active listening sites

sensing place / placing sense exhibition at architecture forum upper austria / ars electronica 2011

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The physical configuration of the built environment generates a wide spectrum of acoustic effects. Even while they usually remain unnoticed, these acoustic phenomena actively support our orientation in the city and provide a sense of place.
For the exhibition, we have assembled an inventory of urban auditory situations illustrating some of these effects in the vicinity of the architecture forum. We provide a visitor of these places with instructions that facilitate awareness of these effects and decode the underlying interaction between the physical environment and the soundscape. By contrasting these situations with videos of similar situations in other cities around the world, we show shared principles and seek answers to questions such as: why do some urban spaces seem to attract or repel us? What information is being offered to our senses, what information gets lost?
We want to initiate a conversation about the soundscape as a shared, collectively owned resource, its synesthetic interactions and atmospheric elements. Stadtmusik scrutinizes the role of public space as a space of performance that provides a frame through its structures and inter-dependencies.