Conceptual overlays for urban soundscape design emerging from a transversal analysis of Lefebvre, Deleuze and Guattari, and Arendt

Jordan Lacey


This paper describes theoretical developments that have emerged alongside the author’s urban soundscape design practice. The theory, which emerged from a transversal analysis of Henri Lefebvre, Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari, and Hannah Arendt, particularly their philosophical investigations of space, rhythm and nature, is presented as four conceptual overlays to aid soundscape design practices in urban spaces. The first conceptual overlay, Radiating Striations of Centralities, synthesises spatial discussions of Deleuze and Guattari and Lefebvre into soundscape design approaches that simultaneously respond to centralized controls and the peripheries of urban spaces. The second conceptual overlay, The Isorhythimc Refrain, convolves Deleuze and Guattari’s refrain and Lefebvre’s isorhythms into identifiable socially controlling rhythms that unfold as captured sonic and gestural forms throughout urban spaces. The third conceptual overlay, Altered Soundscapes as Emergent Ecologies, investigates Guattari’s a-signifying rupture and the potential of soundscape design as rupture to affect the emergence of Lefebvre’s new nature(s) in urban spaces. The fourth conceptual overlay, Disassembling the Collective Assemblage of Enunciation, discusses Arendt’s reflections on social rhythms subsuming society into automated behaviour, and the challenges that can be presented to such automated behaviour through the act of soundscape design. The four conceptual overlays provide sociopolitical and ecological understandings of the urban that contribute to a soundscape design practice from which public soundscape installations are created to subvert controlling spatiotemporal rhythms of the urban for the emergence of new nature(s). The article concludes by suggesting that due to the amorphous characteristics of sound the soundscape designer is in a unique position to affect immediate sociopolitical and experiential transformations of urban spaces.

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ISSN: 1904-500X

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