Audio Architecture Talks was a series of lively conversations and especially commissioned performance-exchanges with some of the world’s best-known artists, sound designers and architects on the theme of cities and sound. Hamer Hall’s redevelopment was a the celebration of a new meeting point for sound, architecture and design. To unpack this distinctive 'handshake' of disciplines, we brought together artists, sound makers, theorists and architects to consider questions such as: Can we ‘build’ with sound? How does urban ‘noise’ feed into Hamer Hall and how do the sounds created at Hamer Hall feed the city? Can physical spaces, like the Hall, have sonic memories, and can we listen to the past, today? What if we could turn urban sounds on and off? How can design help us to listen? Across a half-day symposium with local, interstate and international speakers, we explored the sonic qualities and ‘personality’ of both the Hall and the city and considered how can we creatively use sound to make better spaces.
Audio Architecture Talks was for designers, architects, artists and all those interested in exploring the sonic qualities of space and the relationship between sound and the built environment.
Audio Architecture Talks was chaired by highly-respected architectural commentator and Competition Adviser for the Flinders Street Station Design Competition, Andrew MacKenzie.
New York-based architect JOEL SANDERS was in in Melbourne as the keynote speaker for Audio Architecture. An entertaining and impassioned speaker, Sanders has a keen understanding of the history of acoustics in architecture, the changing relationship between place, space and sound and projects that might help us to become more attuned to the world around us. Sanders is an Adjunct Professor at the Yale School of Architecture, he has taught at Princeton and at the Parsons School of Design. His work has featured in exhibitions at the Vitra Design Museum, San Francisco MOMA, the Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum and the Museum of Modern Art in New York.
Canadian sound artist JANET CARDIFF. Famous for her highly-sensorial audio walks, Cardiff weaves emotional, suspenseful and intriguing narratives using the power of sound and technology. Cardiff was in conversation via Skype about her work and how the creative use of sound can transform everyday spaces.
Legendary multi-channel soundscape composer BARRY TRUAX joined Audio Architecture for both a skype interview and a performance of his inimitable sound works. One of the original members of the pioneering World Soundscape Project – a study into the relationship between humans and their sonic environment –Truax is best known for his computer music system compositions and work with sampling. Truax, who is based in Canada, is also a Professor at Simon Fraser University and author of a book on Acoustic Communication. RMIT’s Lawrence Harvey – a specialist in the design, composition and direction of diverse spatial sound projects – has been working with Truax to perform his work in Melbourne for Audio Architecture.
Sydney-based sonic artists SUPER CRITICAL MASS (SCM) create experiences to do just that: assembling swarms of musicians who, through their collective play and movement, radically transform audiences’ experience of space. With only simple instructions to follow while playing identical instruments, SCM musicians evocatively immerse audiences in their flash-mob style performances. SCM created a special ‘mass’ performance and lecture, site specific to Audio Architecture.
IAN MCDOUGALL (Ashton Raggatt McDougall) and THOMAS SCELO (Marshall Day Acoustics). Audio Architecture presented a special opportunity to learn more about the redevelopment of this historical and much-loved site from both architectural and acoustic perspectives. The auditorium, a pre-computer design, has been completely reworked with the injection of advanced materials, approved acoustics and new technologies. Post-development, however, little in the auditorium appears as if it has changed. Both McDougall and Scelo see themselves in a dialogue with site’s original architect and interior designer, Roy Grounds and John Truscott. They discussed how they listened to Hamer Hall, what responses they received, and what improvements they made so that Hamer Hall is better understood as being part of the surrounding city.
Well-known artists PHILIP SAMARTZIS and STEPHEN BRAM with curator/theorist KRISTEN SHARP joined forces for the first time for Audio Architecture. All three are fascinated with relationships between natural and constructed spaces – whether it be urban city space, interiors or in the case of Samartzis, the wide open zones of Antarctica. In their presentation, the Sonic City, Samartzis, Bram and Sharp created a live performance-exchange using image, sound recordings and conversation.
• Program Opens, Introductions
SESSION 1 -
• Interview with JANET CARDIFF via Skype
SESSION 2 -
• Interview with BARRY TRUAX via Skype
• Afternoon Tea
SESSION 3 -
• Performance by SUPER CRITICAL MASS
SESSION 4 -
• Live lecture by SUPER CRITICAL MASS
SESSION 5 -
• Live interview with Ian McDougall (ARM) and
Thomas Scelo (Marshall Day Acoustics)
SESSION 6 -
• BARRY TRUAX composition performed by
SESSION 7 -
• The Sonic City by PHILIP SAMARTZIS, STEPHEN BRAM and KRISTEN SHARP
SESSION 8 -
• Live lecture by JOEL SANDERS
• Program Close