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(Free course) Between the arts and music: an aesthetics of sonic experience

A critical and philosophical introduction to the arts of sound
From 20th March until 2nd May 2018; Tuesday and Wednesday, from 18h to 20h.

In the past few years, expressions like “sound art”, “sonic arts” or “audio art” have arisen rather frequently in the academic discourse and in the artworld verbiage – more often than not despite the resistance of artists – to describe art practices (installations, performances, soundwalks) that use sound as a medium for expression or that are about sound, soundscapes, aurality and auditory experience in general. This course is meant to serve as a critical and philosophical introduction to the main questions that arise from those art practices, to the several crossovers and disruptions between different artistic disciplines, but also to the intimate relationship, although not always unequivocal, between sounds and music.

More info here


0) Introduction

0.1) Sound ontology and phenomenology

0.2) Anatomy of the human ear and anthropology of listening

0.3) The multimodal aspect of auditory experience

0.4) A brief history of sound in the arts… and in music

0.5) The “sonic turn” and the emergence of sound art

1) The aesthetics of sonic experience: space

1.1) Listening sound in space

1.2) The spatialization of sounds in music

1.3) Listening to space through sound

1.4) The issue of “site-specificity”

1.5) Bodies and the materiality of sound

2) The aesthetics of sonic experience: time

2.1) Sounds as events

2.2) The duration of sounds and listening

2.3) Ephemerality and and transience

2.4) Repetition and unrepeatability

2.5) Frequencies, pitches, rhythms

3) Listening to sound and to music

3.1) Musical and extramusical

3.2) The abnegation (of sounds) and the liberation of listening

3.3) The musicalization of noises

3.4) Morphology and typology of sound objects

3.5) Spectral analysis and digital synthesis

3.6) Technology and schizophony

3.7) The contemporary ubiquity of listening

4) Image and sound

4.1) Audio-visual perception

4.2) Sounds on screen

4.3) The acousmatic experience

4.4) “Image de son” or “i-son”

4.5) Soundscapes

5) A short and critical introduction to sound art

5.1) Sound as medium and matter

5.2) The dematerialization of the art object

5.3) Aurality as subject and reference

5.4) The aestheticization of ordinary sonic experience

5.5) Atmospheres and stimmung

5.6) Sound as a weapon and the politics of listening

6) Silence.