20 October 2017

The body as research tool: Performing urban soundscape

Atelier TM

Workshop in English

Organised by John Bingham-Hall (FMSH / Theatrum Mundi, Global cities Chair) & Mercedes Azpilicueta

Urban anthropology – any research or design practice that produces knowledge of cities through analysis of their social lives – relies on observation. The observer, through eyes, ears, microphone, camera & sketchbook, records the city. Images, sounds & texts become objects processed intellectually to build a rational account. These processes produce valuable kinds of knowledge that aid the comprehension & design of the social life of urban public spaces. But this knowledge, usually conveyed through media, is several times removed from the sensorial qualities of the social, that have their own intelligence.

This workshop draws on methods developed in the artistic practice of Mercedes Azpilicueta to explore the value to urban research of learning to perform public soundscapes. By translating into performance the affective qualities of voices, sounds, & rhythms in the urban soundscape, the artist “uses her body as field of experimentation to grasp a text spoken in a foreign language that she does not understand, but whose vitality moves her”.1 Following this approach, what kind of knowledge can be produced in urbanism through re-embodying, rather than describing, the ambiances of urban space? What are the roles of imagination & imitation, as opposed to ‘rational’ explanation, in the crafts of design & research?

Around 15 participants will be asked to share a short text from their own work & reflect together on the way it re-interprets the urban sensorium as knowledge. Following this, the group will take a guided walk & recording Paris’ périphérique where diverse people, technologies, & functions compete acoustically. Mercedes Azpilicueta will lead a workshop working with these materials and the original texts to produce performative acts, leading to a collective discussion exploring the potentials and issues of performance as knowledge-making.

Details

Friday 20th Oktober 2017

10:00 am - 6:00 pm

Villa Vassilieff | Paris 15

Spaces limited: RSVP to vvidal@msh-paris.fr

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1Brunand, Daniela. Review of Geometric Dancer Doesn’t Believe in Love, Finds Aspiration & Ecstasy in Spirals. Solo exhibition by Mercedes Azpilicueta at SlyZmud gallery, Buenos Aires. May-June 2016.

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