Module 2

Readings - space as thought

After introducing some basic terminology, listening experiences, and tasks, the workshop proceeded with readings from multiple disciplines, in order to intersect spatial practice, spatial experience, and theoretical investigations.

As a way of learning together, instead of having common readings for the whole group, individual texts from the workshop's literature pool were suggested to each participant. Participants presented their readings to the group for discussion, and their print-outs of these texts, with notes and highlights, were pinned to the workspace wall as a common resource and for subsequent investigations.

The reading list (see below) consisted of notable articles from fields like (video-) game studies, architecture, geography, spatial audio, and musicology, as different modalities for considering space. Rather than being comprehensive, the list was compiled in order to provide some different angles to the question of space that were sufficient to fuel constructive discussions within the group, while also being readable by a small group in half a day. As a result of this group process, the readings were compiled discursively while allowing coverage of a wide area of literature in a limited amount of time. Impressions and ideas from Module 1 were verbalized and made concrete via group discussions, while the linking of spatial experiences to terminology and theories from a wide field of discourse encouraged spatial thinking.



Reading list

  1. Aarseth, Espen J, “Virtual Worlds, Real Knowledge: Towards a Hermeneutics of Virtuality”, European Review, 9.2 (2001), 227–232.
  2. Blesser, Barry, and Linda-Ruth Salter, “The Other Half of the Soundscape: Aural Architecture”, in The Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, 15 (2009).
  3. Borch, Christian, ed., Architectural Atmospheres: On the Experience and Politics of Architecture, (Basel: Birkhäuser, 2014).
  4. Emmerson, Simon, “Aural Landscape: Musical Space”, Organised Sound, 3.2 (August 1998), 135–40 <>.
  5. Fowler, Michael, “Sounds in Space or Space in Sounds? Architecture as an Auditory Construct”, Architectural Research Quarterly, 19.1 (March 2015), 61–72 <>.
  6. Harvey, David, “Space as a Keyword”, in Inaugural Conference (London: Institute of Education, University of London, 2004).
  7. Jenkins, Henry, “Game Design as Narrative Architecture”, Computer, 44 (2004), p. 53.
  8. Novak, Marcos, “Liquid Architectures in Cyberspace”, in Cyberspace: First Steps, edited by Michael Benedikt, 225–54 (Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press, 1992). “The Music of Architecture.”
  9. Smalley, Denis, “Space-Form and the Acousmatic Image”, Organised Sound, 12, no. 1 (2007) 35–58.
  10. Tanaka, Jun, “From (Im) Possible to Virtual Architecture”, in The Virtual Architecture: The Difference between Possible and Impossible in Architecture, translated by Thomas Donahue (Tokyo: Tokyo University Digital Museum, 2000). 
  11. Truax, Barry, “Soundscape Composition as Global Music: Electroacoustic Music as Soundscape”, Organised Sound, Vol. 13(2), (2008), 103-109.

Pictures 1 and 2, from workshop day 2, when readings were presented to the group and pinned to the workspace wall. Picture 3 from workshop day 3, when participants referred back to the texts and assignments from the previous modules. Beyond the Visual, OSSA 2018, Łódź.

Hearing: “the detection of sound.”  
Listening: active attention or reaction to the meaning, emotions, and symbolism contained within sound.

Hearing structures and articulates the experience and understanding of space.
We are not normally aware of the significance of hearing in spatial experience, al­though sound often provides the temporal continuum in which visual impressions are embedded.
Sound is intrinsically related to its container; it radiates from a source and is influenced by every object and material it encounters. The layers of all sounds in a given place result in a soundscape, an immersive environment, which includes both natural and human made sounds.

Aural: parallels visual, refers exclusive­ly to the human experience of a sonic process.
Aural architecture: properties of a space that can be experienced by listening.
An aural architect, acting as both an artist and a social engineer, is therefore someone who selects specific aural attributes of a space based on what is desirable in a particular cultural framework.

Acoustic horizon - maximum distance between a listener and source of sound where the sonic event can still be heard... the acoustic horizon is thus the experiential boundary and delineates which sonic events are included and which are excluded.
Linda-Ruth Salter & Barry Blesser (Spaces speak, are you listening? 2007)