PhD: Communicating Vessels: Re-defining Agency through Sounding, funded by Novo Nordisk Mads Øvlisen PhD Scholarship with extraordinary potential in Practice-based Art, 2020 – 2023
Place of research: University of Copenhagen & The Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts
Abstract: Heard and unheard sounds are a vehicle for communication that establishes a web of interdependencies within our environment offering a potential re-framing of notions of agency. Communicating Vessels: Re-defining Agency Through Sounding proposes Sounding as a practice and medium for apprehending new forms of agency, ones that will be explored in an experiment within conventional narrative film form.
This research focuses on the apprehension of sound through a spectrum of interdependent senses and actors, phenomena that will be researched through a theoretical framework, field research into non-Western perspectives on sound and subjectivity, and collaborative exchanges and interviews with sound artists and scholars. Drawing from disparate fields of study, the research expands upon the corporeal anthropology of sound, existing concepts of sonic agency, and practices that draw from, among other things, Deep Listening developed by composer Pauline Oliveros.
Further: This PhD project contains theoretical and practice-based research in which I explore agency from different perspectives using a concept I am calling Sounding. Sounding proposes a porosity in distinctions between listening and producing sound, re-framing sonic relationships and revealing potential and existing interacting agencies.
I pursue collaborative, experimental approaches to research with theorists, researchers and artists from different fields. By forming several research groups (Radical Listening Group, and the Sonic Orientations Ambisonics Research Group) I like to emphasise the interdependencies in artistic practice and cultural work.
The research will occur through an annual series of Radical Listening workshops where sound perspectives and practices are exchanged, sounded out, and performed by sound artists and scholars from different parts of the world. Drawing from a range of fields in which sound, perception and subjectivity is addressed, such as anthropology, neuroscience, feminist theory, indigenous perspectives, and Pauline Oliveros’ Deep Listening practice, I propose to re-define agency in relation to Sound practices.
Research Questions: How can Sounding (the apprehension of sound through a spectrum of interdependent senses and actors) be used to elicit new relationships and broaden the definitions of agency; What new subjectivities and narrative trajectories can come from the practice of Sounding and; How can new forms of agency be activated through a sound-film?
Sonic Orientations, research into Ambisonics and subjectivity, funded by The Danish Ministry of Culture’s KUV Artistic research grant
My PhD is, in part, activated through specific research into spatial sound, perception and subjectivity within an Ambisonics (3D immersive sound)chamber built by a team of artists at the Royal Danish Academy for Fine Art. Building the chamber ourselves allows for a deep understanding of this technology and how it can be used artistically.
The Sonic Orientations project deals with Ambisonics and its implications for the listening subject in sound, VR and other Media Art formats. By exploring this immersive sound technology and associated practices from a theoretical perspective, the aim is sound out new perspectives on subjectivity, agency and narrative. The project activity includes Sonic Orientations Ambisonics Research (SOAR) group activity, teaching, public talks and exhibitions that support international dialogue and establish the space as a site for research on immersive sound in Media Art.
Sonic Orientations Ambisonics Research Group (SOAR)
Jenny Gräf Sheppard (PhD student, University of Copenhagen/Kunstakademiet)
Stephen McEvoy (Musician, Artist, Instructor at Laboratory for Sound at Kunstakademiet)
Lars Kynde (Musician, Composer, Instrument inventor, Faculty of Senses)
Toshie Takeuchi (Artist, Faculty of Senses)
Victoria Keddie (Artist, Producer)
Jane Bennett (Political Theorist and Philosopher, Johns Hopkins Univerity)
Mads (Notam, Oslo)
Garth Payne (Arizona State University)
Oskar Koliander (Artist, 3D Laboratory at Kunstakademiet)
Daniel Hugo (Artist, Metal and Construction Laboratory at Kunstakademiet)
For more documentation and information visit: https://sonicorientations.kunstakademiet.dk/