Spaces with Ears: Acoustic Ecology Beyond the Body


  • Ivy Fu Oberlin College and Conservatory


Spaces with Ears is an ongoing project that examines the ambiguity between the speaker and the listener in the current age. Today, ownership of body and self is day by day sieged by ultra-sensitive spaces designed to perceive what we are unaware of, creating a feedback loop of redefining reality. This article explores intelligent systems that are made to listen, in which the only sound one hears
is a learnt response of the sound one produced, and through which no transfer of energy nor content is initiated except for that which feeds back into itself. Re-examining the processes, function, and meaning of sound in the present age, this paper seeks to discuss a form of acoustic ecology that's closely interfaced with today's complex sonic reality, which often exists in transgressive terms far beyond the boundaries of the body. In recursive processes, the ears invert out as the only sounding instrument and the vocal cord implodes in the attempt of speaking; within the infinite noise of feedback, we become the body without organs of Deleuze and Guatarri's fable. Along with soundscapes of urban and cyberspace reforms, the source and focal point of these longstanding vibrations are analyzed, as well as ways in which we can listen with a better understanding of our sonic agency and the ears in the room.