Annual One-Day Conference 2012
in association with
Pitt Rivers Museum, University of Oxford
24th November 2012
The Call for Papers is now closed!
Theme: Making Sound Objects: Cultures of Hearing, Recording, Creating and Circulation
This conference explores the contemporary and historical creation, collection and circulation of sound and sound-producing objects, and is guided by the following enlightened advice of Henry Balfour, first curator of the Pitt Rivers Museum:
“Any object whether natural or artificial, and however simple, which is employed for the purpose of producing sound (whether ‘musical’ in an aesthetic sense or not) should be included as a musical instrument.”
He gave this advice in 1929 to anthropologists engaged in the collection of musical instruments, advice which seems prescient indeed, as distinctions between sound and music are dissolved and re-articulated in contemporary thinking about the sound and sound objects. Such objects have been amassed over 130 years of recording, collected, documented and stored in archives, lofts, memory sticks, phones and clouds, while new technology creates exciting new sonic possibilities: for example, electronic artist Aphex Twin can conduct an orchestra by remote control, engineers use microphones to capture subterranean explosions, and sound designers use ambisonics to encode sound fields with incredible fidelity.
At this exciting time in the history of sound recording and objects – when the influence of the commercial recording industry is declining, and the age of personal sound production and inter-personal distribution is proliferating –several key questions arise: What methods and resources might scholars use to collect, analyse, create and use sound? How best might we conceptualise the relationships amongst sound archives, museums, contemporary communities and soundscapes? What type of knowledge is it possible to achieve and share through sound and sound-producing objects? How does the creation and sharing of sounds influence and change societies?
This one-day conference is hosted by the Pitt Rivers Museum, and seeks interdisciplinary engagement with these questions. Contributions are welcomed from anthropologists, musicologists, acousticians, historians, geographers, organologists, sound engineers, song collectors and sound artists – in fact anyone engaged with the production and analysis of sound.
Possible themes and issues include:
- Instruments, sounds and recording collections as forms of knowledge
- Curating instruments, objects and other technologies of sound
- The history of sound recording, field recording, and phonography
- In what ways do media shape the content and use of recordings, objects, sound
- The history and contemporary roles of sound recordists and sound archives
- What problems might sound collecting solve or cause?
- Intellectual property rights, ethical recording and collecting, ownership, and
- Sound art, sound delivery, sound installation, sound ethnography
Proposals are welcomed for:
- Papers (20 minutes)
- Organised sessions (3 linked papers around a theme, 1½ hours)
- Round table discussion sessions (chaired discussion topic, 3-4 shorter presentations not
exceeding 15 minutes each, total 1½-2 hours)
Please email proposals for papers and presentations to: noel.lobley[at]prm.ox.ac.uk
(200-250 word abstracts, plus any relevant MP3 sound files and images if applicable)
by Friday October 19th 2012.
Abstracts and sound/ video files may also be sent on CDR/ DVD to:
(BFE Sound Conference)
Pitt Rivers Museum, South Parks Road, Oxford,OX1 3PP.
Please note that all presenters must be members of BFE (see here).