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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Profound Listening : poetics, living inquiry, arts-based practice and being-presence in soundwalk-soundscape composition Dancer, Andrea Anath


As an artistic practice and a knowledge base, acoustic arts-based research is nascent. An interest in sound is emerging across trans-disciplinary fields ranging from urban geography to bioacoustics to architecture to experimental music. In Education, attention to sound produces barely a whisper. This thesis explores how relationships between listeners and the sound environment (soundscape) evolve and are articulated through arts-based means: a hybrid form of sound art, electroacoustic music and acoustic ecology called soundscape composition. As a soundscape composer, my artistic and professional trajectory is steeped in hybridity: poetry, radio documentary-feature, sound art, visual arts, and arts education spanning twenty plus years. For these reasons, this thesis consists of: writing (scholarship, narrative, and poetics), listening (soundwalking, field recording, and soundscape compositions), processing (artistic, literary, and curatorial practice across genres), documenting (living and poetic inquiry, research, reflection on works), and as a pedagogic and hybrid means of knowledge acquisition. The manuscript explicates, theorizes, tells stories, offers poetry and prose, and opens into a series of listening salons available online at http://hdl.handle.net/2429/50784 – all toward the aim of enhancing listener experience in the contemporary world, a place overwhelmed by sound and noise. It also engages the listener-reader in a process of coming-to-know acoustically, intellectually, and experientially through an open-ended process that questions rigorously and answers keenly. This is in keeping with the nature of sound, listener engagement, and how listener-to-sound relationships intersect with Heidegger’s notion of Being in the world – with awareness, rather than certitude. The methodology situates in arts-based research as living and poetic inquiry in education. Themes include writing and speaking the experience of sound, listening as Being, soundwalking and soundscape composition as research, listener-to-soundscape relationships, mentors and practitioners, the state and practice of soundscape composition, and a positioning of myself and this work within the field. As I interrogate sound, I ask about who I am in a sensate-mediated world so that a robust future of acoustic awareness, sound environments, sound art practice and scholarship avails itself to yet-to-Be initiated artists, educators, writers, composers - as well as the everyday listeners we comprise. All audio is available online at http://hdl.handle.net/2429/50784.

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