“Step by Step” Reading and Re-writing Urban Space Through the Footstep (2018)

Elena Biserna

About this exposition

This paper explores the materiality of sound by focusing on the interaction between the walker and urban space established by the most “basic” form of soundmaking on the move – the sound of our footsteps. It considers the presence of footprints and empreintes in the contemporary arts and surveys a series of projects by artists and composers – Peter Ablinger, Lawrence Abu Hamdan, katrinem, Dennis Oppenheim, and Jessica Thompson – highlighting the interplay between body and site established through the footsteps. By drawing on an interdisciplinary body of literature on city walking and on sound studies, I consider the step as the fundamental bodily contact with the environment while walking as well as a sound signal that generates a sense of presence, activates the surroundings, and locates us in space. Therefore, I interpret the footstep as a primary auditory event, allowing us to “read and rewrite” (Augoyard 2007) urban soundscapes, to explore and perceive – but also to reshape and participate in – acoustic spaces, establishing a material, embodied, situated, and mutual relationship with our context.
typeresearch exposition
keywordsJournal of sonic studies, sound, soundwalk, urban space, Footsteps, Sonic Studies, sound studies
last modified08/05/2018
share statusprivate
licenseAll rights reserved
published inJournal of Sonic Studies
portal issue16. Issue 16

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id name copyright license
456241 sonicstudies-banner-964-3 JSS All rights reserved
456254 Fig. 1 GroundMutations(Kearney) Dennis Oppenheim Estate All rights reserved
456263 Fig. 2 ASoundEnclosedLandArea1 Dennis Oppenheim Estate All rights reserved
456278 Fig. 3, katrinem katrinem All rights reserved
456281 Fig. 4 _path_score_marseille©katrinem katrinem All rights reserved
456284 Fig. 5 Jessica Thompson All rights reserved
456287 Fig. 6 Jessica Thompson All rights reserved
456294 Fig. 7 marches Mor Charpentier and Lawrence Abu Hamdan. All rights reserved
456300 Audio 1, Marches 2008 installation audio Lawrence Abu Hamdan and mor charpentier All rights reserved

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