Tag Archives: aura

Cultural Heritage in the Age of 3-D Printing: Rise of the Intangible?

A year ago, I wrote a post about 3-D printing and its impact on cultural heritage in the museum world. Last week, I presented an expanded version of the essay as a paper at the tenth annual Arts in Society conference at Imperial College London.

You can now read the paper on Academia.edu.


Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

Towards a Poetics of Museum Sound

i. Collections

An urge,
an unheard whisper in the ear,
a yearning for that
complete set,
that rarity that only we –
the privileged, the possessors –
can call our own
and control who sees it or hears it.

ii. Objects

This multitude of things
material or intangible
mute or loquacious
produced by culture
assumed authentic
obtained through
– excavation
– plunder
– exchange
selected by a few
desired by many
seen or unseen
with aural auras
untouchable
yet somehow accessible
if deemed worthy.


iii. Galleries

The display of our wares
our triumphs
our tragedies
icons of history
or forgotten pasts
within discursive configurations
spaces resonating with
meaning
history
passion
mortality
time –
the nexus of echoes
past and present:
the active sounds of history.

iv. Memory

What is it about that
sound
that makes me think of childhood?
Why does this image
transport me back to that thing I read
back when I was a student?
Which story about
my family
deserves to be recorded?
When did they decide
these are the things
that we should remember?

v. Contemplation

This silence
that is not silent
these echoes
these objects
installed and instilled with
their own preciousness
encourage one’s mind to ponder
and wander
across time: backwards and forwards
waves of sound, waves of history
upon which our thoughts might float.

vi. Engagement

We visit these places
not just to learn,
but to teach
not just to see,
but to be seen
not just to listen,
but to be heard.


Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

Film Review: Museum Hours

Museum Hours (2012)
106 minutes
directed by Jem Cohen

Museum Hours, Jem Cohen’s cinematic meditation on life, death, and art has a somewhat unexpected focus: sound. I finally got the chance to see this film almost a year after its initial release, and while I was expecting impressive visual statements (considering the film was shot primarily inside Vienna’s Kunsthistorisches Museum), I was pleasantly surprised by its many fascinating sonic moments as well. Continue reading

Book Review: On The Odd Hours by Eric Liberge

On The Odd Hours coverSince 2005, the Louvre has been co-sponsoring the publication of a series of graphic novels set within the Louvre’s environs. Written and illustrated by multiple authors, these comics are self-contained rather than serialized stories, placing casts of characters inside the Louvre that act out stories asking fundamental questions about art, collection, audience, and museums (there’s a wonderful in-depth overview of the first four volumes in the series over at Comixology written by Columbia University’s Karen Green). Unsurprisingly, the novel that’s impressed me most in this series so far is Eric Liberge’s On The Odd Hours, a fantastical tale involving the power of sound to keep the Louvre’s objects “appeased.” It’s a thought-provoking take on the sonic experience of museums that has, pun intended, continued to resonate with me long after reading it. Continue reading

Book Review: Victorian Soundscapes by John M. Picker

Victorian Soundscapes book cover

One of the most engaging books on sound I’ve read this year, “Victorian Soundscapes” examines the changing attitudes toward sound throughout the Victorian era by concentrating on the literature of the time. While previous knowledge of the written works referred to would obviously make this book’s conclusions even clearer than they already are, prior knowledge of the texts discussed isn’t necessary. Some of the works analyzed include Dickens’ “Dombey and Son,” George Eliot’s “Daniel Deronda,” Arthur Conan Doyle’s “The Voice of Science,” Bram Stoker’s “Dracula,” and Joseph Conrad’s “Heart of Darkness.” Along the way, other writings and events woven into the analysis include the writings on acoustics by Hermann von Helmhotz; the anti-immigrant cartoons of Punch magazine’s John Leech; the far-fetched theories about sound and the atmosphere put forth by father of the computer Charles Babbage; the saga of Thomas Carlyle’s attempt to design and build the first soundproof study in London; the histories of the development of the telephone, phonograph, and gramophone; and the origin of the painting “His Master’s Voice” featuring the Victor Dog. Continue reading

Untitled 1

Without location, these fragmentary
patterns drift among disorder
in the spaces between echo and decay.
They do not withstand a second listen,
these collected memories of significant events unseen,
but they are no less powerful.

Signals and receptors, objects motionlessly spinning,
all
clinging to the revolving stillness of forever.
Another moment has passed. Your time
is not mine,
it is hours —

an aura
to archive,
and let history
forget.


Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

Presence = Aura

Presence, as defined by audio recording engineers, is an ephemeral quality of sound, an almost instinctive sheen that is known when heard. A sound with presence is imbued with authenticity, it contains qualities that the listener believes to be real, to be live, to be happening in the same space as the listener. Continue reading