Metaphones. Sound range investigation on the example of echo phenomenon/ book, Warsaw 2009

curator: Krzysztof Gutfranski

Sound range investigation on the example of echo phenomenon.

First edition of interdisciplinary cycle Ekspektatywa is devoted to Guglielmo Marconi theory about possibility to hear whole sounds which diminished with use of special sensitive devices. Gdansk based artist Kasia Krakowiak with Andrzej Kłosak – architect and acoustic take his goal on question of aural qualities of sound wave phenomenon and possibility of its existence against the lapse of time. What happens with sound which diminished and isn’t audible any more? And in what way – if its even possible – we can hear unrecorded sounds from the past? The team inspired by the story of last song played on the sinking titanic start to create fullly analogue broadcasting-receiving-measuring fixture for investigate possibility of hearing passed sounds in the case of echo phenomenon. Working with echo in the city goes to concentrate audience with questions of “soundscape”.

Curator: Krzysztof Gutfrański

The notion of ‘sound landscape’ – a broad term popularized by R. Murray Schafer – was the starting point for collaboration between the artist Katarzyna Krakowiak and architect and acoustician Andrzej Kłosak. Their area of study – specified in the cross over technology towards acoustic ecology and the search for analog solutions – is condensed in the question whether there is echo in the city. Echo that exists outside the city-dwellers’ collective consciousness. Not only did this allow them to fulfill a task doomed to failure (as echo in the cityscape is equivalent to an architectural mistake or unforseen co-existence of buildings and ubran life), but also to begin a discussion on the need for more equitably design of urban phonosphere. Experiments of 17th century inventor and scientist, Athanasius Kircher as well as simple calculation proved to be of particular help in overcoming the difficulties with finding the proper space. Two of his central works devoted to the question of sound – Musurgia universalis (1650) and Phonurgia nova (1673) – contain prints depicting architectural structures which explain how echo is created. From the viewpoint of feasibility of his
concept, the prints present a particular blend of awe-inspiring sense of empiricism and pure nonsense. Having explored the possibility to correct the print and later construct in proper scale and form loosely-based on the original version, the project is existing as ready to built prototype of the structure. Thus the symbolic correction of Kircher’s print allows for analog creation of echo in the city, proposing to make the space more ‘communicative’ through its acoustic spaceshaping. This publication constitutes a parallel part of the project and refers not so much to echo itself as to the waning of the sound wave and, even more importantly, to listening and the consequences connected with using the sense of hearing. In its introductory part, the book presents the various attitudes and methodologies through a survey and a text written by Anna Preis and Andrzej Klawiter. Sections present the various ways in which sound is used: from mythology to politics which controls acoustic space (Jonathan Sterne); through the changing perceptions of time realized by sound (Hazel Muir); to the creative use of sound in the shaping of living space (production manual for the giant Metaphones). The sound in inscribed into the ambivalence and extreme range of its usage – from healing to lethal. In this sense, sound never exists (as a given), but presents a great challenge, as humans create it in the process of listening, dynamically ‘constructing’ it through the act of perception dependent on a variety of factors, such as education, habit, fears or ideological mediation

pdf Metaphones