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Sound Objects in Transition: Knowledge, Science, Heritage

15.09.2016 - 16.09.2016

A cooperative venture of the MPIWG, the Deutsches Museum Munich, and the Collaborative Research Center "Episteme in Motion", Project C04 "Epistemic Dissonances. Objects and Tools of Early Modern Acoustics"

Organizers: Viktoria Tkaczyk (MPIWG / Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin), Rebecca Wolf (Deutsches Museum)

Bells, stringed instruments, theater auditoria, pistols, phonographs, and synthesizers have a long history that is deeply entangled with the production of knowledge, science, and cultural heritage. The Working Group plans to bring these enmeshments to light, with a focus on three forms of sound objects: sound-generating, sound-transmitting, and sound-archiving objects. Alongside materially tangible objects (natural objects, artifacts, objets trouvés), the Working Group also considers immaterial sound objects (musical sounds, sounds of daily life, noise), passed on in written or pictorial form.

The Working Group asks when and how research objects became concrete objects, and what agency these objects have accrued in the domains of knowledge, science, and cultural heritage. We trace the role played by the objects’ materiality in such processes. When did their materials, their value, their sound, their shape change? How did their spatial or cultural embedment mold their use? We are interested in the extent to which sounding objects formed part of codified actions, artistic or technological practices, and social networks. How did they collect or communicate tacit knowledge? At what points did sound objects mark the transition from practical action to scientific research? Did objects circulate between scientific disciplines? And where did sounding objects escape from their scientific contexts to become everyday, communicative, museum, or art objects? How was their sound described, visualized, measured, archived, exhibited, digitized? Finally, we ask where the history of these objects flows into conventional narratives and where they write their very own history over long periods of time.


Thursday, September 15

10:00–10:15    Welcome Coffee

10:15–10:45    Introduction 

Wave / Number

10:45–11:30    H. Floris Cohen (Descartes Centre, Utrecht University): "To Explain Consonance and Divide the Octave: Abstract Doctrines and Their Material Counterparts"

11:30–12:15   Jacomien Prins (University of Warwick): "Marin Mersenne and the Lost Knowledge of King David’s Lyre"

12:15–13:15    Lunch

Glass / Metal

13:15–14:00    Rebecca Wolf (Deutsches Museum, Munich): "Music of Metallurgy: Bell-Founding Metal for Musical Instruments"

14:00–14:45    Peter Pesic (St. John’s College, Santa Fe): "Musical Glasses"

14:45–15:15    Coffee break


Stage / Garden

15:15–16:00    Joseph S.C. Lam (University of Michigan):  "Acoustic and Musical Realities: Performing Kunqu on Historical Stages and in Cultivated Gardens"


17:00–18:00    Peter Pesic (St. John’s College, Santa Fe): Piano Recital “Music, Science and Nature"


Friday, September 16

10:00–10:15    Welcome Coffee

Air / Machine

10:15–11:00     Joeri Bruyninckx (MPIWG): "Sounding the Voice Box: A History of Reconstructing the Avian Syrinx, 1750–Present"

11:00–11:45     Tiago de Oliveira Pinto (University of Music Franz Liszt Weimar & Friedrich Schiller University Jena / São Paulo): "Birds as Sounding Objects"

11:45–12:00     Coffee break

12:00–12:45     Myles Jackson (New York University): "Physical and Musical Objects: Vacuum Tubes throughout the Twentieth Century"

12:45–13:45    Lunch


Ear / Voice

13:45–14:30    Julia Kursell (University of Amsterdam): "The Ear and Its Objects: A Longue Durée View of Research in Auditory Physiology"

14:30–15:15   Viktoria Tkaczyk (MPIWG, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin): "Inner Voices: A Long History of Soliloquies"

15:15–15:45    Coffee break    

 15:45–16:30   Shane Butler (Johns Hopkins University): "On the Nightingale: Myth as Sound Object(s)"

16:30–16:40    Karin Bijsterveld (Maastricht University): Closing remarks


To register please contact:
Birgitta von Mallinckrodt officeacoustics@mpiwg-berlin.mpg.de

Zeit & Ort

15.09.2016 - 16.09.2016

Max Planck Institute for the History of Science Boltzmannstraße 22
D-14195 Berlin
Conference Room