Gascia Ouzounian, 28 May 2015

Title of the Talk: Hearing with Two Ears at Once

When? Thursday 28 May 2015 (17:00-18:30)

Where? Ertegun House, St Giles, University of Oxford

Speaker: Gascia Ouzounian (Lecturer and Head of Performance Studies, School of Creative Arts, Queen’s University Belfast)

Abstract: We take for granted that hearing is a spatial and directional phenomenon, and that ‘space’ can be described in acoustic terms. However, in the late-nineteenth century the concepts of binaural audition and acoustic space were widely contested in medicine, psychology, and philosophy. This paper will examine a century of conceptual, technological, scientific and musical developments from 1850- 1950 that led to the emergence of ‘spatial music’ in the mid-twentieth century. It will draw upon medical and musical literature, newspapers and magazines, trade journals and advertisements to show how music became spatialised, especially in connection to sound reproduction and transmission technologies.

Speaker Biography: Gascia Ouzounian’s work is focused upon experimental traditions in music and sound art after 1950. Her writings appear in numerous peer-reviewed journals and edited volumes including Music, Sound & Space (ed. Born, Cambridge University Press). Particular areas of interest include sound installation art, site-specific sound, spatial sound, and the intersection of experimental music, visual art, and sound art. With architect Dr Sarah Lappin, Gascia co-leads the research group Recomposing the City: Sonic Art & Urban Architectures. In 2013 she founded Optophono, a label for interactive music and sound art.

Gascia holds degrees in music technologies and performance from McGill University, where she was a student of violinist Denise Lupien, and a PhD in critical studies/experimental practices in music from the University of California, San Diego, where she was a University Humanities Fellow. She leads the performance studies programme in the School of Creative Arts at Queen’s, where she teaches performance, contemporary music, and experimental music and sound art.

Image source can be accessed here.


Event hosted as part of the Seminar in Ethnomusicology and Sound Studies Series, based at St John’s College, University of Oxford.

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