【Speaker】Tyler Kinnear ( Instructor of Arts/ Western Carolina University )
【Topic】Sounds, Sites, and Insights: Soundwalking and the (Unheard) Voices of Place
Applications of ambulatory techniques in twentieth and twenty-first century sonic art stem broadly from composers’ and sound artists’ exploration of new conceptions of sound. Soundwalking (a silent walk emphasizing listening) arose from this diffused aesthetic idea, to which it brought focus to the ecological aspects of real-world sounds. This talk traces historic applications of soundwalking to more recent approaches to the practice, with particular attention to the Sonic Histories project (2019-20). While early applications focused on noise pollution, cultural heritage, and the value of nature, Sonic Histories applies soundwalking to socially charged spaces, encouraging participants to think about how topics of identity manifest sonically.
Drawing on Canadian composer Hildegard Westerkamp’s method of soundwalking, Sonic Histories examines how students experience and interpret contested and erased sites through sounds heard and imagined at a university located in the southeastern United States. This talk combines survey data with qualitative evidence to further illuminate some of the ways in which soundscapes inform experiences of historic narratives of race and belonging. This presentation will close with a broader discussion of listening and the socio-cultural implications of space, including possible future directions for sound-based social research.