UnionDocs Workshop: Sound Ethnographies

I led an afternoon session as part of Jen Heuson’s Sound Ethnographies workshop at UnionDocs in Williamsburg, Brooklyn in September 2016.

I focused on expanded recording techniques, listening and creating works in spaces (using physical locations for installation) then shared some DIY techniques for microphone construction. The session culminated in a field recording practicum where participants made recordings in a field that they had visited and discussed earlier in the weekend.

From the website:

This three-day intensive will immerse participants in using sound to understand and document the world. Through critical listening exercises, practical demonstrations, guest presentations, readings and discussions, students will explore what sound is and what it does, learning to critically and ethically integrate sound recording and sound research into their artistic and scholarly practices. Over the course of the workshop, students will develop a range of sound recording techniques and will learn to craft stories, arguments and artworks from recorded sounds.

Sound scholar and filmmaker Jen Heuson will introduce the practical methods and theoretical debates of sound ethnography to nonfiction media makers, artists and scholars in this intensive. Participants will have the unique opportunity to develop skills and workshop current projects with guests working in a range of fields, including sound art, radio, music, film, anthropology and media studies.

Workshop topics will include: understanding sound basics; sound walking and mapping; field recording techniques; DIY microphone construction; sound editing; working with sound and image; developing stories and arguments with sound; engaging audiences in critical listening; noise and silence politics; soundscape study and sound heritage; and the ethics of sound recording. The workshop is designed to introduce participants to a range of approaches that include sound ethnography, acoustic ecology, archaeoacoustics, ethnomusicology, and aural heritage. Scholars and audiophiles of all types are encouraged to attend.