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Listening Together, Making Place

  • Katharine Norman (a1)

In this paper I examine metaphors of place and place making, with reference to the phenomenological tradition and in particular Edward S. Casey, in relation both to sound-based music and art concerned with environment, and to listening and environmental sound. I do so in order to consider how aspects of place-making activity might be incorporated in aurally perceived works, and elicited in listeners, so that we might perhaps achieve a greater sense of ‘connectedness’ to sound-based music and art that is itself about – in some way – our connectedness to the environment. Three works, by Feld, Monacchi and López, form the basis for investigation.

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Casey, E.S. 1996. How to Get from Space to Place in a Fairly Short Stretch of Time: Phenomenological Prolegomena. In S. Feld and K. Basso (eds.) Senses of Place. Santa Fe: School of American Research Press (also available at, accessed 20 January 2012).
Casey, E.S. 1997. The Fate of Place: A Philosophical History. Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press.
Dunn, D. 1997. Sound Art and the Sacred., accessed 1 January 2012 (originally published in TERRA NOVA, Nature & Culture 2(3)).
Feld, S. 2001. Rainforest Soundwalks: Ambiences of Bosavi, Papua New Guinea. Earth Ear ee1062 2001. Online extracts available at, accessed 17 July 2012.
Feld, S. 2005. Places Sensed, Senses Placed. In D. Howes (ed.) Empire of the Senses. Oxford and New York: Berg.
Ingold, T. 2000. The Perception of the Environment: Essays in Livelihood, Dwelling and Skill. Abingdon: Routledge.
López, F. 1998a. La Selva. V2_Archief, The Netherlands. Extract available at, accessed 1 January 2012.
López, F. 1998b. Environmental Sound Matter. (essay reproduced at the liner notes to La Selva), accessed 1 January 2012.
Merleau-Ponty, M. 1962. The Phenomenology of Perception, trans. C. Smith. New York: Humanities Press.
Monacchi, D. 2009. Integrated Ecosystem, a composition from Fragments of Extinction project (more information at Pilot parts of this project are recorded on Monacchi, D. 2007. Prima Amazonia – Portraits of Acoustic Biodiversity. Wild Sanctuary WSI-056.
Monacchi, D. 2011. Recording and Representation in Eco-Acoustic Composition. In J. Rudi (ed.) Soundscape in the Arts (Soundscape I kunsten). Oslo: NOTAM – Norwegian Center for Technology in Music and the Arts.
Norman, K. 1996. Realworld Music as Composed Listening. Contemporary Music Review 15(1–2). Also available at, accessed 1 January 2012.
Norman, K. 2004. Sounding Art (Eight Literary Excursions through Electronic Music. Aldershot: Ashgate Publications. Extracts available at
Norman, K. 2011. Beating the Bounds for Ordinary Listening (keynote speech, World Forum for Acoustic Ecology conference, 2011)., accessed 1 January 2012.
Palombini, C. 2001. Interview: Steven Feld on Rainforest Soundwalks., accessed 1 January 2012.
Santayana, G. 1955. Scepticism and Animal Faith: Introduction to a System of Philosophy. New York: Courier Dover Publications.
Whitehead, A.N. 1978. Process and Reality: Corrected Edition, ed. David Ray Griffin and Donald Sherburne. New York: Free Press [originally published in 1929].
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Organised Sound
  • ISSN: 1355-7718
  • EISSN: 1469-8153
  • URL: /core/journals/organised-sound
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