Symposium on Reembodied Sound & Festival of Transducer-based Music and Sonic Art

General Programming

  • Computer Music Department, Columbia
  • Sound Arts, Columbia
  • Center for Ethnomusicology
  • Center for Science and Society
  • Matthew Goodheart, Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow, Department of Music

This interdisciplinary symposium is designed to address the increasing use of transducers by young creative artists in music and sonic art, a subject which has received scant attention as a unified practice. While transducers have been used by artists since their inception, the last ten years have seen an increasing prevalence of surface speakers or “sound exciters” in musical composition and sound installation. These transducers are essentially coneless speakers designed to attach to any smooth surface, thereby turning the object to which they are attached to into a speaker itself. In essence, sound is taken from its original source and “reembodied” into a new object (or recursively back into the original source) such as metal sheet, gong, piano, or other resonant object, often with the addition of mixed synthesis and other computer-based processes. Among the issues to be investigated during this symposium are: Does this growing trend represent an emerging practice, one that could be seen as parallel to, or perhaps in opposition to, the use of loudspeakers? Are there shared aesthetic concerns among the artists? Do the practitioners of “reembodied sound” constitute a community, and can this community be put into a historical context? Are there standardized practices or pedagogies that can be utilized by artists and researchers using this technology? How does engineering and technical design influence this artistic investigation?