Sound as an Object in Space: Interpreting Space through Sound and Performance


This paper was written for Space – the Real and the Abstract PhD conference at the School of Art and Design, University of Wolverhampton, The Centre of Art, Design, Research and Experimentation (CADRE)

July 5th – 6th 2010


The paper will consider how sound can be experienced as an object in space and the possible roles of the performer as a creative interpreter of spaces. Touching on Alvin Lucier’s seminal sound piece of 1969 ‘I am sitting in a room’, reference will be made to histories, associations and memories, acoustic properties and the physicality of the space. The ‘space’ of the instrument will be considered and also the notion that the extended and prepared instrument as discussed by John Cage in 1940 can take the experience further.

With reference to Nattiez in Music and Discourse, Toward a Semiology of Music, and his use of Peircian semiotics to consider theories on meaning in sound, the particular spaces and sounds that have featured in my own performance practices will be elaborated upon.