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Psycho-sonic cartography

Creating the imaginary city through electronic and electroacoustic music in word and sound.

In this audio paper I will focus on two ideas. The first is the ephemeral city. The conscious re-imagining of the cityscape, from elements ranging from the historic to the fantastical, can effect an individual’s sense of place as much as the physical structures that comprise it. These imagined – or ephemeral – cities can be a way of coming to grips with an urban environment changing in rapid and disempowering ways. We all create multiple, ephemeral cities, in the maps we envision of the places we live – some real, some imagined. These form a myriad of place identities, histories and possible futures, criss-crossing the landscape of more agreed-upon realities, forming ephemeral cities that give back and create their own stories.

The second is the term psycho-sonic cartography. This is an idea I have developed as a possible way to cover both a wider swath of the population than the term psychogeography is most often used by, and a more specific set of activities related to sound and, even more specifically, electroacoustic music. Spatialized sound, which is an indispensable parameter of a large body of electroacoustic music, is built from ephemeral components. It offers, among other things, an alternative way to conjure one place inside of an other, or change the sonic landscape of a place, by virtue of its permeability. This audio paper was originally based on my article “Psycho-sonic Cartography: The creation of Ephemeral Place through Electroacoustic Music”, which I presented at the 2017 Electronic Music Network conference in Nagoya, Japan. But after the peer review process for Seismograf, it has been changed significantly enough that I have altered the title for this audio paper.

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