Elective Course HS2018 | Serendipity | How to unlearn the City

Elective Course HS2018 | Serendipity | How to unlearn the City
August 14, 2018 jrebsame


attention | community | critique | experience | exposure | flux | freedom | gift | immediacy | non-hierarchical | non-intentional | ongoingness | openness | playfulness | presence | process | randomness


all places within 20 min walking distance from Polyterrasse


Thursdays from 16:45-18:30


instructions, games, scores, interventions, performances, etc.


Notebook, pen, body, things on site.


Prof. Christophe Girot, Ludwig Berger, Dennis Häusler, Johannes Rebsamen, Matthias Vollmer


Ludwig Berger


Topology – Portrait of a Tree


How can we unlearn the city, displace the gaze and open up our ears? After spending extended periods of time on site through listening, drawing and awareness exercises, the students developed site-specific audio compositions in the area around the Polyterrasse in Zurich. They recorded different sites using binaural microphones, which are placed in the ear and allow detailed spatial recordings. Additionally, they used contact microphones that capture the surface-bourne sounds of objects. Back in our AudioVisual Lab, the students edited the sound recordings and prepared them to be played back on the respective site through headphones.

The compositions at various listening points form together a collective, non-verbal audio guide. Creating perceptual shifts, the pieces let us experience the rhythms, tonalities and sonic textures of the city in their spatial and temporal depth. The auditive strategies of the compositions include time compression, synchronized recordings of distant spaces, choreographies of objects near the ear, transformation of noises through resonances, and the layering of underground recordings with sounds from the inner body. Each piece is an invitation to unlearn our fixed ideas of the city and engage with its sonic fabric.

Public Sound Performance after Walter Marchettis „La Caccia“ (open air version, 1965)

“the performers execute sound actions with the use of birdcalls.
each letter of the alphabet corresponds to a different, freely-chosen call.
the rests, or silences, that follow each sound are produced by pacing off the number of steps – in any direction, from any starting point.”

Sites: Zurich Polyterrasse, ETH, Universitätsspital Park