Week 9 (Mar 13) NOISE & SILENCE

1. NOISE / SILENCE listening exercise

Each one of you has been assigned a one-hour (approx.) track or set of tracks to listen to, which will help you meditate on the concepts of NOISE and SILENCE.

Using the readings above (VERY helpful), identify various ways in which noise functions. Is the noise on an acoustical level, or does it pertain to something else? Locate as many meanings of noise within your particular listening assignment. See some possible conceptions of noise below.

Listen to the tracks several times.

Bring to class a list of 3 (or more) perspectives on NOISE and SILENCE, and how they complicate each other.

1. Disinformation (Christina)

2. Portsmouth Sinfonia—Plays The Popular Classics (Marcus)

3. Bernhard Günter – Détails Agrandis (Alanna)

4. Hijokaidan – Romance (Julien)

5. John Cage – Empty Words, Part III (Leah)

6. Christina Kubisch – La Ville Magnétique (Elizabeth)

7. Yasunao Tone – Solo for Wounded CD (Danielle)

8. Scanner (Sarah)

9. Jonty Semper – Kenotaphion (Meiji)

10. Francisco Lopez – Untitled 123 (Jakub)

11. Rudolf Eb.Er – 23 brutal-humoroid dramas (Michelle)

12. Taku Sugimoto – Dot (73) (Shahbano)

13. The New Blockaders – Chargez les blockeurs! (Megan)

14. Jean Dubuffet – Expériences Musicales (Dana)

2. PROJECT THREE intro

Sound, Noise, Effect, Intervention: Critique December 2

This intervention will be based on the work we have been doing interrogating the nature of noise and silence AND your research on sonic effects. Your project will involve an intervention into a public space that negotiates the boundaries between noise and silence, relational concepts with a multiplicity of potentials. Draw from any of the selected interpretations below, as well as interpretations of your own.

You can choose any sonic effect from the following list: Anticipation, Chain, Cocktail, Cut Out, Deburau, Decontextualization, Delocalization, Desynchronization, Imitation, Incursion, Intrusion, Mask, Niche, Repetition, Reverberation, Synchronization, Wave

Details on each can be found in Sonic Experience.

Your performance / intervention must take place in a public space (indoor / outdoor).

Step 1: PROPOSAL (November 25): in two weeks, come to class ready to present a proposal for discussion

Step 2: CRITIQUE (December 2): bring to class aural documentation of your intervention using a good-quality audio recorder. If your intervention is extended, pick a 5-minute segment to play.

Step 3: WRITE-UP: A 1000-word write-up will be due the week after class by email (December 10).

conceptions of noise

NOISE as something out of one’s CONTROL

NOISE as DISTRACTION

NOISE as DEVIATION

NOISE as EXCESS

NOISE as RELATIONAL CONCEPT

NOISE as PROCESS

NOISE as CULTURALLY RELATIVE

NOISE as INEPTITUDE

NOISE as INEFFICIENCY

NOISE as SOMETHING OUT-OF-PLACE

NOISE as the PRIVATE MADE PUBLIC

NOISE as a PARASITE THAT RIDES ALONG WITH THE SIGNAL

NOISE is WHAT CANNOT BE EVALUATED

as well as the following questions:

What occurs in the background? Can it ever be consciously accessed?

How can you learn to listen peripherally? What could you do with that new ability?

How does the game of attention-grabbing function today, in a world of dense sensory stimulation?

What are some of the new ways in which signals cut through noise?

Can distraction—considered a negative condition—have positive aspects?

What new ways of being/living are made possible through distraction?

Can something can be noisy without being loud?

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FOR NEXT WEEK

1. Reading: Brandon Labelle: Shopping Mall

2. Analysis Exercise: The MALL

Visit a particular major-size mall of your choice. You will undertake an analysis of the components which make up the total sonic environment of the mall. You can use any of the sonic effects we have been looking at, and the ideas around silence and noise.

Particular attention should be paid to:

- associations between genres of music and target audiences

- localized (niched) sound environments vs. global environments

- forms of ENTRAINMENT

- sonic overlaps: signal / noise distinctions (are certain signals too weak to capture attention, are others too overpowering)

- relations between ATTENTION and DISTRACTION

- Pay attention to other aspects of the environment which appear to emerge as a result of this new attunement. Think about what kinds of activities take place in the background which could potentially be foregrounded (security/policing/control, aberrant activities).

- What is this background sound / ambient music aiming to suppress / cover up? (The BACKGROUND is the space where EVERYDAY gestures take place – a site of infra-perception, infra-ordinary behavior which usually goes unnoticed (repetitive, ritual, instrumental).

3. ACCOMPANYING QUESTIONS

How might you use sound in order to stimulate a sense of collectivity? (Where both the physical and mental are intertwined.) How might collective intelligence be mobilized through sound in a capitalist system which separates and individualizes?

What occurs in the background? Can it ever be consciously accessed? How can you learn to listen peripherally? What could you do with that new ability?

How does the game of attention-grabbing function today, in a world of dense sensory stimulation? What are some of the new ways in which signals cut through noise?

Can distraction—considered a negative condition—have positive aspects? What new ways of being/living are made possible through distraction?

Describe an experience of background music which affected you physically and/or psychologically. Did it involve a form of synching (or entrainment)? Did this music insinuate itself emotionally?

Have you ever caught yourself continuing in your mind a song fragment you just heard? How long was the fragment? How long did the song continue in your mind?