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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Listening in Place

  • Author(s): Dombroski, John
  • Advisor(s): Cartwright, Lisa
  • Trigilio, Michael
  • et al.

The artwork described in this thesis suggests that we consider every sensory experience an active tuning of our senses and ourselves in relation to each other and the world. Through a series of interactive sound and light installations composed of microphones, audio cables, a piano, contact speakers, wind chimes, a camera obscura, a sound score, and the body of the artist’s car, this work emphasizes the interrelated nature of human existence and experience within the many contexts of a given site. Each work suggests reflection on the many systems in which our perceptions are embedded socially, physiologically, and phenomenologically. Each work is tuned to human presence in relation to context, specifically the UCSD MFA Main Gallery and the convention of the thesis itself.

As installation of this exhibition was made impossible by the COVID-19 pandemic, this document outlines the aforementioned exhibition as a score to be realized and also describes an ongoing photo series, live binaural performance, and site-specific music performance made in the artist’s home and broadcast online during the “shelter in place” mandate. These works parallel core conceptual trajectories from the thesis: reorienting perspectives on the overlooked aspects of home and everyday space, and toward the significance of listening and sincere experience in relation to site, place, and others. This work strives to sensitize every aspect of embodied experience to the poetics of the familiar.

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