Sound Check

The organizers of the free Sonic Fragments Sound Art Festival and Symposium taking place this weekend (March 28-29) at Princeton University seek to remind you of the importance of sound. Organizers Betsey Biggs and Seth Cluett's curatorial statement opens with the observation that we develop our sense of hearing in-utero, arguing that, "For the rest of our lives, hearing essentially precedes the rest of the sensorium, as we move through a world of sonic fragments which affect us phenomenally and emotionally but of which we are often unaware." The micro-fest features the participation of thirty international artists and scholars who will discuss sound in panels and who have made new audio works for portable players that are site-specific to the Princeton campus, its architectural history, and topography. At the beginning of the session, conference-goers can check out one of thirty iPods and corresponding maps, to take a self-guided tour of the projects. Later, panels with participants including Jon Brumit, Tianna Kennedy, Thomas Y. Levin, Mendi + Keith Obadike, Ed Osborn, Stephen Vitiello, and others will take on the topics of sonic narration and mediation. The idea is to again emphasize the paramount importance of sound in telling our own stories and helping us decipher the world. If this truism reverberates like old news to you, consider yourself among the aurally enlightened. Meanwhile, events such as these make great strides in bringing together artists and scholars across disciplines to communicate about this otherwise fragmented field. - Marisa Olson