Events   /  SoundS

Sonic Research

in Academia and the Arts

31 May — 1 June 2019 | PhD Conference

Pho­to © XXX

31 May — 1 June 2019 |  10 am — 6 pm 


Liet­zen­burg­er Str. 45
10789 Berlin
Room : 314


Since 2017 it is pos­si­ble to obtain a PhD in Sound Stud­ies and Son­ic Arts at the UdK Berlin. The con­fer­ence Son­ic Research in Acad­e­mia and the Arts, tak­ing place from May 31- June1, 2019 at the depart­ment of Sound Stud­ies and Son­ic Arts at the UdK Berlin, was cre­at­ed to pro­mote this pos­si­bil­i­ty to a wider audi­ence. Invit­ed are not only our own stu­dents and alum­ni but also to any­one inter­est­ed in the Son­ic Arts, Sound in New Media, Sound­scape Research, and Son­ic Research. 


In coöper­a­tion with the depart­ment of Sound in New Media at the Aal­to Uni­ver­si­ty Helsin­ki, the Depart­ment of Finnish Lan­guage and Cul­ture Research at the Uni­ver­si­ty of East­ern Fin­land in Joen­suu the con­fer­ence fea­tures sev­en PhD candidates.

The pre­sen­ta­tions and dis­cus­sions of the select­ed PhD projects pro­vides a deep­er insight into the wide range of research top­ics of this still very young dis­ci­pline to the con­fer­ence atten­dees – which can be observed through the dif­fer­ent foci of the par­tic­i­pat­ing depart­ments. While the UdK Berlin com­bines Sound Stud­ies with a focus on Son­ic Arts, Helsin­ki stress­es on Sound in New Media and Joen­suu lays the focus on Sound­scape Research.

Along­side the research project pre­sen­ta­tions, the con­fer­ence presents two dis­cus­sion rounds that offer the oppor­tu­ni­ty for intense involve­ment with cur­rent ques­tions of the study. The first pan­el is ded­i­cat­ed to Aes­thet­ic Research, a top­ic that has been in focus at the Aal­to Uni­ver­si­ty for a long time. The sec­ond and last pan­el address­es inter­na­tion­al coöper­a­tion – which has been put into prac­tice with this very con­fer­ence by Sound Stud­ies and Son­ic Arts. This pan­el con­cludes the con­fer­ence and allows for a résumé and the dis­cus­sion of how this exchange can be repeat­ed or inten­si­fied in the future.


31 May 2019

10:00 Open­ing Volk­er Straebel, Sabine Sanio
10:30 Talk Antti Iko­nen : Design­ing Sounds for a Chil­dren’s Hospital
11:30 Cof­fee Break
11:45 Talk Bern­hard Riet­brock : The Music of Alvin Lucier
12:45 Lunch Break
14:15 Talk Ida Havukainen : Posi­tions of the body in singing teaching
15:15 Pan­el Sound Stud­ies, Son­ic Arts and per­spec­tives of aes­thet­ic research with Har­ri Laak­so, Antti Iko­nen, Jacob Erik­sen, Volk­er Straebel and Sabine Sanio
16:15 Recep­tion

1 June 2019

10:00 Talk Heta Kaisto : Siren and the Imper­fect Songs of Disaster
11:00 Cof­fee Break
11:30 Talk Jacob Erik­sen : Sound­ing the Posthu­man Atti­tude — a his­tori­co-aes­thet­i­cal analy­sis of onto-epis­to­mo­log­i­cal per­spec­tives in con­tem­po­rary son­ic arts
12:30 Lunch Break
14:00 Talk Gabriel San­tander : Het­erosemio­sis and Inter­me­di­al Aspects in Peter Ablinger’s Voic­es and Piano Cycle
15:00 Cof­fee Break
15:30 Pan­el Sound Stud­ies, Son­ic Arts and per­spec­tives of inter­na­tion­al trans­discli­pli­nary coöper­a­tion with Har­ri Laak­so, Noo­ra Vikman, Bern­hard Riet­brock,  Volk­er Straebel and Sabine Sanio
17:00 End of the conference



Lec­tur­er | Sound Stud­ies and Son­ic Arts (M.A.)


Jacob Erik­sen is a sound artist and sound researcher with a M.A. in Sound Stud­ies from Berlin Uni­ver­si­ty of the Arts and a B.A. in Musi­col­o­gy with elec­tives in Phi­los­o­phy and Lit­er­a­ture from the Uni­ver­si­ty of Copen­hagen and York Uni­ver­si­ty. His focus as a sound artist and the­o­rist lays on exis­ten­tial­ism, post-struc­tural­ism and posthu­man the­o­ries. Jacob Erik­sen lives and works in Berlin, where he is part of the fac­ul­ty of the mas­ter’s pro­gram Sound Stud­ies and Son­ic arts, Berlin Uni­ver­si­ty the Arts. He also teach­es in Cul­tur­al Stud­ies at the Hum­boldt Uni­ver­si­ty of Berlin and in artis­tic research at the Rhyth­mic Music Con­ser­va­to­ry in Copenhagen.


Sounding the posthuman attitude — a historico-aesthetical analysis of onto-epistemological perspectives in contemporary sonic arts

In the recent years works of son­ic art have increas­ing­ly engaged with the notion of the posthu­man : Envi­ron­men­tal sound art ; arti­fi­cial intel­li­gence in musi­cal com­po­si­tion ; infra- and ultra­sound in elec­tron­ic music and sound instal­la­tions ; posthu­man the­o­ry in sound art con­cep­tu­al­i­sa­tion. How­ev­er, the present pro­pos­al claims, that we have always been posthu­man. This has man­i­fest­ed in var­i­ous ways through­out his­to­ry, and must there­fore to be under­stood as an atti­tude. The posthu­man atti­tude engages with and seeks beyond lim­its of human per­cep­tion, cog­ni­tion and knowl­edge. This atti­tude, I sug­gest, is to be found in con­tem­po­rary as well as in his­tor­i­cal works of son­ic arts. The orig­i­nal con­tri­bu­tion to knowl­edge of this project is to bring new per­spec­tives into the research fields of posthu­man the­o­ry and sound stud­ies by ask­ing : How does the posthu­man atti­tude man­i­fest in the son­ic arts ? How do we fos­ter an ade­quate the­o­ry of the posthu­man in the son­ic arts ? And what knowl­edge can be derived from a specif­i­cal­ly son­ic artis­tic atti­tude towards the posthuman ?




PhD can­di­date | Uni­ver­si­ty of East­ern Finland


Ida Havukainen is a PhD stu­dent in Social and Cul­tur­al Encoun­ters doc­tor­al pro­gramme in Uni­ver­si­ty of East­ern Fin­land. Grad­u­at­ed with a Mas­ter of Arts in Cul­tur­al stud­ies in 2016, major­ing in eth­no­mu­si­col­o­gy. Grad­u­at­ed with a BA in music ped­a­gogy in 2017. Forth­com­ing arti­cle in Decem­ber 2019 : “Kehon posi­tiot laulunopetuk­sen käytän­nöis­sä” (“Posi­tions of the body in singing teaching”). 


Positions of the body in singing teaching 

In this study I take a clos­er look to the Finnish singing edu­ca­tion sys­tem and its con­ven­tions in how to han­dle with a body learn­ing to sing. My study leans on phe­nom­e­no­log­i­cal the­o­ry of the human being, which empha­sizes the idea of human being as a form con­sist­ed of mind, phys­i­cal body, and a sit­u­a­tion in which it exists. I use the term body in a sense that every human being con­sists of these com­po­nents, and that no oth­er com­po­nent is any less­er than oth­er. In todays world, how­ev­er, mind plays the most impor­tant role in teach­ing and goes with music and singing teach­ing too. The bod­i­ly sen­sa­tions — for exam­ple, how does my chest feel or how does my breath­ing feel — are quite for­eign to those, who don’t lis­ten to their bod­ies and instead lis­ten only to their thoughts try­ing to make sense of every­thing in a way, that the expe­ri­ences one has, could be ver­bal­ized as quick­ly as pos­si­ble. 
The idea for this study emerges from my own back­ground as a singing stu­dent and a singing teacher. There­fore, I have cho­sen to use autoethno­graph­i­cal meth­ods along­side more tra­di­tion­al ethno­graph­ic meth­ods in this study. To accom­pa­ny this autoethno­graph­i­cal data I have com­prised some inter­view-based data with oth­er singing teach­ers and an enquiry data about expe­ri­ences of learn­ing to sing. The analy­sis of the data shows that there are two main types of teach­ing singing. These types I have named as a body-based teach­ing style and a voice-based teach­ing style. In my study I dis­cuss these styles and their rela­tion to oth­er music edu­ca­tion philoso­phies and the cur­rent state of music edu­ca­tion in the field. 



Lec­tur­er | Aal­to University


Antti Iko­nen start­ed his career in the ear­ly 1980s with­out any for­mal edu­ca­tion. He obtained skills in sound design and applied music through prac­tice in numer­ous artis­tic and com­mer­cial pro­duc­tions : con­tem­po­rary dance, the­atre, short films, radio plays, art instal­la­tions, and new media. Since 2001, he has been work­ing as a lec­tur­er of sound design and music in Media Lab Helsin­ki (Aal­to Uni­ver­si­ty). His cur­rent research han­dles audi­ble inte­ri­or design, focus­ing in ques­tions of listening.


Designing sounds for a children’s hospital

Con­tem­pla­tive lis­ten­ing is the most cru­cial skill and fun­da­men­tal method when design­ing sounds for spe­cif­ic envi­ron­ments. It is essen­tial to know the ingre­di­ents and under­stand the behav­iour of the sound­scape in ques­tion, and espe­cial­ly when using gen­er­a­tive meth­ods in (re)constructing or (re)creating a sound­scape this can­not be ful­ly achieved with­out lis­ten­ing for an extend­ed peri­od of time. Fur­ther­more, sound­scapes and aur­al inte­ri­ors can be lis­tened to in a reduced way as they were ambi­ent music.

In this talk I will intro­duce an actu­al large-scale inte­ri­or sound design project in order to delin­eate the char­ac­ter­is­tics of sound as an ele­ment, mate­r­i­al and sub­ject of dis­cus­sion in a big­ger plan­ning con­text. A new hos­pi­tal for chil­dren in Helsin­ki, Fin­land was com­plet­ed and tak­en into use in 2018. Aside from patient rooms and facil­i­ties for med­ical oper­a­tions, large areas of this hos­pi­tal are being equipped with loud­speak­ers. The loud­speak­ers are used to play a gen­er­a­tive ambi­ent sound­scape spe­cial­ly designed and tai­lored for the hos­pi­tal. While going through the project, I will con­cen­trate on the impor­tance of lis­ten­ing with­in the design process and eval­u­a­tion of the out­comes rather than going deeply into tech­ni­cal details or admin­is­tra­tive issues.



Doc­tor of Art can­di­date | Aal­to University


Heta Kaisto (MA) is a doc­tor­al stu­dent in visu­al cul­ture at Aal­to Uni­ver­si­ty School of Arts, Design and Archi­tec­ture, and cur­rent­ly work­ing as a direc­tor of Rau­ma Art Muse­um, Fin­land. She has a back­ground in art
his­to­ry, com­par­a­tive lit­er­a­ture and phi­los­o­phy, and she takes a deep inter­est in music and sound. In her prac­tice-based research she explores writ­ing as a mode of think­ing in texts, images and sounds in the con­text of post-war the­o­ry and art. As a part of her artis­tic research, she has co-writ­ten and direct­ed a radio play “A Hun­dred-year-old Night” based on archival mate­ri­als of the Finnish Civ­il War in 1918. She is about to start to work on her sec­ond project under a title “songs of disaster”.


Siren and the Imperfect Songs of Disaster

I am a writer, cura­tor and singer-song­writer from Helsin­ki, Fin­land. In my research, “in Res­o­nance, for — Writ­ing towards the Dis­as­ter” I explore through the con­cept of dis­as­ter and res­o­nance the bound­aries of writ­ing and think­ing in phi­los­o­phy. How to deal with an expe­ri­ence that is out­side the pos­si­bil­i­ties of ratio­nal meaning-making ?

With the help of writ­ers that have pushed the bound­aries of fact and fic­tion such as Mau­rice Blan­chot and PJ Har­vey, I try to write towards a lim­it expe­ri­ence of a dis­as­ter. My posi­tion is one of a theorist/artist : at the same time explor­ing the poiesis of mak­ing and the poet­ics of it. In my research sound acts as a mate­r­i­al, a rela­tion and a method. This includes for exam­ple archival inter­view mate­r­i­al on Finnish civ­il war, lis­ten­ing as a method, and a voice as sin­gu­lar­i­ty dis­rupt­ing the uni­ty and neu­tral tone of the ide­al dis­course of phi­los­o­phy. In the sem­i­nar I will focus on the lat­ter : the pos­si­bil­i­ties of a voice to con­vey think­ing of a dis­as­ter and what it could mean for me as a theorist/artist. I will base my talk on the essay “The Song of the Sirens” by Mau­rice Blanchot.



Asso­ciate Pro­fes­sor | Aal­to Univeristy


Dr. Har­ri Laak­so is Asso­ciate Pro­fes­sor of Pho­tog­ra­phy Research in the Depart­ment of Media at Aal­to Uni­ver­si­ty, Fin­land. He also works in the Depart­ment of Art and in the Depart­ment of Film, Tele­vi­sion and Scenog­ra­phy. Laak­so is an artist, researcher and cura­tor inter­est­ed in pho­to­graph­ic images and the­o­ry, artis­tic research, word/image rela­tions and audio plays. He has led and par­tic­i­pat­ed in many research projects and artis­tic projects and pub­lished texts and curat­ed exhi­bi­tions espe­cial­ly relat­ed to pho­tog­ra­phy and con­tem­po­rary art.

Research Asso­ciate | Zurich Uni­ver­si­ty of the Arts (ZHdK)

Bern­hard Riet­brock is a musi­cian, pro­duc­er and research asso­ciate at the insti­tute for music research at the Zurich Uni­ver­si­ty of the Arts (ZHdK). He is a mem­ber of the D‑A-CH research project “Hear­ing the Oth­er — an Aes­thet­ic of the Real in Exper­i­men­tal Music and Sound Art” and artis­tic direc­tor of the Ever Present Orches­tra, which is ded­i­cat­ed to the pre­sen­ta­tion of the excep­tion­al work of Alvin Luci­er. Based on his exam­i­na­tion of cur­rent philo­soph­i­cal the­o­ries on the real in the light of Lacan­ian con­cep­tu­al­iza­tion and Amer­i­can exper­i­men­tal music with a focus on Alvin Lucier’s phe­nom­e­no­log­i­cal aes­thet­ics, he inten­sive­ly works on ques­tions about the future per­spec­tives of such con­tex­tu­al­ized aes­thet­ic posi­tions, strate­gies and concepts. 


The Rest is Music. Genesis and Real-Aesthetic Interpretation of the Oeuvre of Alvin Lucier

As one of the most impor­tant rep­re­sen­ta­tives of Amer­i­can music of the sec­ond half of the twen­ti­eth cen­tu­ry, Alvin Lucier’s pio­neer­ing work is most notable for mak­ing what is nor­mal­ly inaudi­ble audi­ble, but also for his very idio­syn­crat­ic way of mak­ing the audi­ble vis­i­ble or spa­tial­ly tan­gi­ble. His exper­i­men­tal com­po­si­tions are aes­thet­ic reflec­tions that are con­stant­ly mak­ing ref­er­ence to the phe­nom­e­nol­o­gy of sound, as well as to the per­cep­tion of per­cep­tion itself. What espe­cial­ly con­tin­ues to stand out here is the con­sis­ten­cy of the min­i­mal aes­thet­ic, with which he lis­tens to the open­ness of the idea inher­ent to the site itself, far beyond the roman­ti­cism of clas­si­cal art and con­ven­tion­al music. “It seems to me that the most inter­est­ing changes are small ones, slight sub­tile changes. [...] Try­ing to get the max­i­mum infor­ma­tion out of the least con­trast.” (Luci­er, 1995) Ori­ent­ed towards Lucier’s com­po­si­tion­al devel­op­ment and by means of the real, the live-elec­tron­ic com­po­si­tions of the 60s and 70s as well as the instru­men­tal pieces from 1982 to the present are ana­lyzed and his­tor­i­cal­ly con­tex­tu­al­ized on the basis of some examples.


Lec­tur­er | Sound Stud­ies and Son­ic Arts (M.A.)


Sabine Sanio is lec­tur­er in the­o­ry at the Mas­ter’s pro­gram Sound Stud­ies and Son­ic Arts, Uni­ver­si­ty of the Arts Berlin ; stud­ied ger­man lit­er­a­ture and phi­los­o­phy, doc­tor­ate in Ger­man Stud­ies, habil­i­ta­tion in musi­col­o­gy and mem­ber of the D‑A-CH research project “Hear­ing the Oth­er — an Aes­thet­ic of the Real in Exper­i­men­tal Music and Sound Art”; numer­ous arti­cles about actu­al aes­thet­ics, media aes­thet­ics and media his­to­ry, Son­ic Arts, New and Exper­i­men­tal Music and about the rela­tion­ship between the arts — as books : Alter­na­tiv­en zur Werkäs­thetik : Cage und Heißen­büt­tel (Saar­brück­en 1999), 1968 und die Avant­garde (Sinzig 2008), as edi­tor : Sound als Zeit­mod­ell : Zeit als Klang denken (Berlin 2014), Borderlines/Auf der Gren­ze : Georg Klein (Heidelberg/Berlin 2014). In Eng­lish (in print): Audi­to­ry Mir­rors : About the Pol­i­tics of Hear­ing, con­tri­bu­tion to The Oxford Hand­book of Sound and Imag­i­na­tion, ed. M. Grimshaw, M. Walther-Hansen, and M. Knakker­gaard. Oxford UP, to appear 2019.





Gabriel San­tander grad­u­at­ed in Com­po­si­tion from the Real Con­ser­va­to­rio Supe­ri­or de Músi­ca de Madrid, after which he won the com­po­si­tion com­pe­ti­tions Flo­ra Pri­eto 2010 in Madrid and the Clang Cut Book 2013, organ­ised by KNM Berlin. He has attend­ed Com­po­si­tion cours­es with Karl­heinz Stock­hausen, Bri­an Fer­ney­hough, Michael Jar­rell and José María Sánchez Verdú, as well as Sound Stud­ies sem­i­nars at the UdK Berlin. He stud­ied in Berlin with Peter Ablinger and has researched on his work since 2010. He is cur­rent­ly Inter­im Pro­fes­sor in Com­po­si­tion at the Con­ser­va­to­rio Pro­fe­sion­al de Músi­ca Joaquín Turi­na in Madrid and Pro­fes­sor in the Musi­col­o­gy Fac­ul­ty of the Inter­na­tion­al Uni­ver­si­ty Valen­cia – VIU. He has giv­en numer­ous lec­tures on musi­cal analy­sis and com­po­si­tion­al process­es at con­ser­va­toires and fes­ti­vals in Madrid, Seville and Krakow. Togeth­er with Mar­i­ja Pen­de­va he has trans­lat­ed into Span­ish 3 books of Plays by Mace­don­ian Play­wright Goran Ste­fanovs­ki, pub­lished by the Aso­ciación de Direc­tores de Esce­na de España – ADE Teatro and fund­ed by the Euro­pean Commission’s Cre­ative Europe programme.


Heterosemiosis and Intermedial Aspects in Peter Ablinger’s Voices and Piano Cycle

This paper approach­es Peter Ablinger’s Voic­es and Piano Cycle from a semi­otic per­spec­tive by apply­ing the notion of het­erosemio­sis as intro­duced by Juan Miguel González Martínez (2007) and Elis­a­beth El Refaie (2014) in the fields of vocal music and graph­ic nar­ra­tive respec­tive­ly. I argue that Ablinger’s Voic­es and Piano might be analysed as the super­po­si­tion and cross-inter­ac­tion of dif­fer­ent semi­otic sys­tems, and that the notion of het­erosemio­sis might be fur­ther devel­oped in order to elu­ci­date the trans- and inter­me­di­al aspects of oth­er works by Ablinger in oth­er for­mat con­fig­u­ra­tions. A brief expo­si­tion of the the­o­ret­i­cal frame­work and cur­rent state of the notion of het­erosemio­sis is fol­lowed by a com­par­a­tive analy­sis of excerpts from Ablinger’s Voic­es and Piano Cycle.

Key­words : het­erosemio­sis ; het­eroglos­sia ; musi­cal analy­sis ; vocal com­po­si­tion ; phono­log­i­cal analy­sis ; phono­log­i­cal analysis.



Head of depart­ment | Sound Stud­ies and Son­ic Arts (M.A.)


Volk­er Straebel (1969) is a musi­col­o­gist focus­ing on exper­i­men­tal and elec­tro-acoustic music, sound art, inter­me­dia, per­for­mance and con­cept art. Since 2015, he has been direc­tor of the Sound Stud­ies Mas­ter pro­gram at the Berlin Uni­ver­si­ty of the Arts, after hav­ing served as direc­tor of the Elec­tron­ic Music Stu­dio at the Tech­ni­cal Uni­ver­si­ty Berlin. He has real­ized and per­formed elec­tron­ic music and inde­ter­mi­nate works by John Cage and oth­ers. His pub­li­ca­tions include pieces on sound art, media-spe­cif­ic music, John Cage, Alvin Luci­er, and Phill Niblock.


Senior Lec­tur­er | Uni­ver­si­ty of East­ern Finland


Noo­ra Vikman, is a senior lec­tur­er in eth­no­mu­si­col­o­gy and a sound­scape researcher at the Uni­ver­si­ty of East­ern Fin­land, Joen­suu. She has been inter­est­ed in acoustic ecol­o­gy and par­tic­i­pat­ed in ethno­graph­ic sound­scape research projects since the ear­ly  1990’s and direct­ed lis­ten­ing walks around the world in urban and non-urban set­tings. She has pub­lished arti­cles most­ly on themes relat­ed to sound­scapes, acoustic envi­ron­ments and music mak­ing, indi­cat­ing human nature rela­tion­ships. Her idea of silence under­stood as a mod­er­ate alter­na­tive and atmos­pher­ic aspect of sound­scape was devel­oped in the North­ern Ital­ian moun­tain vil­lage Cem­bra, where she was work­ing on her PhD in the ear­ly 2000’s. This con­cept has since lead her to design dif­fer­ent applied projects where silence is most­ly con­sid­ered ben­e­fi­cial or an asset of the par­tic­u­lar envi­ron­ment. One of them, a silence tourism project in 2013–15 with entre­pre­neurs in North­ern Kare­lia, focused on lis­ten­ing to places.