Sound, Storytelling and Architecture

An upcoming presentation at the club Sinema Old School in Singapore will feature a film by Mike Kowalski about sound and storytelling. According to the brief:

“This presentation will explore how sound can be used creatively in film to expressively tell the story. One of the main themes of the presentation is that by applying an understanding of the principles of psycho-acoustics and human perception to the sound design process we will not only create better sounding films but also films that are more expressive and engaging.”

"Tidens naturlære" 1903 af Poul la C...

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Exploring the importance of sound and storytelling reminds me of Juhani Pallasmaa’s book The Eyes of the Skin. Examining architecture and the five senses, the book disusses the devaluation of the five senses and we have become an increasingly ocular-centric culture. One part deals with architecture and hearing/sound and she points out that sound reinforces and enriches the visual experiences and that space is understood as much through its echo as it is visually.

In Atmospheres, by Peter Zumthor, one section of the lecture is entitled The Sound of a Space:

“Listen! Interiors are like large instruments, collecting sound, amplifying it, transmitting it elsewhere. That has to do with the shape peculiar to each room and with the surfaces of the materials they contain, and the way those materials have been applied”

The film project and writings described pose interesting opportunities of enriching architecture through sound and storytelling. Further, one can cite the close tie of sound and storytelling as for several millennia cultural transmission and storytelling were performed largely through auditory means. With such an evolutionary and historical bias towards hearing, there is a wealth of opportunity to be tapped.

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