Microphones in a Landscape: Sound, Place And the Ecological Model of Perception

PhD Thesis


Chapman, D. 2014. Microphones in a Landscape: Sound, Place And the Ecological Model of Perception. PhD Thesis University of East London School of Arts and Digital Industries
AuthorsChapman, D.
TypePhD Thesis
Abstract

This doctoral research aims to advance critical understanding of the ways in which the
developing and expanding field of sound-based art engages with the particularities of place
and environment. Through a theoretical contextualisation of both my own sound-based work
and installations and the work of other practitioners, I investigate the ways in which sitespecific
sonic art is capable of interrogating established notions of place and of developing
new knowledge about it. One of the objectives of both contextualisation and investigation is
to contribute critically and originally to a politics of location, place and environment.
Although these areas are in a constant state of flux, they are now made more vulnerable by
the increasing pressures of globalisation and the acceleration of technological and economic
development.
Today sonic art tends to be discussed on the basis of two paradigms, each of which
was formulated in relation to specific aesthetic and philosophical traditions: the visual arts
and, more particularly, art-critical perspectives on conceptualism; and the phenomenology of
audition. I argue that these approaches leave much ground uncovered. Central to my
investigation is thus an exploration of the perceptual mechanisms by which an audience
engages with sound-based work. For this I draw on the ecological theory of perception to
propose a new methodology.
Within ecological models of perception an individual can be regarded as a ‘perceptual
system’: a mobile organism that seeks information from a coherent environment. In my thesis
I relate this concept to notions of the spatial address of sound installations in order to explore
(a) how the human perceptual apparatus relates to the technology of sound diffusion and (b)
how this impacts on individuals’ engagement with sound-based work and on their ability to
experience such work as complex sonic ‘environments’. The focus on installations also opens
up questions of ‘site-specificity’, a term that enables me to examine the ways in which recent
sonic art practice has engaged with the particularities and politics of place. This review leads
me to the questions this thesis seeks to address: can sound-based work promote critical
engagement with the historical specificity, the knowledge and the politics of place? Can the
ecological theory of perception aid the understanding of how the listener engages with sound
installations? In proposing answers to these questions, my thesis intends to formulate and
advance a coherent analytical framework that may lead us to a more systematic grasp of the
ways in which individuals, through the relatively new category and practice of sonic art,
engage aesthetically with space and environment.

Year2014
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)doi:10.15123/PUB.3969
Publication dates
PrintJan 2014
Publication process dates
Deposited03 Dec 2014
Publisher's version
License
CC BY-NC-ND
Permalink -

https://repository.uel.ac.uk/item/85qz6

  • 15
    total views
  • 8
    total downloads
  • 2
    views this month
  • 1
    downloads this month

Related outputs

Art as Problematic Waste: Video Tryptich
Chapman, D. and Hyvärinen, A. Art as Problematic Waste: Video Tryptich. Turun Taidehalli, Turku, Finland
Meaning of Failed Action: Insurrection 1946
Chapman, D., Sundaram. V, Rajadhyaksha,A and Vitali, V. Meaning of Failed Action: Insurrection 1946. Mumbai, IN
Chance Encounters: Serendipity and the Use of Music in the Films of Jean Cocteau and Harry Smith
Chapman, D. 2009. Chance Encounters: Serendipity and the Use of Music in the Films of Jean Cocteau and Harry Smith. The Soundtrack. 2 (1), pp. 5-18.
Falkland: a sonic investigation of place
Chapman, D. and Wilson, Louise K 2010. Falkland: a sonic investigation of place. Journal of Media Practice. 11 (3), pp. 231-242.
The caress of the audible: Re-sounding Falkland
Chapman, D. and Wilson, Louise K. 2011. The caress of the audible: Re-sounding Falkland. Social Semiotics. 21 (4), pp. 517-529.
Context-Based Sound and the Ecological Theory of Perception
Chapman, D. 2017. Context-Based Sound and the Ecological Theory of Perception. Organised Sound. 22 (1), pp. 42-50.
The Undersea World of the Sound Department: the Construction of Sonic Conventions in Sub-aqua Screen Environments
Chapman, D. 2016. The Undersea World of the Sound Department: the Construction of Sonic Conventions in Sub-aqua Screen Environments. The New Soundtrack. 6 (2), pp. 143-157.