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Title: Sounding materiality : explorations in resonant practice
Author: Bulley, James
ISNI:       0000 0004 7655 7104
Awarding Body: Goldsmiths, University of London
Current Institution: Goldsmiths College (University of London)
Date of Award: 2018
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How might we explore material agency in sound arts practice to promote more ecological ways of knowing our world? Through practice-based inquiry what methodologies might emerge that can provide a framework for novel, open ways of exploring the relation between sound and materiality? Sounding Materiality is an account of arts research that works at the intra-face (Barad 2000) of theory and practice. Through the critical analysis and portrayal of three case-studies, the thesis contributes two novel sound practice techniques of 'live composition' and 'locative sound', which it is proposed enable a closer and more fruitful relationship between materiality and sound. Within the case-studies that underpin the thesis, the process of experimenting with an expanded source bond between sound, meaning, and materiality leads to diverse explorations with natural systems, haptic art, phonography, sonic spatialisation, and participatory practice. Three sound-based installations are the catalysts for these inquiries, including two place-specific works driven by natural processes, Variable 4 and Living Symphonies, and the haptic sound installation Tactus, conceived as a direct communicative artwork for the blind and visually impaired. These iterative works took place over the seven-year duration of this thesis (2010-2017) and have been exhibited publicly, with cross media documentation of their occurrences imbricated in this text. In their critical analysis two distinct contributions to sound practice emerge: 'live composition', a framework that uses sonification and generative techniques to drive real-time sound composition based on live source data, and 'locative sound' a technique that promotes the placing of sound in the reality of the world, drawing relationships of 'synchresis' (Chion 1994) between materiality and composed 'sonic events' (Cox 2015). A methodological framework of 'resonant practice' inspired by Schön's 'reflective practitioner' (Schön 1987) emerges by reflection on these case-studies, portraying a praxis built on specific methodologies of 'material thinking' (Carter 2004), iteration, dialogic collaboration, and communication of knowing through an 'artstext'. 'Resonant practice' takes an 'acoustemological' approach (Feld 1994), venturing that an arts research project rooted in sounding materiality promotes unique, ecological and vibrant ways of knowing through sound. Through a resonant practice artists working with sound can aim to propagate a 'vibrant materialism' (Bennett 2010), forwarding communicative, ecological and sustainable approaches to our sonic and material environment.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral