This piece derived from an October 2010 presentation at Harvard’s Sensory Ethnography Lab. In it, Steven Feld introduced three recent soundscape compositions and followed their audition with critical conversation about his work in “acoustemology,” (acoustic epistemology), sound as a way of knowing. The pieces and verbal contextualizations focused on time-space interactions and all of their historical, cultural, mental, material, and mediatized dimensions. The term “acoustemic stratigraphies” is offered to evoke the complexity of peeling back and exposing layers of experiential knowing though sound, of listening as habitus, of the poetics and politics of recording, editing, and auditing. Recorded in Hiroshima, Japan, Copenhagen, Denmark, and Accra, Ghana, the three pieces engage the acoustic mediation of what Feld calls “relational ontologies,” featuring multiple interactions of insects, bells, weather, trucks, amplification, birds, and human vocal and instrumental agencies.

Originally published in Sensate: March 2011
Archived: June 2018
Produced by: Julia Yezbick
Original format: Zeega multimedia non-linear platform
Original media tracks used to build Zeega non-linear piece below.

Podcast of full talk by Steve Feld: