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5/20/2010Blesser-Salter © Aural Architecture Contributes to the Experience of Space and Place Dr. Barry Blesser Dr. Linda-Ruth Salter
5/20/2010Blesser-Salter © Part I: Sensing Your Location Where are you now? How do you know? How do you feel? Where do you want to be? We will provide the concepts that answer these questions from an aural perspective.
5/20/2010Blesser-Salter © Inside a Physical and Social Space
5/20/2010Blesser-Salter © Sensory Deprivation: Spaceless
5/20/2010Blesser-Salter © Senses Determine Your Location Senses have different properties: Area of coverage Duration and time Transport mechanism Source that can be sensed Robust or fragile Cognitive fusing of sensory contributions
5/20/2010Blesser-Salter © Sensory Anthropology Hausa cultures view of senses Functional definition, not biology Cultural relativism You are how you live Cognitive strategies of preference
5/20/2010Blesser-Salter © Uniqueness of Sound Flows around obstacles, into openings Reveals the interior state of objects Requires action energy to create Contains time sequence, never static Can radiate over distance Multiple sources overlap No respect for private property
5/20/2010Blesser-Salter © Uniqueness of Hearing More than for music and speech Evolutionary optimization for survival Echolocation among many species Control of direction of visual focus No ear-lids, involuntary access Emotional connection to people Broadcasts high speed actions
5/20/2010Blesser-Salter © Hearing Serves a Function Instant awareness of dynamic events Emotional channel in social context Experience of disability workers Elderly in 1950s English study Functional deafness is event isolation Embedded in a movie space 9
5/20/2010Blesser-Salter © Definition of an Eventscape An aural event is a natural, intentional, or accidental conversion of mechanical energy into sound, which is then broadcast to the inhabitants of a space. An eventscape is the composite of temporal & spatial distributed dynamic events that are transported to listeners.
5/20/2010Blesser-Salter © Soundscape as Eventscape Natural & human events create sound Events can be located in space Sonic Language based on events Embedded in an event panorama Events compete for our attention Event identify, evokes place
5/20/2010Blesser-Salter © Initial Answers to Questions Q: Where are you now? A: Embedded in social and physical worlds composed of static objects (landscape) and dynamic activities (eventscape). Q: How do you know where you are? A: By hearing events and seeing objects. 12
5/20/2010Blesser-Salter © Evaluating Eventscapes Each listener uses unique criteria A sonic event may be Pleasing or distracting Helpful or irrelevant Comforting or threatening Events compete for limited resources Aural combat and sonic niches Cognitive loading and arousal
5/20/2010Blesser-Salter © Part II: Aural Architecture Definition: The aural influence of passive objects and geometries on the emotions, perceptions, and behavior of inhabitants of a space. Every space has both an acoustic and aural architecture, but they describe different properties of the space. 14
5/20/2010Blesser-Salter © Experiencing Aural Architecture 1.Divides a space into separate and independent eventscapes. 2.Changes aural character of events as they move from source to listener. 3.Like a landscape, objects can be experienced directly when illuminated by sonic events. 15
5/20/2010Blesser-Salter © Influence of Aural Architecture Modifies emotional connections Influences behavior of inhabitants Winners and losers in aural combat Cultural preferences: politicized Auditory spatial awareness is learned Inadequacy of common language
5/20/2010Blesser-Salter © Auditory Spatial Awareness Singer in Howes Cavern Baboon in African Cave Lunch crowd at busy pub Ear training with hand clapping sequence: Dry Bathroom Living room Water tank Large atrium Reflecting wall Dry
5/20/2010Blesser-Salter © Spatiality without a Space
5/20/2010Blesser-Salter © Language of Aural Architecture Social spatiality Navigational spatiality Musical spatiality Aesthetic spatiality Symbolic spatiality Others yet to be discovered
5/20/2010Blesser-Salter © Social Spatiality Acoustic arenas and horizons Citizenship in French villages Dining at restaurant Children in backyard Activities in living room Privacy by shrinking arenas
5/20/2010Blesser-Salter © One Aural (Social) Space
5/20/2010Blesser-Salter © Social Measures of Distance Intimate (lover) Personal (good friend) Conversational (colleague) Public (lecturer, musician) Does social distance match acoustic horizon?
5/20/2010Blesser-Salter © Navigational Spatiality Hearing passive objects & geometries Open door way Nearby wall Rugs and upholstery Size of closet, cave, cathedral Low ceiling Curved and domed surfaces Volume of enclosed space
5/20/2010Blesser-Salter © Blind Teenagers in Mountains
5/20/2010Blesser-Salter © Musical Spatiality Reverberation as temporal spreading Meta-instruments incorporates temporal spreading Created by performance space (recording studio) Reverberation as spatial spreading Enveloping reverberation as aural caffeine Created in reproduction topology and space Artistic space: with contradictions Musical rules in electro-acoustic space Concert hall does it all: historic artifact
5/20/2010Blesser-Salter © Stockhausen in Jeta Caves
5/20/2010Blesser-Salter © s and Dry Spaces (HiFi)
5/20/2010Blesser-Salter © Aesthetic Spatiality Unique local acoustics Spatial variety and diversity Aural wallpaper Reduces sensory boredom Often artifact of visual embellishments Spatial niches with unique personality
5/20/2010Blesser-Salter © Semperes Sculpture in Madrid
5/20/2010Blesser-Salter © Symbolic Spatiality Acquires meaning from cultural exposure Linked to other senses Earcon as parallel to icon Often acquires religious meaning Examples: Bell sounds in pre-Columbian Mexico Aeolian harp: wind creates music of spheres Pyramids at Kukulkan as sacred Quetzal bird Cathedral as Gods home
5/20/2010Blesser-Salter © Shrine at Chester Cathedral
Part III: Everyone Has Choices Aural architecture looks at the dynamic relationship between people and place, mediated through hearing.
5/20/2010Blesser-Salter © The Eventscape Internal mental representation and external physical world (sonic events and aural architecture).
5/20/2010Blesser-Salter © Designers Make Choices Designers make choices about the permanent physical qualities of a space.
5/20/2010Blesser-Salter © Inhabitants Make Choices Willingly enter Choose to avoid Shut themselves off Adjust the contents Modify locations Inhabitants make choices about how they will experience a space:
5/20/2010Blesser-Salter © Technology Provides Choices Changing technologies give us more choices. Choices affect how we hear space.
5/20/2010Blesser-Salter © From Amphitheaters to iPods
5/20/2010Blesser-Salter © Basilica of Saint Apollinaris
5/20/2010Blesser-Salter © Notre Dame 12 th -14 th C
5/20/2010Blesser-Salter © Early Music Salons
5/20/2010Blesser-Salter © Sydney Opera House 1973
5/20/2010Blesser-Salter © Transporting a Sonic Event Moving a sonic event to new space Dry source without spatial acoustics Listeners remain in local eventscape
5/20/2010Blesser-Salter © Eventscape Transports the Listener Modern electronics can now create a complete (natural and virtual) eventscape in video games, headphones, movie theaters, home theaters, and automobiles.
5/20/2010Blesser-Salter © Menu of Aural Experiences Technology offers designers and inhabitants choices about the kind of aural spaces that will be experienced. Lets not focus on the technology, but rather on the array of choices and their implications for the experience of the aural space.
5/20/2010Blesser-Salter © Overlaid Eventscapes Functional deafness Democratic Individual control Double exposure Existing in multiple eventscapes (aural spaces) at the same time
5/20/2010Blesser-Salter © Combat in the Eventscape Dueling auditory arenas, shared resource, power matters, social isolation, trance-like state.
5/20/2010Blesser-Salter © Multiple Eventscapes in Daily Life
5/20/2010Blesser-Salter © Uniform Globalized Spaces Shopping malls from around the world
5/20/2010Blesser-Salter © Whos in Charge? Designers can influence the aural horizons of the inhabitants. Inhabitants adapt to the acoustic properties created by the designers. Answer: both designers and inhabitants control the eventscape
5/20/2010Blesser-Salter © Insiders & Outsiders Outsiders Architects, planners, designers and artists create spaces with physical acoustics and embedded sounds Space creators are seldom the inhabitants of a space, and the eventscape cannot be controlled by outsiders Insiders Inhabit the space during their daily lives They experience the eventscape, which includes the sounds created by all ephemeral inhabitants Modify when possible to suit preferences
5/20/2010Blesser-Salter © Eventscapes: Season to Taste
5/20/2010Blesser-Salter © Summary & Conclusion Do not focus exclusively on external concrete forms or internal mental experiences. The interaction between the two is important: the aural experience of a space. With common concepts & language, dialog and compromise become possible.
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