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:: Tuesday, March 24, 2009 ::

Spaces Speak, Are You Listening?

"We experience spaces not only by seeing but also by listening. We can navigate a room in the dark, and "hear" the emptiness of a house without furniture. Our experience of music in a concert hall depends on whether we sit in the front row or under the balcony. The unique acoustics of religious spaces acquire symbolic meaning. Social relationships are strongly influenced by the way that space changes sound. In Spaces Speak, Are You Listening? Experiencing Aural Architecture, Barry Blesser and Linda-Ruth Salter examine auditory spatial awareness: experiencing space by attentive listening. Every environment has an aural architecture."

"Eusebio Sempere, a respected minimalist 20th century Spanish artist, created a sculpture composed of a three-dimensional array of polished stainless-steel tubes that rotates at its base, as shown in figure [above]. In addition to its provocative visual effect as the moving surfaces reflect in the sunlight, it was also a sonic filter that blocked transmission of particular frequencies. A listener on one side heard a tonal modification of those sound sources located on the other side, the visual equivalent of colored glass prisms. This sculpture is an aural embellishment because it changes sounds that propagate through it."

As referenced in Trevor Cox's Sound Architecture: Spaces That Speak programme on Radio 4 last week, unfortunately no longer availble on the iPlayer. (Although I do have an MP3 rip. Get in touch if you really want to hear it.)

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