|Letter from the Editors|
|Jamie Allen, Lital Khaikin, Isaac Linder|
|The sounds of our worlds are continuously undergoing upgrades, modulations, degradations. The environments that program our sensory bodies are forever changing, and for sound, listening, the aural, for both noise and bruit, we name this shifting ground "Acoustic Infrastructure". Included here are attentional collaborations with a set of authors and artists, art and technology center Eyebeam in NYC, and now you, dear reader. Let's listen.|
|Interior Field (Part 2) Variation|
|Adorning the frontispiece of this issue, continent. is proud to present an alternate version of Richard Chartier’s work, Interior Field, provided by the artist. “Interior Field (part 2) Variation” reworks material originally published by LINE in 2013 and culled from a binaural recording session at the McMillan Sand Filtration Site in Washington, DC. This unique historical site, built in 1905, is currently slated for almost complete demolition and redevelopment. Chartier was given special access to record at this site during a sudden major rainstorm.|
|sound is a process, and other field notes|
|Listening, be it that we perceive acoustic phenomena through our ears or through other parts of our body, is primarily attuned to human experience and to human-made sounds as a primary way of hearing the world. Through Montreal-based artist Adam Basanta’s scenarios, the listener is deflected away from the banal experience of human hearing and its biological limits, towards an attention to the invisible atmospheres or inhuman soniferous.|
What is the sound of an empty room? All space encases ambient sound, shaped by the acoustic affordances of its dimensions. Jacob Gaboury explores the history of this shaping by means of noise reduction and amplification technologies, suggesting that, while all media obscure the signals they mediate, in doing so they make sensible the properties of that mediation.
The infrastructures of experience are a thematic of the work of media artist and researcher Brian House. His making and thinking deals often with the supposedly ‘hidden’ aspects of how technical infrastructures, media and symbolic systems, outline our behaviours both individual and collective. Commissioned by Eyebeam to develop a sonic work for the Acoustic Infrastructures collaborative programme, Brian gives us here an excerpt of the project.
In a number of non-English languages, the word for ‘cement’ is ‘beton’, a translation that adds to an already weighty anglophone nomenclature, and speaks volumes of the raw, beastly (bête) and opaque nature of this limestone matrix. Yujin Jung, a Korean artist working in Hamburg, develops vectors against this optic hermeticism, through sound, resonating the institutional aesthetics of a standard fluorescent tube from ceiling to floor, and back again.
|Radiophonics of the Vietnam War: A Collection|
|Jan Philip Müller|
In "Radiophonics of the Vietnam War: A Collection", Jan Phillip Müller reveals the emergence of sonic topologies as significant elements of military and infrastructural warfare by American PSYOPS and the Việt Cộng during the Vietnam War, and the subversive counter-culture that grew around renegade broadcasts, and the legendary Hanoi Hannah and Dave Rabbit.
|Pandora's Signal Boxes|
|Shannon Mattern, Jamie Allen|
On a rather grey and cold day in the Dreispitz region of Basel, Switzerland, Shannon Mattern and Jamie Allen went for a walk to the Herzog et de Meuron Signal Box Building. The atmospherics of this infrastructural reverie and the conversation they had during this walk together opened onto the infrastructures of scholarship, knowledge, architecture, media and design.
|The Politics of the Musical Situation: A Response to Marina Rosenfeld|
|Julie Beth Napolin, Marina Rosenfeld|
Author and researcher Julie Beth Napolin presents here responses to sound artist Marina Rosenfeld from a discussion at The New School in New York City. Including material from a Bomb magazine interview with Rosenfeld, the political terrains of listening and power intersect acoustic art making.
|Bells into Networks|
Like capital, sound moves through walls. As with present-day networks, sound can permeate both listeners and bystanders with an ill-defined and tenacious geography. For space (‘acoustic,’ or otherwise) to be controlled, it need not require the amplifying effects of a digital environment. Canadian artist and writer Byron Peters explores the politics of Muzak, crowds and networks.
|Through technical adaptation and force, we may have succeeded at coordinating a human spectrum of time standards, where these determinants are synonymous, if not totally identical. Our human clocks may speak in similar languages, but we exist out of time with other beings. If human time measures are a standard by which we ethically navigate the urgency, scale and response to ecological disaster — how do we extend these ethical measures to encompass those scales that are outside of our own?|
Welltuned City forms one cluster of ideas from Sounding the Future, an attempt to preference the aural over the visual in speculations about the future. Gail Priest asks, “What will art in the future sound like?” Sounding the Future has been an interactive installation, has forthcoming manifestations as a radio work, and is here an article in continent.
|Spatio-dynamics, Aural Topographies and Underwritings|
Morten Søndergaard examines the curatorial and techno-material genealogies of sonic infrastructures: from early artistic pioneers like Nicolas Schöffer and Max Neuhaus to curatorial experiments and contextual considerations in the exhibition Under Cover - Sound/art in Social Spaces project.
|Mark Peter Wright|
|Vents provide concentrated access to these sonic effluents, they are HVAC ‘speakers’; the sound we hear the end result of an entire control system, architectures, electronics, hydraulics and pneumatics in resonance — and ventilation is its sonification. Artist and researcher Mark Peter Wright presents here is a composition derived from a set of recordings of ventilation structures in various public/private spaces in and around the city of London, England.|
"Nonsense Lab" is the unofficial name of a studio space that hosted Sean Smith and the Department of Biological Flow at University of Western Ontario. Here, in an offhand reflexive tumblr post, the infrastructural thematics of acoustic ecology, perceptual programming and media environments are cut across and sewn together.
This summer, sound and radiophonic artist Meira Asher was asked to create a work for the forest of Jerusalem, and her concetrations turned toward a valley where 16-year-old Palestinian boy Mohammed Abu Khdeir was burnt alive by Jewish settlers two summers ago. The work speaks to how space, public and private, natural and unnatural, is always also an archive of violence.