Acoustic Territories Sound Culture and Everyday Life by Brandon LaBelle - Continuum Books, Uk, 2010

Pub. date: 03 Jun 2010
Acoustic Territories: Sound Culture and Everyday Life offers an expansive reading of auditory life. It provides a careful consideration of the performative dynamics inherent to sound culture and acts of listening, and discusses how auditory studies may illuminate understandings of contemporary society. Combining research on urbanism, popular culture and auditory issues, Acoustic Territories opens up multiple perspectives – it challenges debates surrounding noise pollution and charts an “acoustic politics of space” by unfolding auditory experience as located within larger cultural histories and related ideologies.
Brandon LaBelle traces auditory life through a topographic structure: beginning with underground territories, through to the home as a site, and then further, to streets and neighborhoods, and finally to the sky itself. This structure follows sound as it appears in specific auditory designs, as it is mobilized within various cultural projects, and queries how it comes to circulate through everyday life as a medium for social transformation. Acoustic Territories uncovers the embedded tensions and potentiality inherent to sound as it exists in the everyday spaces around us. 

Introduction: your sound is my sound is your sound

1. Underground: Busking, Acousmatics, and the Echo
2. Home: Ethical Volumes of Silence and Noise
3. Sidewalk: Steps, Gait, and Rhythmic Journey-Forms
4. Street: Auditory Latching, Cars, and the Dynamics of Vibration
5. Shopping Mall: Muzak, Mishearing, and the Productive Volatility of Feedback
6. Sky: Radio, Spatial Urbanism, and Cultures of Transmission

Brandon LaBelle is an artist and writer working with sound culture and locational identities. His previous book,Background Noise: Perspectives on Sound Art, was published in 2006 also by Continuum. He is the editor of Errant Bodies Press and organizer of the related Surface Tension project. He is currently Professor at the National Academy of the Arts in Bergen, Norway.

"Acoustic Territories takes account of contemporary urban space by listening to it... From the underground to the sky, this groundbreaking book explores the sonorities of everyday life, identifies the major stakes and challenges, and leads us brilliantly towards an auditory paradigm of urban experience." - Jean-Paul Thibaud, CNRS researcher at CRESSON, scientific coordinator of the International Ambiances Network (ambiances.net)
"LaBelle argues that everyday acoustic life has an unbounded, yet highly differentiated, nature which offers new interdisciplinary modes of thinking to contemporary questions of global inhabitation, relation and disruption. In doing so, he makes a valuable contribution to the expanding field of sonic research" 
-Peg Rawes, Bartlett School of Architecture, UCL, London
"LaBelle, a sound artist and an academic, writes with a fluid brilliance about the way that sound interacts with the other elements of our experience with a kind of comprehension and comprehensiveness that can suggest Marshall McLuhan’s Understanding Media  or Siegfried Giedion’s Mechanization Takes Command, resulting in a visionary tome linking history, subcultures and street art. It’s not a book about music per se, but it’s hard to imagine a reading of it not interacting creatively with anyone’s thinking on musical practice and meaning.
LaBelle has a kind of accepting overview that I can’t help admiring. It’s too easy to simply decry noise pollution or the behavioural engineering of public space without actually exploring what a specific event might mean (e.g., how sound is wrapped up in identity and issues of private and public space), but LaBelle has the ability to keep thinking where many others would just react. It’s an ability that makes this one of the more stimulating reads of the year."

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