Hearing how it feels to listen: perception, embodiment and first-person field recording

Findlay-Walsh, I. (2019) Hearing how it feels to listen: perception, embodiment and first-person field recording. Organised Sound, 24(1), pp. 30-40. (doi: 10.1017/S1355771819000049)

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This article explores recent theories of listening, perception and embodiment, including those by Mark Grimshaw and Tom Garner, Salomé Voegelin, and Eric Clarke, as well as consequences and possibilities arising from them in relation to field recording and soundscape art practice. These theories of listening propose auditory perception as an embodied process of engaging with and understanding lived environment. Such phenomenological listening is understood as a relational engagement with the world in motion, as movement and change, which grants access to the listener’s emerging presence, agency and place in the world. Such ideas on listening have developed concurrently with new approaches to making and presenting field recordings, with a focus on developing phonographic methods for capturing and presenting the recordist’s embodied auditory perspective. In the present study, ‘first-person’ field recording is defined as both method and culturally significant material whereby a single recordist carries, wears or remains present with a microphone, consciously and reflexively documenting their personal listening encounters. This article examines the practice of first-person field recording and considers its specific applications in a range of sound art and soundscape art examples, including work by Gabi Losoncy, Graham Lambkin, Christopher Delaurenti and Klaysstarr (the author). In the examination of these methods and works, first-person field recording is considered as a means of capturing the proximate auditory space of the recordist as a mediated ‘point of ear’, which may be embodied, inhabited, and listened through by a subsequent listener. The article concludes with a brief summary of the discussion before some closing thoughts on recording, listening and the field, on field recording as practice-research and on potential connections with other fields in which the production of virtual environments is a key focus.

Item Type:Articles
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:Organised Sound
Publisher:Cambridge University Press
ISSN (Online):1469-8153

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