Tracing the liminal: autoethnographic strategies in soundscape art

Findlay-Walsh, I. (2017) Tracing the liminal: autoethnographic strategies in soundscape art. eSharp, 2017, pp. 7-17.

Full text not currently available from Enlighten.

Publisher's URL:


Listening in a present-day urban environment requires the reconciling of multiple orders of auditory space simultaneously. The prevalence of recorded audio transmission in everyday soundscapes fills the spaces of experience with additional ‘virtual’ spaces that listeners are tasked with making sense of, deciding between, and locating themselves amongst. In this sense, the listener's perspective can be understood as liminal – fluctuating on thresholds between actual and virtual environment, between sound, space and body, and between producing and receiving sound. The listener is (an) in-between space. In such a context, how might field recording and soundscape art practices, by turning the focus in on the recordist-listener, engage with changing relations between listening and aural environment? This article explores reflexive strategies in recording, producing, and presenting first-person environmental audio. Drawing on the ideas of Eric Clarke, Salomé Voegelin, and Ragnhild Brøvig-Hanssen & Anne Danielsen, and discussing pieces by Hildegard Westerkamp, Steven Feld, Christopher DeLaurenti, and Marc Baron, as well as my own recent pieces, I focus on soundscape work which explicitly re-stages and layers the personal listening experiences of the recordist. Through this discussion, I will present some specific ideas and approaches to recording technology, which have evolved through my own practice-as-research, highlighting strategies for generating sonic self-narratives that which document, interrogate and re-present the listener’s changing relationship with sound and environment. Taken together, I propose that these methods and works can be understood in autoethnographic terms, and form part of a wider emerging discourse around reflexive soundscape work.

Item Type:Articles
Additional Information:Special Issue - Sound Thought 2017: Proceedings and Documentation.
Keywords:Soundscape, virtual space, autoethnography, listening, sound art.
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Findlay-Walsh, Dr Iain
Authors: Findlay-Walsh, I.
Subjects:M Music and Books on Music > M Music
College/School:College of Arts > School of Culture and Creative Arts > Music
Journal Name:eSharp
Publisher:eSharp, University of Glasgow
ISSN (Online):1742-4542

University Staff: Request a correction | Enlighten Editors: Update this record