What is an urban acoustic planner, or an urban sound designer? Situated between the fields of contemporary sound art, experimental architecture, and sensorial urbanism, the concept of working with sound as a part of the designed urban environment has been an active topic of speculation for over three decades. Artist Sven Anderson will discuss a new public art commission initiated with Dublin City Council in which he will take on this experimental role for one year. Building on strategies distilled from various sound artists’ practices, this project steps beyond traditional noise mitigation strategies and towards a more active, utopian view of how sound might be used as a medium for design in the urban context. This presentation highlights the questions that arise at this project’s outset, focused on defining the nature of this new role, its speculative outputs, and how we might use sound as an interface to other aspects of the contemporary urban environment.
Sven Anderson is an artist working between Ireland and the US since 2001. Anderson’s work explores the act of listening within diverse architectural, physical, social, and emotional contexts. His practice is a discursive platform that operates through artistic intervention, academic publication, participatory processes, and interactive design. Anderson’s research situates the practice of public sound installation within the larger fields of architecture and urban design. His current project work includes a series of multi-sensory installations exploring low-frequency vibration in the context of urban housing, and the development of an abstract sonic narrative staged in the abandoned Pigeon House power station as part of the project Landing Place.In April he will begin a year-long public art commission working with Dublin City Council as an urban acoustic planner / sound designer, a project focused on developing a conceptual stage for this role as well as producing design prototypes and extensive documentation exploring the city’s sound environment.