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Sound Objects in Flux: Knowledge, Science, Heritage

14.09.2018 - 15.09.2018

Authors’ Workshop in cooperation with the Research Group: Epistemes of Modern Acoustics at the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science

Sound objects — harps, organs, tuning forks, noise level meters, echoes, inner voices, or the harmonies of the spheres—have a long history that is deeply entangled with the cultural and sociopolitical configuration of these objects, the knowledge of professional and lay users, and scientific expertise. Sound Objects in Flux brings these enmeshments to light, tracing the ways in which sound objects oscillate between concrete sound, instrumental objectification, and theoretical concept. Initiated in 2016, the Working Group asks when and how research became concrete objects, and what agency these objects have accrued in the domains of knowledge, science and cultural heritage. By focusing on the global, long-term, and large- scale reconfiguration of sound objects and their manifold relationships with cultural and scientific practices, the Authors’ Workshop will explore and reframe the assumptions made in more general studies on the formation of scientific objects. Dealing with the ephemerality of sound allows us to explore overlaps between material objects, immaterial objects, and knowledge about those objects. Objects are in flux; they never “act” or stand alone. It is through sociopolitical or scientific negotiation, translation, and transmission that objects cross boundaries of nations, social units, or disciplines.

Organized by Viktoria Tkaczyk, Rebecca Wolf, and Leendert van der Miesen


Friday, September 14

9:15–10:00 Welcome and Introduction
10:00–11:30 Session I: The Objects of a Changing Discipline
  Patrizio Barbieri: The Aeolian harp: G. Dall’Armi’s acoustical investigations 
  Leendert van der Miesen: An Object and Its Disciplines: The Echo in Early Acoustics
11:30–11:45 Coffee

Session II: Objects and Transnational Dynamics

  Carmel Raz: How the Sheng Became a Harp
  Fanny Gribenski: Tuning to History: Musical Pitch as Cultural Heritage
 13:15–14:15 Lunch 
 14:15–15:45 Session III: Materialities in the Making
  Leon Chisholm: Wooden Organs
  Rebecca Wolf: Music of Metallurgy: Bell Metal for Musical Instruments
 15:45–16:00 Coffee
 16:00–17:30 Session IV: Orphic Objects

Jacomien Prins: The Orphic Lyre: From Magic Instrument to Museum Piece


Anne Eusterschulte: Pierre Henry’s Le Voile d’Orphéeand the Orphic Nature of Sound Objects

18:15–20:30  Dinner 
 Saturday, September 15

Session V: Social Objects on the Move

  Flora Dennis: Cooking Pots, Tableware, and the Changing Sounds of Sociability in Italy, 1300–1800
  Tiago de Oliveira Pinto: Singing Birds and Competing Knowledge
11:00–11:15 Coffee

Session VI: Immaterial Sounds in Transition

  Matteo Valleriani: Musica mundana: Cosmic Harmony between Universities and Publishers

Viktoria Tkaczyk: Soliloquies and Their Media: A Long History

12:45–13:45 Lunch

Session VI: Spaces as Multifold Objects

  Darryl Cressman: Concert Halls as Boundary Objects, 1888–2005
  John Durham Peters: The Mormon Tabernacle in Salt Lake City as an Object of Belief and Knowledge
15:15–15:30 Coffee
15:30–17:30 Panel Discussion

Zeit & Ort

14.09.2018 - 15.09.2018

Max Planck Institute for the History of Science
Villa, Seminar Room (ground floor), Harnackstr. 5, 14195 Berlin-Dahlem

Weitere Informationen

Registration is urgently required. Please contact Dr. Birgitta v. Mallinckrod: officeacoustics@mpiwg-berlin.mpg.de