1. Sound walk Critiques I

Topics discussed:

  • It was Pierre Schaeffer who introduced this word ‘acousmatic’ to the vocabulary of modern media art. Generally speaking, an acousmatic voice is a voice where the speaker cannot be seen, as in the case of the telephone conversation or of the radio speaker. The acousmatic voice being the voice without a body or, a body consisting of sound alone is at the same time ‘a body without organs’ to use the phrase of Gilles Deleuze, who insists that ‘the body without organs’ is not just to be understood as “radiophonic”, but “as a plateau in communication … a component of passage.”


  • Acousmêtre – a kind of voice-character specific to cinema that derives mysterious powers from being heard and not seen. The disembodied voice seems to come from everywhere and therefore to have no clearly definded limits to its power.

Acousmêtre depends for its effects on delaying the fusion of sound and image to the extreme, by suppling the sound – almost av voice – and witholding the image of the sound´s true source until nearly the very end of the film. Only then, when the audience has used its imagination to the fullest is the real identity of the sound revealed, almost always with a accompanying loss off imagined power. As long as we can´t see whom we attribute all-seeing power to the voice, but once inscribed in the visual field he loses his aura (as the wizard in the Wizard of Oz and HAL in 2001).

The acousmêtre has…

  • the power of seeing all
  • the power of omniscience
  • the omnipotence to act on the situation
  • the gift of ubiquity (to be where he or she wishes)


Project proposals

Some Sound Mapping and data visualization links of interest:






Data viz


http://www.weirdvibrations.com/2010/01/13/sound-maps-ii/Stamen Next City

More data viz