Open Lecture

Open Lecture Series 2019/20, Semester 1

  • 17.00 - 18.30
  • 16 Oct 2019 - 27 Nov 2019
Open Lecture Series 2019/20, Semester 1

Spatial Listening

In response to a contemporary (Western) cultural disposition that is variously described as ocularcentric and disembodied, Alex’s recent research situates sound and listening as alternate potentialities for relating to, and understanding, the architectural environment. This talk puts forward a practice of listening — rendered through a series of sonic works — that engages subjects in methodical and embodied modes of thinking-through-sound as a way to create sonic knowledges of the architectural environment; in relation to the acoustic phenomena of echo, resonance, and reverberation.

Alex De Little is a sonic artist and researcher with bases in Leeds and London, UK. His practice encompasses installation, composition, performance and workshops; it is concerned with the interrogation of listening as a way to understand environment, self, and social relations. Alex’s work and collaborations have been featured at the Venice Biennale, the Tate Modern, Somerset House, Palais de Tokyo (Paris), Health Museum (Houston, TX), Den Frie Centre for Contemporary Art (Copenhagen), The National Science and Media Museum, London Contemporary Music Festival, Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival, and the Hepworth Wakefield. Alex recently completed a practice-based PhD with Scott McLaughlin and Martin Iddon at the University of Leeds, and is currently a postdoctoral research fellow at the Arts and Humanities Research Institute. He is a member of CAVE (Centre for Audio-Visual Experimentation), and a visiting lecturer at the University of Leeds. 


TAPE BRITAIN & the Mirror Pool

This lecture reflects on two projects at Tate Britain and the National Science and Media Museum in which I used sound as the core medium through which to test out new models for audience engagement, tape splicing and the tangibility of listening within institutions.

Dr Alan Dunn studied at Glasgow School of Art and The Art Institute of Chicago and completed his PhD at Leeds Beckett on the relationship between sound art and the everyday. Through a series of high level curatorial projects, he has presented soundworks and digital animations in a variety of settings including agreed content from Gerhard Richter, Pauline Oliveros, Brian Eno, Einsturzende Neubauten, Bikini Kill and Chris Watson. 

Earth Observation

This lecture presents projects I led that use satellites to study the physical processes of Earth's climate, and my main contributions to science in developing remote observations of the cryosphere, with particular emphasis on the quantitative techniques of radar interferometry and radar altimetry. It will discuss studies of arid land degradation using satellite infrared radiometry and models of atmospheric radiative transfer, and my involvement with satellite validation campaigns in Europe, Africa, and Antarctica.

I am Professor of Earth Observation at the University of Leeds, Director of the NERC Centre for Polar Observation and Modelling, Principal Scientific Advisor to the European Space Agency CryoSat satellite mission, and co-leader of the ESA-NASA Ice Sheet Mass Balance Inter-comparison Exercise. I was educated in the Department of Physics and Astronomy at the University of Leicester, and I have held academic posts at University College London, at the University of Cambridge, and at the University of Edinburgh. I am the recipient of: Philip Leverhulme Prize 2008 and Royal Society Woldfson Research Merit Award 2004.


Media Archaeology

Ana Maria Nicolaescu is a digital artist and writer based in London. Her work explores the relationship between media, technology and popular culture today.


Aswarm Immersive

Aswarm (Ltd) is a transformative public arts company based in the UK, lead by Artist & Sound Designer Thor McIntyre-Burnie. We specialise in site-specific and immersive work, using sound and other sculptural & AV elements to subtly alter our experience of architecture, public space and performance. Our projects range from solo artist works to full production teams, drawing on a tight team of specialists and network of professionals. An aswarm work can be: a bandstand re-awakened as an ear to a historic mound of earth; an exploded orchestra re-activates a victorian mill; a flock of speakers occupy a square, providing a means to walk within the Twittersphere; a derelict piers starling bird colony becomes a touring Ghost Roost; A forgotten Wind Tunnel becomes a quasi religious experience; a Lift a musical playback device & place to play syneasthetic twister; a pile of rubble an instrument to re-work Rites of Spring.

Directed by Thor McIntyre-Burnie, aswarm works in collaboration with a small team of creative professionals and a wider network of artists , makers, designers and performers. The team includes: Chloe Osborne (specialising in Theatre and public outreach); Toby Jarvis (Sculpter and prop maker); Olly Aylmer (Composer and music producer); Martin King (Electrical Engineer and supertechgeek). The wider team includes a number of regular collaborators.

Mediated Visualities

This lecture critically re-thinks and re-conceives perspectival space and current forms of representation, i.e. digital media, and constructs custom-made supplementary representational devices. This approach combines an insight into current representational methods and their application in the process of design. In the process both the body and the tools for its conceptualization and represent must be redefined. In this sense if the body is already a place that correlates, via a technological interface, to other bodies, how is this extensity accounted for in visual representations?

George Themistokleous (founder of para-sight) is an architect and lecturer. His practice focuses on the changing relationship between visuality and space-time through emerging media that probe conventional limits between self and self-image, interior and exterior. The visual and written work has been presented, exhibited and published internationally in various platforms.

Temporal -scapes

This talk explores the relationship between two temporal arts. Drawing conceptually and directly on music notation it examines landscape architecture’s inherent temporality. It argues that the rich history of notating time in music provides a critical model for hits under-theorised aspect of landscape architecture. It also explores sounds' historic absence from the Picturesque, and with the decline of the combustion engine, argues for ennobling sound in the sensory appreciation of urban landscapes.

Dr. David Buck is a landscape architect and educator with a special interest in temporality of landscape. He is the author of a recent book for Rutledge, A Musicology for Landscape, and is founder of his eponymous design practice. He has worked extensively in Asia and has written widely about a range of design topics.


Planet -scapes

Matthew Waldram is an engineer at Plant Labs (or simply Planet), which started with one main idea: To capture our dynamic Earth… Every day. The problem with most satellites is that they are large, clunky and expensive to build. So Planet designed an ultra-compact, inexpensive one (CubeSAT) which they could manufacture in bulk. Over time, they have launched 135+ doves or Planetscope into a single orbit plane. They scan each pole once every 90 minutes. As the Earth rotates, they collectively capture the entire Earth, everyday. Today you’re going to meet the satellite constellation that’s revolutionized how we see the Earth.


Essay Films & Architecture

In her recent book, World Cinema and the Essay Film, Brenda Hollweg examines the ways in which essay film practices are deployed by non-Western filmmakers in specific local and national contexts, in an interconnected world. The book identifies the essay film as a political and ethical tool to reflect upon and potentially resist the multiple, often contradictory effects of globalization. The lecture discusses current research on the essay film beyond canonical filmmakers and frameworks, and presents transnational perspectives on what is becoming a global film practice, and links to architecture and urban knowledge.

Brenda Hollweg is Research Fellow in the School of Fine Art, History of Art and Cultural Studies at the University of Leeds. A specialist in American literature and a scholar of the essay as literary and expanded cultural form, she worked on two major research collaborations that addressed questions of gender, genre and the essay as well as the aesthetic and affective dimensions of democratic participation. She has published on contemporary documentary and the cinematic essay and, in 2010, realized a 45min-long video essay, 'The Road to Voting'.


A Performed Horizontal Montage

Aidan Winterburn expands on his research and practice interests that traverse Modernist graphic design and architecture, satirical illustration and animation, the propagandist and protest poster, the history of artists magazines, post-punk graphic design and typography, narrative and sequential art and experimental animation. He has written articles for Grafik magazine [amongst others] as well as having contributed to Street Talk; the Rise and Fall of the Poster and Public Address System, discussing the politics of typography in a book of typographic treatments of famous political speeches. He also writes a blog about post-war brutalist architecture and graphic design and am in the process of writing a book called Standing Still which involves a critique of graphic communication as it is encountered in a number of distinct physical and virtual environments.