Caroline Claus: Urban Sound Design Research

January 04 - February 06 2016

Urban Sound Design Research

How can sound contribute to qualitative urban design and planning? How and in what forms might this happen?

My research consists of the development of a method for a qualitative approach of sound in regional urban planning and design projects. I use the avantgarde output and experimental collaborations of independent electronic record labels together with the acoustic ecology of Augoyard & Torgue (2005) as a conceptual and methodological basis for a participative dismantling and redefinition of the collective appropriation of acoustic territories.

Concepts like ‘techno spatiality’ and ‘sonic experience’ are used to empower a dialogue on the complex compositions of urban spaces among different cultures and groups living in urban areas in transformation. I translate techno strategies into sound art practices to capture people’s attention to the acoustic ecology of a transforming urban environment, to stimulate new uses of urban spaces. In multidisciplinary collaborations with various experts, I develop artistic methodologies to open new reflections on the planning and design of acoustic territories. The resulting practices can be didactic, provocative, poetic, socially engaged or all together.

Through a participatory mapping project, I collect data and imaginations from the bottom up. For the sonic exploration of the landscape I use new and mobile media such as binaural and geolocative audio technology, because they allow instant communication and the ability to experience virtual and real space simultaneously. These tools make it possible to add new points of perception and new layers at the observed reality.

A finality of the public participation is to narrate and discuss sonic experiences linked with the observed area and to present an alternative possible perspective on the landscape, the architecture and on the peculiar social life of the area. Participatory mapping projects are also aimed to work as a stimulus for the future development of an observed area. Resulting sound maps are used as tool to inspire strategies and tactics for urban planning and landscape design.

IN RESIDENCY Q-O2 (Proposal):
Practice based research (project) on a participatory exploration of one or two urban development zones from the perspective of “sonic experience”. During the Residency I would like to continue working on the development of an alternative qualitative method –a new lens- for recognizing and representing various audio-spatial qualities by:

• working on issues, which were raised in previous discussions, projects and talks,
• refining a participatory approach, based on knowledge of, and expertise in (local) urban development,
• working on an installation in situ allowing people to experience and hear (future) soundscapes, based on field recording and the use of (locative) cartographies,
• writing a txt which enables people to replicate and build upon the introduced knowledge: to support a better understanding of possible sonic experiences; including the sounds, spaces relevant for each map.
• looking for the potential of integrating observation results into the design practices – specifically for landscape architecture, revealing specific creative strategies, tactics and tools.
• Exploring the social, urban knowledge of in- formation on sonic experiences, environments
• Exploring the role of sound as medium of interaction to encourage, empower citizens to take part in and/or start up civic self- organization practices.
• elaborating on different angles/perspectives for developing the approach
• experimenting with methods such as work- shops with inhabitants and collective mappings of everyday sonic experiences.