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3- Klang-Opus à la fin du crépuscule: Improvising Place and Space in the Cape Spear Project - Ellen Waterman, Carleton University

1:30 PM, Friday 24 May 2019 (2 hours)
Coffee break   03:30 PM to 04:00 PM (30 minutes)
When Delf Maria Hohmann was asked to design a sonic event for the 2018 Sound Symposium—a festival of experimental music and sound in St. John’s, Newfoundland—he set out to create a nested environment of recorded soundscapes, improvised music, acoustic space, and multi-channel sound diffusion. The site-specific work would take place at the wild and majestic Cape Spear National Historic Site. Musicians would perform in WWII bunkers set into the cliffs, and the audience, seated outside, would receive the resonant echo of those concrete chambers diffused through an eight-channel sound system and accompanied by the composer’s recorded soundscapes blended with the natural seascape. Weather intervened and at short notice the event was moved to a neo-gothic Anglican cathedral in town, drastically changing both its presentation and its signification. This paper considers the “circle of conversation” comprising improvised music, technological mediation, acoustic space, place, and memory in Klang-Opus á la fin de crépescule. Based on documentation of the concert and interviews, the performance is analysed in relation to acoustic ecology as developed by Schafer and the World Forum for Acoustic Ecology (e.g. Westerkamp, Järviluoma, Brandt, and Drever), problematized through theories of mediation (Ouzounian 2017) and generative listening (Voegelin 2011). When we listen, we conjure up sonic affect in the form of feelings, memories, and associations and this is surely where the performative force of sound art lies. In this paper, I turn environmental sound art on its ear and speak instead of the improvisatory and performative nature of environmental listening.
Carleton University
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