Tag Archives: Pierre Schaeffer

Towards a Methodology for a Museological Approach to Sound Curation: Defining the Acoustic Object

In working towards the establishment of a sound museum, it becomes essential to define what such an institution must collect, as the collection of objects has historically been viewed as essential to the mission of museums (Wittlin 1949, Macdonald 2011). While this notion has been gradually evolving to embrace intangible culture (Conn 2009, Gurian 2006), and work is developing related to the curation of sound in a museum context (Lobley 2015), I feel it is useful in the long term to propose an object-based methodology for sound curation centring around what I refer to as the acoustic object.
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Mapping the Sounds of Collections: Listening to Museums and Archives

This essay was commissioned by Meri Kytö and originally published in the World Forum for Acoustic Ecology News Quarterly’s Research and Projects column (v.11 n.1, Jan-Mar 2014).

Museums, although thought of as silent spaces, can be surprisingly noisy when listened to attentively. A large portion of my practice as an artist involves listening to museums, where the sonic collisions between present and past create what I have previously referred to as the active sounds of history (Kannenberg 2012, 8). While I am not suggesting we can listen to the past directly by looking at objects, I believe that contemporary sounds in museum spaces are experientially charged and transformed by their physical contact with the tangible cultural heritage of the past. This transformation is in part reliant upon the accepted authenticity of museum objects: Continue reading

Towards a Museum of Museum Sounds

For the better part of a decade, I’ve been recording the sounds inside of museum spaces. While some of these recordings have been published either online or on CDs, an ideal situation would be for the recordings to be put on display in a public place, where people could listen to them, engage with them, discuss them, and hopefully find as much beauty, escapism, and poetry in them as I have. But what type of public space would be the best fit? Continue reading

The Active Sounds of History: Museums as Acoustic Object Collections

I often experience a sensation of temporal simultaneity when visiting museums, a merging of past, present, and future in which my sense of history is seldom linear. Even if the museum’s exhibition designers have organized their collections chronologically, visitors rarely follow their intended path. The actual routes taken by museum visitors often, if not entirely, involve a great number of chance operations in tandem with a curatorial guide who, unavoidably, is only partially in control of the situation. Continue reading