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Affective atmospheres: site-specific sound, neighborhood music, and the social formation

November 30, 2018 8:30 pm

The series of live performances are related to a seminar that will take place at the center for arts and humanities at AUB (American University of Beirut) on both November 29th and 30th and are here to enrich and complement its discourse with a practice-based approach. The concerts are in association with Irtijal (international festival of experimental music in Lebanon).

The seminar invites scholarly and artistic contributions that make stimulating and fertile connections between sound and society. The aim is to consider the idea of social formation (Althusser et al) that comprises an ever-evolving atmosphere of a place. Sonic atmosphere (aka ambiance or ambient sound) indicates the essential background sounds, which are present in a site, place, area, or location. From a position of social awareness, it is crucial to understand how the emergent and contingent sonic atmosphere of a site is constituted with multiple social influences, including but not limited to neighboring and socially diffused music and site-specific sounds that are part of the everyday ambiance, which is not static but historically transformative. Likewise, social music (LaBelle 2001), as well as sounds and music diffused in urban or rural environments (e.g. azaan or demonstrations) generate site-specific associations such as ones emanating from and reflected within a specific street or area. These elements are necessary for critical listening and investigation not only to understand the atmospheric layers they may suggest but also to speculate their historical constituents, as well as their contribution to or influences from the processes of social formation. Often such an inclusive idea of atmosphere proliferates a sense of plurality and multiplicity embedded in the public and social life of a place engaging the sociality in a more effective means. In this seminar, the various everyday iterations and social aspects of site-specific music and sound will be examined to locate how they engage with the contingent collectivity and fluid historicity of the site within a spirit of inclusion, contributing to the studies of sound, ambiance, and social life. A series of concerts and live performances, and screening of a number of film and video works will complement and enrich the discourse of the seminar with a practice-based approach.

Concert performances on Thursday 29th by:
Nicola Di Corce
Cathy Lane, Crisap, University of The Arts, London
William ​Joshua Hudelson and his students​, Faas (music), American University of Beirut.

Concert performances on Friday 30th by:
Budhaditya Chattopadhyay, center for arts and humanities, American University of Beirut
Lasse-marc Riek, Gruenrekorder, Frankfurt am main
David Toop, Crisap, University Of The Arts, London