...] The exploration of otherwise inaudible sound vibrations through amplification is, it turns out, a defining characteristic of many of Davies’s self-built musical instruments.”[16]

In Mikrophonie I, the microphone(s) is an instrument to probe and explore (with the help of a score) potentials of a space, an environment, and actions, and in Gentle Fire's and Davies's performances and works, the instrument is the score —thus following assertions by Gordon Mumma and David Tudor (Rainforest 1968-73, for instance): the circuit becomes the score—:

“Group Compositions III and IV use an instrument which we’ve all contributed to and built, and the instrument is the score of what we’re playing” (Gentle Fire). Thus we could quote also Malcolm Goldstein, an American improviser: it is “not pieces of music; but, rather, people making music.”[17]

At this step, the question is: when we're modulating (intuitively, even if it's a complex task of trying of understand what it means in practice) by listening, individually or collectively, into an environment, how our decisions are vectorised, magnetised, or attracted by responses, impacts on, and interactions with the environment? And, in parallel, when does the environment become the score?

Montagne de la Sainte-Baume
Hugh Davies, Shozyg, 1969

Karlheinz Stockhausen, Mikrophonie I, 1966
Karlheinz Stockhausen, Mikrophonie I, 1966
Karlheinz Stockhausen, Mikrophonie I, Metz, nov. 1973

4. Tuning the environment(Edit)

Listening to an environment appears as an operation of hybridisation of actions and spaces in everyday experience with tactics such as collective-driven modulations in space and in time, embedding listeners' mobility and spaces/places visits, when the audience becomes the inverse of a crowd, and so on. Our assumption is that these operative processes of asynchronic & synchronic attachments to places, to moments and to the now, are landscaping a 'sensorium' while keeping characteristics of an 'auditorium' where arrangements of listeners are identifiable, recognizable and flexible. The experiencing of a spatial and acoustic space is characterised and assessed by the perception and the feeling of a 'certain' homogeneity and intermediacy, and of a co-presence to 'something' or 'someone': that defines an action of tuning with that is radiating and coming to us.

Our research about auditoriums (Internet auditoriums, Earth-Mars auditorium) is more based on actions and operations of synchronicities (synchronisation, de-synchronisation, re-synchronisation), of 'tuning' (in French: syntonisation), and of temporal organisation and (architectural) structuring, than on descriptions of the chaining of spaces and times such as a factual extension of our listening places and mobility. Thus these operations we're already acting into our current and existing ways to listening to music and to everyday and mundane sound environments in ordinary experience and situations, rely on actions of modulations and of listening positions and dispositions face to emerging sonic states and dynamics (and also used in urban planning, architectural acoustics and in most of loudness-based music works): filtering (with our bodies and by moving according to sound reflections on surfaces), masking (hidden and emerging sounds because of their simultaneity), cut out effects (transition from an ambience or an atmosphere to another one), amplification (the strengthened sounds for increasing their propagation in comparison to background noise and a sonic ambiance), partial listening (by selecting into seemingly unlimited and unceasing sonic processes and productions), listening by wake (by following specific sonic dynamic appearances and rythms into an environment), and so on. It is not merely a question of placings and of trajectories of isolated presences and bodies in space and immersed together or lonesome into an environment (visual, sonic, animated, landscape, ambiance, venue, concert hall, at home, with earphones, etc.). It is to listen more than what we hear. It is continuous and immediate actions of attention, in mobility or mobilised, of lithe, flexible, and absentminded exchanges and weavings with the fields of the sensible and with mobile / immobile reality (the moves, the rythms, and also the oscillations between the 'possible' and the 'real'). This occurs in the followup adaptations into the moving[18] (by sympathy, by intuition, inadvertently and unintentionally, by anticipation, etc.)[19] —that reminds our development about intuitive music—, and in the dynamic constructions by the perception and the interpersonal interactions and those with the outer[20].

The production of continuities (there is no more separation between us and the outside[21]) is persistent and remanent. That corresponds to aesthetic, experiential situations, creative and participative spatialisation experiences. We're acting into our environments (and interacting with them) and we're engaging at any time and everywhere aesthetics experience[22]. In a larger sense these characteristics could imply notions of environmental aesthetics and of ambient aesthetics.

We discover in the aesthetic perception of environment the reciprocity, indeed the continuity of forces in our world —those generated by human action and those to which we must respond. ... Person and environment are continuous. .” [23] [24]

Similarly, we could say that, in perception, we are shaping the world that shapes us. By our moves and our listening we're filtering and modulating and tuning with the sonic environment constituted by sound expanses (that come and flow toward us, and that we continuously cross and criss-crossing) even if they are coming from remote or absent sources. At the same time we're tuning 'idiorrythmically'[25] with other listeners and actors who we perceive the co-presence of in space (togetherness).

This series of studies included those of Thibaud, Böhme and Berleant (among others) gives us the scope and the magnitude of such a chaining of questions related to the reality manufactured by our perception and to our understanding of and reactivity facing the outer world by listening.

The notion of 'ecotone'[26], as an interstitial space for expanses, and if we transpose this term in acoustics and sound research fields, relies on two principles: that of continuity (recurrences, structural aspects, organicity) and that of discontinuity (fortuitous events, unexpected saliences, signal losses and cuts), that both operate on our listening (to music or to environments or to background noise). As we have seen, the sense of 'tuning' and of modulation in space and time from us as listener(s) is relying on our reaction to and interaction with (and our perceptions of) formal and informal lines or elements into sound environments and a fortiori in music (this is relevant in experimental music, for instance: improvisation music, noise music, generative music, etc.). That joins other in-progress studies the author is leading related to music based on sound intensity (loudness), delay and decay —that will surely open reflections on the use of duration in music or better to say on music listening duration and music production that does not corresponding to music duration, as an attempt to approach a music constituted by interactions and modulations with, and immersions into the environment— that the author considers as 'extended music' (or music for sonic expanses)[27].

Finally this also concerns music collaborations with environments beyond today's current practice of field recordings and of phonographies in order to heighten other facets of aesthetic experience with music and listening. That is, to modulate and oscillate with the surroundings and audio streams for having a more sensitive experience without predication, expectation and preferences into a vast sonic space[28] —instead of always being based on 'events' vs 'non-events' distinction and inventory (of what exists in space and in places and bore by a discourse on space and by representational conception) and on naturalism and realistic perspectives (vs noise, density and saturation)—. Our perceptions of background noise and sonic scenery are certainly essential comparing sound saliences and figures that we distinguish and separate as 'events' and sonic signals. Actually these perceptions often neglected (in music for instance) help us to better 'sense' the space around us —as if the space was 'musicalised' and continually offered aesthetic experiences (physical, social, situational, contextual, environmental, etc.)—. We experience the fact to be a part of the environment: how our bodies are immersed into the environment (and blend into the background) and how our systems combine and collaborate with it. The ruggedness of space (present in its responses and animation, and in intensity and density thereof) combined with its ductility (mobile and evolving shapes and forms) and with its capacity to accommodate and to feed fortuitous, incidental and temporary sounds, provides occasions of production of this sense/ation that could be interesting to compare it with (musical) emotion we feel, beyond any effect of expression. It provides also occasions for an idiomatic music: a work 'by environment', i.e. a work that collaborates with it and whose elements and conditions is dependant on interactions with and responses from the environment(s), the context, the milieu, and the (eco)-system(s) that generate it. Our listening spaces are less places of contemplation than places of participation in, of action and engagement into, and of improvisation with these surroundings (as an aesthetic and artistic involvement).


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  1. http://www.bv33.org/, Borgovico33, Como (Italia), 2006. Accessed on April 13, 2014.
  2. Kennedy, “Akio Suzuki asks us to stop and to listen to the world.”
  3. Suzuki, interviewed by Millie Walton, AV Festival 14 Extraction, Newcastle, March 2014, http://www.port-magazine.com/music/av-festival-14-extraction-akio-suzuki/
  4. Joy, “Extended Music – Out in the Open,” 2010; “Auditoria and Audiences,” 2009.
  5. Jullien, Vivre de Paysage ou L'impensé de la Raison. 215.
  6. Da Vinci, Teatrise on Painting. 201.
  7. Davies. Sounds Heard: A Potpourri of Environmental Projects and Documentation, Projects with Children, Simple Musical Instruments, Sound Installations, Verbal Scores, and Historical Perspectives; And also: Collins, Handmade Electronic Music: The Art of Hardware Hacking.
  8. Cowley, “Annotations for Sound Art.”
  9. Stockhausen, “Intuitive Music.”
  10. Gentle Fire. Radio interview, 1973.
  11. Mooney, “Technology, Process and Musical Personality in the Music of Stockhausen, Hugh Davies and Gentle Fire.”; And also: Nyman, Experimental Music: Cage and Beyond. p.6.'
  12. Michael Parsons, quoted in Nyman, Experimental Music: Cage And Beyond.
  13. Maconie, Stockhausen, Lectures and Interviews, compiled by Robin Maconie. p.87; And also: Mooney, Ibid.
  14. Gentle Fire.Radio broadcast, 1973.
  15. Davies, “Gentle Fire: An Early Approach to Live Electronic Music.”
  16. Mooney. Ibid.
  17. Goldstein, Sounding the Full Circle. 10.
  18. Bergson. La Pensée et le Mouvant (The Creative Mind: An Introduction to Metaphysics). 144-76.
  19. Schütz. “Making music together : a study in social relationship.”
  20. “The rhythmanalyst will not be obliged to leap from the inside to the outside of the bodies he observes; he should be able to succeed in listening to them together and allying them, by taking his own rhythms as a reference: by integrating the inside to the outside and vice-versa […].” Lefebvre. Éléments de rythmanalyse. Introduction à la connaissance des rythmes. 32-33; and also: Lefebvre, Rhythmanalysis: Space, time and everyday life.
  21. Berleant. The Aesthetics of Environment. 4.
  22. Berleant, Ibid., 11.
  23. Berleant, Ibid.. 4; See also: Thibaud, “The City through the Senses”; Augoyard, “Vers une esthétique des ambiances” (Towards an Aesthetics of Ambiances), 17-34; Böhme, “Acoustic Atmospheres: A Contribution to the Study of Ecological Aesthetics,” 15. Böhme, “The art of the stage set as paradigm for an aesthetics of atmospheres.”
  24. “Berleant argues that aesthetic experience begins with the environment (both natural and humanly modified environments) and extends to art.” (Brady, “Environmental Aesthetics,” 313-21).
  25. Roland Barthes developed the concept of 'idiorrythmy' to express a possible way of living together, for instance in space, that preserved individual rhythms (withing a group) and a fluctuating balance between them and a communal rhythm. (Barthes, Comment vivre ensemble. Cours et séminaires au Collège de France, 1976–1977; and also: Barthes, How to Live Together: Novelistic Simulations of Some Everyday Spaces). In addition, Henri Lefebvre, following Gaston Bachelard, defined the issue of rhythmanalysis: it is to study and understand the polyrhythm, being attuned to the world, to explain what is occurring in places. (Lefebvre, Éléments de rythmanalyse; and also: Lefebvre, Rhythmanalysis: Space, time and everyday life).
  26. An ecotone is a transition and contact area between two ecosystems or biomes. This term was created by A. G. Tansley (“The use and abuse of vegetationnal concepts and Terms.” 299) and precised by G.L. Clarke (Elements of Ecology).
  27. To extend the research by Chris Chafe (Network Delay Studies, and Internet Acoustics: series of papers), Pauline Oliveros (“Echoes from the Moon”), Pedro Rebelo (“Netrooms The Long Feedback, a participatory network piece” and “Nethalls”), Atau Tanaka and Kasper T. Toeplitz (“The Global String”; and also: Atau Tanaka and Bert Bongers. “Global String – A Musical Instrument for Hybrid Space”), etc.; Other references are: Nicolas Collins (“Pea Soup” and “Roomtone Variations”), Gordon Mumma (“Hornpipe”), Hugh Davies (“Quintet”), etc.
  28. “The question of the dissipation of music has to do with how much of the experience of music in that very strong fundamental sense might be dissipated by a number of things” ("An artist of the auditory sounds off on the world of sounds"). Interview of Francisco Lopez by Todd L. Burns, Red Bull Music Academy, Matadero, Madrid, 2011. The Dissipation of Music is an in-progress essay by Francisco Lopez. Also: “I believe in expanding and transforming our concept of music through nature (and through 'non-nature') .” (Lopez, “Profound Listening and Environmental Sound Matter.” 82-87).

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