Tuned City Brussels – Workshops for students – by Will Schrimshaw

Workshops for students – 25/03 > 29/03/2013


Will Schrimshaw (UK): ‘The Tone of Prime Unity’
25 – 28 March 2013, Sint-Lukas • Transmedia

This workshop explores the subliminal influence of acoustic space upon citizens. Participants will explore the city as a material practice of ideology. Forming a roving pedestrian laboratory, through the use and construction of open tools and methodologies, the frequencies at which the city insinuates itself into the mind will be charted and mapped. This workshop will focus specifically upon the existence of an international “tone of prime unity” posited by R. Murray Schafer:

”In the Indian anahata and in the Western Music of the Spheres, man has constantly sought some prime unity, some central sound against which all other vibrations may be measured […] It is, however, only in the electronic age that international tonal centers have been achieved; in countries operating on an alternating current of 60 cycles, it is this sound which now provides the resonant frequency, for it will be heard (together with its harmonics) in the operation of all electrical devices from lights and amplifers and generators.” (1994, 98-9)

Schafer’s tone of prime unity describes the determination of a collective sonic unconscious through the acoustical impressions of electricity. Schafer optimistically interprets this as the foundation of a community of listening subjects bound by fundamentals established by the `electric revolution’ (Schafer: 1994, 89-99). This workshop begins with a more ambiguous interpretation of Schafer’s discovery of the “tone of prime unity”, understanding it to be an example of the influential capacity of acoustic space, its ability to subliminally inform and individuate.
This workshop will make use of the following methods: Pedestrian Research: A mongrel, undisciplined practice combining philosophy and computing in the pursuit of a concrete epidemeology of concepts on foot. Archaeoacoustics: the decoding and study of acoustical events and utterances impressed upon physical artifacts.`

‘Radio atmospheres’ – RITS
Felicity Ford/Valeria Merlini (UK+IT/D)
Udo Noll (D)

‘Interpretation models’ – Sint Lucas Architectuur
Nikolaus Gansterer (AT)
Will Shrimshaw (UK)

‘Resonant City’ – Q-O2
Christina Kubisch (D)
Sarah van Sonsbeeck (NL)