In Situ Listening:Soundscape, Site and Transphonia

Doctoral thesis English OPEN
Leadley, Marcus
  • Publisher: Goldsmiths, University of London

This enquiry represents an exploration of environmental sound and artistic practice from the perspectives of in situ listening and transphonia. The initial term, in situ listening, has been coined by the author in order to constellate a group of intellectual trajectories and artists’ practices that engage with recorded sound and share a common theme: that the listening context, the relationship between mediated sound and site, is an integral part of the engagement process. Heikki Uimonen (2005, p.63) defines transphonia as the, “mechanical, electroacoustical or digital recording, reproduction and relocating of sounds.” The term applies to sound that is relocated from one location to another, or sound that is recorded at a site and then mixed with the sound of the prevailing environment. The experience of the latter, which is a key concern for this thesis, may be encountered during the field recording process when one ‘listens back’ to recordings while on site or during the presentation of site-specific sound art work. \ud \ud Twelve sound installations, each based on field recordings, were produced in order to progress the investigation. Installations were created using a personally devised approach that was rigorous, informed, and iterative. Each installation explored a different environment. These installations, and their related environmental studies, form the core content of this enquiry. \ud \ud In the first part of this thesis the installations are used to explore observations of transphonic audio content in relation to a number of subjective, surprising and intangible phenomena: disorientation, uncanny sensations or even the awareness of coincidence. These observations are supported and contextualised in relation to a wide range of historic and contemporary sources. \ud \ud Works in the second part of the thesis are used to motivate a meditation on the relationship between soundscape, site and time, which was proposed by the initial phase of the research.
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