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Headscapes - compositions for headphones

This is a broadcast of a CD publication for the exhibition "Headscapes - Kompositionen für Kopfhörer", taking place in the gallery "Besenkammer - etwas Raum für Kunst" in Saarbrücken, Germany, May 27 through June 23, 2010. The exhibition is the final presentation of a project at the Hochschule der Bildenden Kunste Saar, Germany, within the department Audiovisual Arts led by Christina Kubisch. Curated by Marc Behrens and Stefan Zintel, organized by Peter Strickmann.For more information, please visit www.besenkammer.org.

Subjective inner sound spaces, spatialization experiments for what is heard in the inside, technical approaches to the infinity of  the space inside the head. Listening pieces for the space inside the head require an engagement for the unknown and unconscious, for introspection and alienation from the exterior space. They can only be experienced via headphones or special mechanic constructions. Novel spaces can be generated virtually and challenge the listener's standpoint, proprioception of head and body: the average seventeen centimeters between the ears. The listener is not situated inside the sound space, rather allows it to occur within him, he ultimately absorbs the universe.


1 Alexandra von Bassen: Marseille, ma ville 5:26 ["Marseille, my city"]

Margaux Littra, who is living in Germany for one year, recounts of her city in the south of France. Her voice, as well as audio recordings from Marseille and the surrounding area, made in December 2009, are the components of this sound story for headphones.


2 Daniel Henrich: hear drum, eardrum 6:25

All of us hear with a drum, our eardrum. Sound hits the eardrum, but the actual hearing takes place in the organ behind the membrane. I have set up various durms with microphones inside them. When a sound hits the drumhead, the otherwise familiar sound is changed by the membrane and the space behind it. The sounds we hear with our eardrum, and the sounds we hear in the drum are transformed into new sounds. So we have to rethink: Do the sounds we hear sound the way we believe they do? Do we all hear the same? Different drums sound differently. By composing a piece for headphones I intend to isolate the viewer from the room he is in, and place him inside a new space, the space behind the membrane. We are so used to the way we hear, that the different sounds created by another membrane sound somehow different, but also awkwardly familiar.


3 Deng Runxia: Nachher 1:15 ["Afterwards"]

 I make a composition for headphones. I use the decay curve of the sounds of different everyday objects like glasses, bowls, as well as the reverberation of selected spaces and of spatially interesting situation in the outside.


4 Stefan Zintel: Inner / Outer Circle 4:57

Humans can assign direction to sound events they perceive. The spatial perception and localization depends substantially on the moment of sound impact. In my work, the "in-head localization" for sounds in different frequency ranges is the main point.


5 Hye-Kyoung Kwon: WG 2:08 ["Shared apartment"]

I live in a shared apartment. I am from South Korea, and my flat mates are from Italy (Milan) and Germany (Cologne). All of us speak differently. On headphones I bring all these languages together into one space, into one person. Language barriers melt. A single language is created with the possibilities of composition.


6 Peter Strickmann: Vom Sickern und Süppeln 6:44 ["Of seeping and oozing"]

Composition for headphones. Sound material is generated from the noise of water that seeps away into different dry earths. The different earths are to be collected in different locations/landscapes, dried and then watered in the sound studio. The water seeps away in earth and leaves the sound on the surface. I capture it there and let it infiltrate ourselves via headphones. A sharp crackling in the neck. A swallowing in the forehead. Thus, the small sounds of the water will become a murmering of the synapses.


7 Seo Ryang Kim: Wasser 5:28 ["Water"]

When I was a child I went on a family vacation to the sea. When playing at the water's edge I was drowned by a high wave, so that water shot into my ears. It was as if the water would completely fill the space in my head. I still remember the sound of the sudden and loud intrusion of water into my head with horror. The water flooded my ears and flew out again, but what remained is a nightmarish feeling. In my composition for headphones I am articulating that experience. The sound sputters, flows through the space inside the head and picks out the destructive power of water as a central subject.


8 Sun-Mi Han: Who am I? 4:21

It was a rainy day in summer. On that day I asked myself a question: who am I? When I was asked by someone to state who I was, I answered with my name, without thinking about it. But when I ask myself the same question, the answer is a different one. Sun-mi Han - can a name be my ego? Names are just an index, nothing more than a denomination, a connection to the information in our heads. But what the name hides is so big that it cannot be put into a single word. With the doubts my quest for the self began. Who am I? And what about you? Who are you?


9 Marc Behrens: Yes, China


By far the loudest and densest urban 360° noise I have experienced in China - in the city centre traffic of Hongkong, Guangzhou and Beijing. A sound occurs almost never isolated from others. Even in interior spaces the low frequency field of traffic noise seeps in through the walls. "Yes, China" is a survey of the acoustic urban space with emphasis on such sounds and situations which bind the people's attention or enable identification with the location. Inside urban, physically aggressive noise, the head's interior space is often the only retreat. In the flowing and bass dominated sonic world of subways, motor coaches and construction sites, different sound sources of higher frequencies are able to push through: crickets, sound signals at traffic lights, steam pressure-relief valves in Beijing's 798 art zone, a priest's painfully resonant brass bell. During recording many of those sounds I worked without monitoring headphones, positioning microphones merely according to experience. When one listens in realtime to the exterior world within which one resides with open mikes and on headphones, big alienation effects will quickly show up. Loudness proportions seem distorted, shifted. Localization will change according to the employed microphone type and be limited already by the use of stereo headphones. Even when position and microphone characteristics largely coincide, the perception of the sound on location will mutate. The active mind edits the experienced and recorded sounds into a sonic world which, as it were, steals and internalizes the contours of the outer world. At a different time, different place, and for a new listener, two interior headspaces melt: the one formed by the composer and the one experienced by that listener. Both refer to two allegedly similar exterior spaces: the one experienced by the composer and the one which the listener would imagine. #

Play 46:40 min, Besenkammer - etwas Raum für Kunst 27/5/2010


Tuition Fees Meeting - what happened? An AA Radio report on the fees meeting between AA students and AA director Brett Steele, President of AA Council Alex Lifschutz, and AA Accounts Manager Steve Livett on 17.02.2010. The students represented various parts of the school including Foundation, Intermediate school, and PhD. The topic of the discussion was the rise in next year's tuition fees, in the context of fees rising consistently each year. This radio talk show summary has been written and produced by AA students and Student Forum members, Camille Steyaert (3rd year) and Frederik Bo Bojesen (3rd year),  in discussion with other students who attended the meeting as well. Please note the following corrections:  "one-off costs" rather than "on cost"; "decrease of £20" rather than "increase of £20"; "the meeting was purely informational" rather than "the meeting was purely informal". Any feedback? Talk to the AA Student Forum members,or email them - studentforum@aaschool.ac.uk. #

Play 6:56 min, AA Student Forum 5/3/2010

The Living Road

Lhasa de Sala, american/mexican songwriter, makes the tides soar with La Marée Haute. Contributed by AA student Camille Steyaert. #

Play 3:25 min, Camille Steyaert 17/2/2010

TWYL Flagstaff Radio

Introduction to the site: Tuba City. Contributed by AA students Costantino Sambuy and Stefano Branca. #

Play 3:08 min, Costantino Sambuy Stefano Branca 15/2/2010

Letters for Monica Pidgeon

Su Rogers, Barbara Goldstein, Dargan Bullivant, Kenneth Frampton, and Peter Murray join the AA Radio to share stories of their professional and personal relationships with the late Monica Pidgeon, editor of Architectural Design magazine from 1946-1975, who passed away in September 2009 at the age of 95. Asked by the Radio to each bring 5 letters of the alphabet, each standing for a word and story about Monica, the anecdotes and memories journey from Bloomsbury to Buckminster Fuller to Berlin, Lunches at L'Escargot, St. Anne's Close, Walter Segal, Jacobsen stools, Saturday afternoon Talks in the garden, Team X and CIAM, Pidgeon Audio Visual, and Monica's Independence, Dedication, Passion, and Loyalty.

This conversation was recorded on Saturday, November 21, 2009 at the AA, 36 Bedford Square, London. Visit the Pidgeon Digital archive at www.pidgeondigital.com


Play 63:28 min, Ema Bonifacic 21/11/2009