Spaces Speak, Are you listening?
November 29, 2010
In their book, Spaces Speak, Are You Listening?: Experiencing Aural Architecture
(MIT Press, 2007) Barry Blesser and Linda-Ruth Salter remind us that we experience spaces not only through visual perception but also through our auditory perception. They explore auditory spatial awareness (experiencing space by attentive listening) from a variety of perspectives: cultural, architectural, physical, sociological, political. They point out that humans can navigate a room in the dark, and “hear” the emptiness of the house without furniture. Social relationships are strongly influenced by the way that space changes sound. Every environment has an aural architecture, whose attributes contribute to the fabric of human culture. The authors assert that whether by accident or intentionally, we all function as aural architects. As visual artists, we should pay more attention to the other half of the image: sound. I think this book provides a delightful way to expand one’s awareness of the aural dimension of spaces, and it is applicable to a wide range of fields.