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Scorescapes, On Sound, Environment and Sonic Consciousness

This doctoral trajectory explores sound, its image and its role in relating humans and our technologies to the environment.

Yolande Harris
06 December 2011
Full text available in Leiden Repository

This dissertation investigates two related questions: How does sound mediate our relationship to environment? And how can contemporary multidisciplinary art practices articulate and explore this relation between sound and environment?

By combining analysis of theoretical texts on sound, scores, environmental aesthetics and scientific papers, with reflections on personal experiences and discoveries in creating, exhibiting and performing artistic works, the dissertation maps existing approaches and suggests potential trajectories that join sound, technology, environment and sonic consciousness.

More specifically, Scorescapes addresses the importance of making the inaudible audible, the study of underwater sound and potentials for making field recording more immersive. Such an approach creates possibilities for heightened awareness and engagement in environment. In addressing the role of technology in accessing and understanding environmental sound, a notion of ‘techno-intuition’ is proposed by combining technological and intuitive ways of knowing. 

The outcomes include audio-visual installations and performances, performative lectures, electronic instruments, sonic walks and collaborations with improvising musicians. Understanding sound’s role in environmental transformations can open up greater awareness of sonic ecologies and can lead towards more sustainable practices in the arts, sciences and other fields.

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