Active Listening – Experiencing and Visualizing Sound

In our visual society, we often forget the fundamental role of hearing. Unlike our eyes, our ears are constantly on and capture information 360 degrees. Visual observation emphasizes the distance between spectator and object, but listening puts us in the center. However, we have a nascent understanding of the sounds of everyday environments, spaces, and activities. Regardless, the auditory experience deeply affects our emotions, orientation, and sense of place. This collaborative workshop for CAMD students and faculty explores the role of sound and hearing as an information medium. We investigate opportunities for artists, designers, and scholars to take advantage of auditory phenomena as a mode of information acquisition, data exploration, and storytelling.

However, the many facets of auditory culture have to be experienced, not just read or discussed. Therefore, our workshop will offer an experiential introduction of the many possibilities of sound for film and media.


1. Hearing as environmental Information

Sam Auinger and Dietmar Offenhuber, 2:00 pm – 2:40 pm
Active listening can teach us to discern and articulate what goes on around us sonically more consciously. The first part introduces practices and techniques of active listening and discusses the cultural relevance of hearing.

2. Neuroscience, psychoacoustics and sonification

Hubert Ho and Psyche Loui, 2:40 pm – 3:20 pm
The second part of the workshop focuses on how the fields of sonification and visualization can incorporate and articulate some of this more recent scholarship.

Coffee Break – 10 minutes

3. Narrative strategies and acoustic ecologies

Bobette Buster, 3:30 pm – 4:15 pm
The third section focuses on hearing as a source and construction of meaning — for humans but also for animals — and offers a synthesis for creative practice.

4. Music, sound, and space in film

Matthew McDonald 4:15 pm – 5:00 pm
Music and sound are critical components of how physical space is defined in films. In this section of the workshop, we will explore how sonic elements work both with and against images to provide information about the environments in which film narratives take place and to convey symbolic meaning. Students will be introduced to concepts for discussing audiovisual relationships in film and then apply these to specific examples.

workshop Details

March 15, 2018
2:00 pm - 5:00 pm
Ryder 433
11 Leon Street,
Boston MA, 02115