“Inside Knowledge” conference

 Project           “super sonic sound scape shoes”

during   “Inside Knowledge” conference, ASCA      

(Amsterdam School of Cultural Analysis, University of Amsterdam)

ASCA International Workshop Inside Knowledge: (Un)doing Methodologies, Imagining Alternatives, March 28-30-2007, on invitation of Pieter Verstraete.

The red woollen “super sonic sound scape shoes” installation is an experimental, multi-sensorial and tactile soundsculpture. This interactive installation was presented during the ASCA International Workshop “Inside Knowledge” at the University of Amsterdam and it was open to both the conference participants and a more general audience.

The installation reproduces a narratively composed soundscape that was purposefully designed for the context of the conference. The “Inside Knowledge” soundscape could be experienced as a representation of a ‘soundwalk’ through the ASCA building, through corridors, classrooms, the library, until it ends ‘being inside’ the knowledge of two lectures with a reading about the grain of voice (Roland Barthes) and a discussion on sound habitats.


In conjunction to  the artist statement:  “we can be more aware of our being sound performers in our own sound habitat”; the installation aims at triggering a higher state of attention for a sound habitat, a feeling of “being there”, triggering aural associations and expectations, corporeal and sensory memories and bodily sensations. By standing within the “super sonic sound scape shoes” visitors could experience sound as vibrations under their feet and traveling through their bodies. When sitting down, they could partly regulate the sensations; when slightly changing the position of the shoes, they could change their own “multi sensorial hearing perspective”.  (read)

During the conference, the “super sonic sound scape shoes”- installation was accessible in a kind of  ‘laboratory’-setting’.

Several participants of the workshop and students from different countries and disciplines visited the laboratory. This contemplative space gave them the possibility to concentrate on their own bodily experiences of the installation. Each visitor was kindly asked to give written or spoken feedback afterwards. There was also the opportunity to talk with the artist or other people in the laboratory sharing experiences, associations, memories and discussing ideas.

Some reactions:
“you have certain expectations of how shoes behave and than when the sound comes out of the shoes you try to find  how to relate to it, using the movements of the shoes, but  than I found myself more and more quiet and more and more sort of absorbing the sounds, so rather than considering of the shoes expecting me to go somewhere, they were just like a different kind of platform that you have to let the music come in to you  and  than you have sort of new unexpected associations with sound coming from the soles of your feet and coming  up through  your legs to the top which is like an inverse direction of what you normally expect; sound is common almost like an intellectual processing, kind of thing that goes on from your brain down to the rest of your body, like you know you listen to it first and than you dance … but her it is almost of the dance comes first and than you listen” (E.T. Researcher social science, NL)     

“because the sounds came from around the shoes I felt like the shoes were a kind of portal enter, a space that was under the ground where these spaces like corridors or these spaces in the recording where; as if everything was happening ten feet underground” ( J., artist, UK)

“great to feel sounds by other organs than my ears – and to stand on them”  ( J.S., scientific assistant, Germany)

“each vibration took some attention; It would be interesting to follow classes with these boots on; that the sounds come through the boots, I really got more focused because of the vibrations, maybe because it’s new. (M.v.G.student  Music science, NL)

“because the sounds  sounds so distance as if you’re in some- one’s head but not being the person but the person within the person; so you get the information through this person while you are part of it at the same time; so you are inside the knowledge but not having the knowledge” (R.F. PHD student)

      soundscape composition:  “Inside Knowledge”            30:14 min.

The total soundscape could be experienced as a ‘soundwalk’ through the ASCA-building: through corridors, spaces, visiting the library and college and at the end being inside the knowledge of two college’s having a reading about the grain of voice and soundhabitat in a way conceptualizing the first parts of the soundscape.  

The first part: walking through corridors, spaces, and feeling the sounds of old instruments  (of apartment of musicology): a emerging imaginative, sometimes rhythmic soundscape triggering bodily sensations and bodily memories.   

  (sample first part)

The middle part: visiting the library, the introduction of a somewhat authoritarian alienating voice talking about bodily knowledge: ‘you are walking without moving’,’you are walkreading’,‘knowing through the body inside, outside’ triggering a cognitive rethinking of the experience in that moment.   

  (sample middle part)

The last part: entering an office with two colleges P. and C. having a reading about an  “Inside knowledge”- essay and talking about: way’s of listening, being open for the known and the unknown, soundscape and sound-habitat, the grain of the voice: appealing the rational and the physical at the same time.  While standing in the “super sonic sound scape shoes” the voices of the man and woman can be felt at both feet in combination with emerging background sounds at the end.

  (sample last part)

special thanks to Pieter Verstraete, Carolyn Birdsall, Chiel Kattenbelt, Eloe Kingma,  ASCA-students and all participants. This workshop / presentation is kindly sponsored by the NWO (Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research).