Conference dates: 29-30 November 2016

Location: Leiden University, the Netherlands

 

Introduction to the Conference Topic

Sound is among the most significant, yet least-discussed, aspects of public spaces in urban environments (Hosokawa 1984; Kang and Schulte-Fortkamp 2016). Architects, engineers, and urban planners invariably stress the visual and tactile aspects while (re)designing urban environments but often pay less attention to the aural consequences of their interventions; sound tends to be considered mainly as an inevitable byproduct of industrial areas, traffic, commercial centers, and/or human activities. If sound attracts the attention of policy makers and users of public urban spaces, it is often in a rather negative context: as noise pollution which should be avoided by somehow reducing the amount of decibels (Devilee, Maris, van der Kamp 2010; Elmqvist 2013; Kamin 2015).

 

In contrast, this conference aims to increase the attention to the role of sound, sound design, and sounding art in urban spaces – with sound considered both as an epistemological tool and as an aesthetic instrument.

Sounds in urban spaces – including the “omnipresence” of music – (co-)regulate our behavior, attract specific groups that give a space a specific identity, call for certain actions, make us nauseated, etc.; sounds thus have social, political, ethical, and economic power. Reflections on everyday urban soundscapes – their features as well as the way they are used and experienced – could lead to a new theory of sonic ecology.

Furthermore, sounding art has the potential to contribute directly to an improvement of city soundscapes, while a more fundamental and scholarly attention to sounds in public urban spaces can lead to a concrete contribution to already existing discourses in urban studies, history, anthropology, and philosophy.

 

In this conference three questions will play a central role:

  1. How do sounds in general and sounding art in particular contribute to the general atmosphere of a public urban space?
  2. How do users of that space – dwellers, tourists, people working in that neighborhood, passersby – experience its sonic qualities and how does that influence their behavior as well as the function of that space?
  3. How can we, on a theoretical level, develop a new sonic ecology?

 

Keynote speakers: Salomé Voegelin, Gascia Ouzounian, Holger Schulze, and Jean-Paul Thibaud.

 

Conference Coordinator: Prof. dr. M.A. (Marcel) Cobussen

(M.A.Cobussen@umail.leidenuniv.nl)

 

Abstracts: Abstracts of no more than 250 words should be sent to Gabriel Paiuk acpa@hum.leidenuniv.nl before October 1, 2016. Submitters will be informed before October 15.

 

The conference is sponsored by KNAW, LUF, JSS, and ACPA (Leiden University)

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