Power and Ground explored methods of mapping, scoring and recording sounds of natures and cultures in San Francisco. Approximately 50 sites in the city were recorded while considering constellations of humans, machines, animals, the elements and money.
…Gradually or suddenly, one sees that humanity and nature, not separate, are in this world together.
John Cage, Silence
To know an animal or plant, or any terrestrial thing whatever, is to gather together the whole dense layer of signs with which it or they may have been covered; it is to rediscover also all the constellations of forms from which they derive their value as heraldic signs.
Michael Foucault, The Order of Things: An Archaeology of the Human Sciences
SubAmbient Sound refers to sounds discovered through excavation, sounds found below the surfaces of things and places. What seemed solid and fixed is revealed as changing, resonant and alive. The SubAmbient Sound Workshop provides opportunities for participants to engage with new pathways of mapping places, memories and knowledge. Read more.
Presented at: Toronto International Electroacoustic Symposium, Toronto,CA Middlebury College, VT Fleming Museum of Art, VT
Jenn Karson’s Sonic Mapping Workshop Explores Burlington
On Wednesday, April 15, and Saturday, April 18, Karson will teach others what she’s learned in a unique, two-part soundscape workshop at the Fleming Museum titled Mapping Found Sounds. It’s one part maker crash course, one part scavenger hunt and all conceptual art. The workshop will delve into a realm of sound art that Karson says takes its cue from avant-garde composers such as John Cage, who experimented with everyday ambient noises. (One of Cage’s best-known pieces is “4’33″” — named for the four minutes and 33 seconds in which the musicians are instructed not to play their instruments; the piece is the sounds of the audience and their surrounding environment.)
The result of “Mapping Found Sounds” will be a sonic map of the Burlington area. What will that sound like? Karson has no idea — she’s leaving that part up to the students. Certainly, though, participants shouldn’t expect to stand on street corners and record traffic noises.
Part 1 of Karson’s workshop will teach students how to repurpose the contact microphones in cellphones, computers, toys and other devices to make a simple listening instrument that can attach to headphones. The contact microphone changes the way a human ear hears a sound: The listener hears only the vibrational resonance of the sound waves, not the extra noise that might identify that resonance as, say, a door slamming or a car honking.
In Part 2, students will explore the Burlington area, placing their listening device on buildings, sidewalks, street lamps and elsewhere to “discover hidden sounds” in the area, as Karson puts it. “I want to have a reflection on Burlington that’s really new,” she says.