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Title: Listening Through Making: Artistic approaches to sound, technology and field recording.
Authors: Shaw, Tim
Issue Date: 2019
Publisher: Newcastle University
Abstract: This thesis draws on notions of ‘thinking through making’ to consider how the act of field recording reveals new ways of thinking about how technology shapes sonic experience. Within sound art practice, evidence of the act of making audio recordings is commonly removed from or aesthetically neglected in the context of public presentation or performance; sound recordist and recording technology are made invisible to the audience. Rather than concealing the act of recording, the artistic projects presented in this thesis explore methods for engaging publics in the practical activity and particular material qualities of field recording. Three artworks are presented that employ and examine field recording practices; a musical performance (Fields, 2014-2018), a sound walk (Ambulation, 2015-2018) and a sound installation (Ring Network, 2016-2018). Particular elements of the making processes, the technical materials employed, publicly manifested artworks and critical reflection thereon are shared alongside a supporting portfolio of documentation and presentation details (this can be found in the appendices and accompanying USB storage device). The written component of this PhD submission offers an additional access point into this body of work and is designed to accompany rather than stand in for the practice itself. The artworks presented in the thesis were developed in relation to a programme of ‘experiments’ conducted within a number of different cultural institutions. The thesis defines these experiments as an artistic and research methodology, and describes how the process allowed for multiple lines of enquiry and numerous artistic outcomes to be explored in relation to specific thematic, material and contextual concerns relating to sound and technology. The learning that emerged during the creation of each artwork, through field recording and the making activities, contributes to dialogues surrounding practice-based research and the value of artistic practice within academic contexts. Research findings emerging from this thesis offer insight to artists and researchers interested in field recording and electroacoustic music, performance and liveness, sound and technology and making as a research methodology. To the diverse fields 3 of sound art practice, sound studies and soundscape research, which this research is situated within, particular themes relating to sound and technology are also addressed. They include; critical reflection of field recording and electroacoustic practices and technologies, revealing the technological characteristics of creative systems through sound, liveness in relation to digital media, the use of listening technology to extend human perception, approaching technology as a material process and making as a research methodology. Discussion of these specific themes contributes to understandings of the role of listening in art practice, anti-solutionist approaches to technology, creating arenas for attentiveness in performance and sound walking. The work presented in this thesis extends Ingold’s terminology of thinking through making to working with technologies associated with sound and media art practice.
Description: Ph. D. Thesis
Appears in Collections:School of Arts and Cultures

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