Sound, space and memory: ways of emotionalizing and instrumentalizing sound 
Eckehard Pistrick (Martin-Luther-University Halle/Université Paris-Ouest Nanterre)
Cyril Isnart (CNRS)
Tower A, Piso 0, Room 4
Start time:
19 April, 2011 at 11:30 (UTC+0)
Session slots:

Short Abstract:

Globalization and mobility have remodeled the relations between sound and space through emotionalization and instrumentalization. The panel aims to highlight the new connections between sound and space, taking into account the dynamics of detaching and repositioning sound and place today.

Long Abstract

Sound and space have been considered as two distinct phenomena, visual and aural, to be studied by different disciplines: (ethno)musicology and geography. But the anthropology of space, the anthropology of senses (Turner) and performance studies (Schiefflin, Marshall) have shown how music links with space and memory. Every experience of space is at the same time a visual, acoustic and memory experience. Places possess a particular soundscape (Murray Schafer, Feld, Scaldaferri) linked to the process of recollecting and learning the traces of the past.

In times of musical globalization and musical hybridization, music detaches itself from its space of origin and tends to exist as a non-spatial and non-identifiable object. On the other hand, sound becomes appropriated by space influenced by local discourses, nationalist rhetorics or heritage politics. Space is considered in these terms as the mythical origin of musical expressions.

In the last decades, human migrations have profoundly remodeled the relation between music and space. As a result, an increased role was attributed to aural memory for remembering places, involving particular emotions. In these terms, memory stimulates a widespread nostalgia for the sounds and spaces of origin.

The panel aims to highlight the connections between sound and space, in local emic terms and as an etic concept of cultural politics. How can ‘local sounds’ be understood in a globalized world? What role do memory processes play in linking space and sounds? In what sense does the aural compliment the visual in performance? In what respect can music as a symbol evoke a ‘lost space’?

Accepted papers: