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The Anxious Ear

The Anxious Ear

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The Anxious Ear

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  1. The Anxious Ear Aural Experience and German Modernity ICS Lecture :: October 2013 Ted Rippey

  2. listen

  3. You are present in a soundscape Just as, in visual perception, we see things where they are, out there in space; so it is with listening. We hear voices in space; we are affectively struck by them because we, by virtue of our physical presence in space, are modified by the voices we hear. Gernot Böhme, “Die Stimme im leiblichen Raum” (The Voice in Bodily Space), 2008 Like a landscape, a soundscape is simultaneously a physical environment and a way of perceiving that environment; it is both a world and a culture constructed to make sense of that world. Emily Thompson, The Soundscape of Modernity, 2002

  4. A speaking machine wolfgang von kempelen, 1780s

  5. A speaking machine (book published in 1791)

  6. A speaking machine Voice or noise? You cannot believe, dear friend, what a strange sensation that this, the first hearing of a human voice and human speech that apparently did not come from a human body, triggered in all of us. We looked at each other, speechless and shocked. Afterward, we admitted openly to each other that, in that first moment, a furtive shiver crept over us. Correspondent to the Teutsche Merkur, October 1784. Kempelen could have succeeded in obtaining the four letters D, G, K, T, but by using a P instead of them and modifying the sound in a particular manner, he contrived to deceive the ear by a tolerable resemblance of these letters. David Brewster, Letters on Natural Magic, 1833. The speaking was so deceptive that the eye had to follow the ear. Even when one turned away, the face involuntarily turned back to the machine. Friedrich Wolff, translator’s introduction to German version of Brewster’s Letters, 1833.

  7. A speaking machine resonance and reason in contention

  8. the art of listening Adam müller, 1810s

  9. the age of quill and desk Adam Müller When a nation’s collected affairs of state are managed with a quill; when all great minds that stir within a nation and seek to seize it or move it find a desk at their disposal, not a pulpit; when the holiest, most sublime ideas can never strike directly upon the nation’s heart, through the power that nature instilled in the human breast and the human voice; then how can one speak of eloquence in Germany? (Adam Müller, Twelve Lectures on Eloquence and Its Decline in Germany, 1812)

  10. speaker vs. listener Adam Müller In the moment that the orator speaks alone, without the opponent; as soon as the oratory fails to include all the arguments of the adversary; in that moment, the orator no longer masters his task and is thus no longer sure of victory. Every true speech is thus a conversation. Through the mouth of the orator two must speak: the speaker and the opponent. (Adam Müller, Twelve Lectures on Eloquence and Its Decline in Germany, 1812)

  11. blätter Adam Müller How can one posit that the ear, of its own volition, will be appropriately edified and trained in these times, when nothing remains from the sound of oratory, from the abundance of life, from the boom and bluster of all the deeds of citizens; nothing, that is, but a monotone rustling of book-pages that recalls the monotone rustling of leaves in autumn after the beautiful tumult of an earlier season? (Adam Müller, Twelve Lectures on Eloquence and Its Decline in Germany, 1812)

  12. the art of listening Adam müller, 1810s Müller envisions a national community of speakers and listeners, physically connected by oration and resonating together. The state of media and technology makes this community impossible in real time: print must serve as the medium of national conversation.

  13. Acoustician on a Cliff Herrmann von helmholtz, 1850s

  14. Acoustician on a Cliff Hermann von helmholtz I allude to the composition of many different systems of waves, as they pass over one another, each undisturbed, pursuing its own path. We can watch it from a parapet of any bridge spanning a river, but it is most complete and sublime when viewed from a cliff beside the sea. It is then rare not to see innumerable systems of waves, of various length, propagated in various directions. The longest come from the deep sea and dash against the shore. Where the boiling breakers burst, shorter waves arise, and run back towards the sea. Perhaps a bird of prey darting after a fish gives rise to a system of circular waves, which, rocking over the undulating surface, are propagated with the same regularity as on the mirror of an inland lake.

  15. Acoustician on a Cliff Hermann von helmholtz Now, just in the same way you must conceive the air of a concert hall or ballroom traversed in every direction, and not merely on the surface, by a variegated crowd of intersecting wave-systems. From the mouths of the male singers proceed waves of six to twelve feet in length; from the lips of the female singers dart shorter waves, from eighteen to thirty-six inches long. The rustling of silken skirts excites little curls of air, each instrument in the orchestra emits its peculiar waves, and all these systems expand spherically from their respective centers, dart through each other, are reflected from the walls of the room, and thus rush backwards and forwards, until they succumb to the greater force of newly generated tones. Helmholtz, On the Physiological Causes of Harmony in Music (1857)

  16. in other words, they photographed soundtri-ergon group, 1920s

  17. in other words, they photographed soundtri-ergon group, 1920s

  18. klangbildklangfilm system Euronor speaker1930s

  19. klangbild Eduard Rhein, 1930 A major Berlin theater recently decided to enlist the assistance of musically trained specialists in determing the best elevation at which to locate its speakers. For the initial test, the speakers were placed at floor level. Once the test film ran, all were in consensus that it was crucial to relocate the speakers to a mid-screen elevation. Next came the rattle of chains and a general tumult from behind the screen. Then the test-film was run again, and all were in agreement that the sound quality had improved markedly. As the technician raised the screen, it became clear that the speakers had remained on the floor. Large speakers have a tendency to shoot high tones straight ahead, such that audience members on floor level have the sense of a sound-image shooting over them, while those in the side balconies sense it moving past and beneath them. Rhein, “Liegt es an den Lautsprechern?” (Is It the Loudspeakers’ Fault?), 1930

  20. klangbild/tonphotographie Robert Beyer, 1930 The purpose of sound-photography lies not in the reproduction of the original naturalness of a sonic situation, rather, as the word photography already suggests, in sound’s representation as image. Any image rests on a clear demarcation of its subject matter from its exterior. A picture stands with strict borders in our space as a field of vision that is shaprly delimited, vis-à-vis our own. In the acoustic realm, it is ambient (spatial) sound that takes over this framing function. Only when the process of sound-photography excises spatial soundfrom our reality, along with the voice, can we speak of the representation of sound as image.

  21. klangbild/tonphotographie Robert Beyer, 1930 At one point, at the time of shooting, there were four walls, to which voice and instruments stood in perspectival relation. What addresses us now in reproduction [i.e. in the cinema auditorium –TR] is a translation of measurable spatial relations into sounding reality, into a sound-image that frames the voices and demarcates itself in relation to us. Our relationship with sound is thus fundamentally altered. We are no longer participants, physically connected to the voice itself. Rather, we are separated from the voice as never before. We can say that there is no distance between the voice and us, the listeners, that would be expressible in meters. We can now only speak of a distance to a system of reference, a perspective within a resonant, encompassing spatial image. Beyer, “Raumton und Tonphotographie” (Spatial Sound and Sound Photography), 1930.

  22. klangbild Sound converted to signal, signal back to sound; a consumable product in a media-based sensory economy; an image before and all around the listener. Tricky to pin down not only because it cannot be seen or touched, but also because it hinges on a constantly reconfiguring interplay of technological manipulation on one hand and the expectations that frame perception on the other.

  23. make noise, not speech Siegfried Kracauer [T]he real possibilities of the audio-visual film lie in the representation and formation of a reality heretofore uncaptured by all known means, a reality that has never spoken on stage. [Sound film should] free the unintentional noise of the street to intervene in our world. . . . Sound film will first realize its purpose when it opens up an existence that we did not know before, all the resonance and noise around us that has never communicated with visual impressions and always escaped the senses. Kracauer, “Tonbildfilm” (Sound-Image-Film, 1928)

  24. make noise, not speech Siegfried Kracauer Articulate discourse: verbal language, speech, conventional production of meaning Inarticulate discourse: silent moving image sequences (Bilderrede), configured non-speech sounds, noise A pure sound-film? Walter Ruttmann, Weekend

  25. voice as fugitive sound

  26. du, Betty

  27. And now it is time to Funk

  28. the microphone performs an analysis

  29. the microphone performs an analysisAdalbert Forstreuter 1930s The head is its own resonance chamber, and as a result, a human being cannot have the image [Bild] of his or her own voice within. In addition, the technical sophistication of the microphone allows it to capture the sound-image in a more sensitive manner than that of the ear. The microphone over-registers, expanding and intensifying certain sound-elements. As Fischer says, the microphone performs an analysis that goes so far as to make correspondences between acoustics and the mind consciously perceptible, correspondences that in everyday conversation remain beneath the surface of consciousness. Forstreuter, “Rufer und Hörer in schöpferischer Gemeinschaft: akustischer und seelischer Raum der Sprache, vom Funk her gesehen” (Speaker and Listener in Creative Communion: The Acoustic and Mental Space of Language, from a Radio Perspective), 1934.

  30. the microphone performs an analysisAdalbert Forstreuter 1930s One must find one’s way into the ultra-violet range of one’s speech-scale. Now, after years of silence, the experience of the voice must have the significance of an original creation. Forstreuter, “Rufer und Hörer in schöpferischer Gemeinschaft: akustischer und seelischer Raum der Sprache, vom Funk her gesehen” (Speaker and Listener in Creative Communion: The Acoustic and Mental Space of Language, from a Radio Perspective), 1934.

  31. EARS ONLY / URBILDVerweyen

  32. EARS ONLY / URBILDVerweyen When one is a concentrated listener, completely dedicated to the heard voice, then one is not subject to the disturbance and distraction of the theater auditorium, those gestures and expressions aimed at the players, the stage, or the general suroundings. Where only the ear perceives, the apprehension of the originary image [Urbild] is made easier. In concert halls: Instead of listening with eyes closed, the majority of the audience looks constantly at the director, the musicians, and the singers, preventing the pure registry of the sound-images [Klangbilder]. Johannes Verweyen, “Die seelische Haltung des Rundfunkhörers” (The Mental Posture of the Radio Listener), 1933.

  33. POLITIK / HALTUNG e. kurt fischer, 1934 Real politics, which can become the core of a whole picturing of the world [Weltbild], is something totally different from a technique of struggle against external and internal enemies. Rather, it is the art of mastering al spheres of life within a people [Volk] and between peoples. Politics, as we understand it, is the fierce, fundamental posture [Grundhaltung] of all people belonging to a national community [Volksgemeinschaft], directed to a clear, common purpose. Fischer, “Unser Ziel: Totalität des Rundfunkprogramms” (Our Goal: Total Radio Programming), 1934

  34. How are you listening? I remember the days when we tested out the first radio we ever had in our home. As we caught the first sound waves, as our headphones conveyed to us for the first time those sounds that rushed to us at the speed of thought, we put out the lights and listened out into the distant ether, devoutly, until we met the singer who gifted us those sounds. And for a long time after, we still had great excitement within us, and all around us was the deep stillness of the immense experience. Wilhelm Blanke, “Hörst du richtig?” (Are You Listening the Right Way?), 1934.

  35. screams in the street siegfried kracauer, 1930 The screams distinguish themselves [zeichnen sich dadurch aus] by the fact that one never learns their source. Today I suspect that it is not the people in these streets who scream, but the streets themselves. When they can no longer bear it, they scream their emptiness. But I don’t exactly know. [In the emptiness] an agitation accumulates that, were it forced into visibility, would have to resemble a raging zig-zag army of sewing-pattern lines [Schnittmuster].

  36. schnittmuster

  37. bird’s•eye listening joseph roth The noise of the city has no personal aspect. From above, it is a monochrome tangle of voices. The sharp blade of a shrill car horn grinds itself blunt on the jagged snarl of all the other sounds. A youthful whistle is strangled by the clumsy, massive creaking of a metal-armored truck. Up here, the sounds grow into one another, coalescing like a swarm of bees. Roth, “Aus der Vogelschau” (Bird’s-Eye View, 1923)

  38. noisecast in print: feuilleton Joseph Roth There are only one hundred hours until the end. Were I to stay, I would take on the physiognomy of the megaphone that offers various announcements to the public in this madhouse. It is actually miraculous that these people still look like human beings. They really should appear as megaphones, as screams, as brutal appetites, as beer-ecstasy, as bicycles, as blind desires, as decadent barbarism. There, where the razor-edge of the floodlight’s cone cuts the shadow, millions of dust-particles are at work. When the scream of the crowd erupts, the particles are thrown into disorder: tumult, chaos, fear invade the predictably circular, dancelink flightpaths of the dust-specks—so formidable is the percussion of the atmosphere. Sometimes the cyclone of ecstasy throws the firmly joined rows of people into disarray, shrill female voices, disavowing the adage of the fairer sex, whip sawlike through the tamped-down sound-mass of male bass, and one is seized by a compelling image of mythological furies come to life. Roth, “Das XIII. Berliner Sechstagerennen” (The Thirteenth Berlin Six-Day Race), 1925.

  39. noisecast in print: feuilleton Joseph Roth Roth recorded, mixed, edited, and played back via the feuilleton. He generated a Klangbild that can roar through the reader’s head, even as it remains perfectly still and silent on the page. Textual capture of environs and listening practices.

  40. hellnoise / merry christmas joseph roth (on Goebbels): It is he who is not only charged with command of the loudspeaker, but has also become the loudspeaker personified. “Das Propaganda des Dritten Reiches” (The Propaganda of the Third Reich), 1938 What is one supposedly able to say in this Höllenlärm? In this Christmas season? … Where should one get the courage to extend holiday wishes to a neighbor? Acoustics itself is disrupted to the extent that one can no longer be sure that a blessing will not sound like its opposite. “Am Ende ist das Wort” (At the End, There is the Word), 1938

  41. urpod:anxious?

  42. I’m done. This is your opportunity to audibilize your positive or negative response.