Research project, ECAL 2019


Aural Practices in Visual Arts

The project is an investigation into the creative process of visual art through the concept of aurality, which explores sound, listening and auditory perception from a cultural perspective. 
It is about stepping beyond object culture to look at listening as part of the broader and richer cultural approach developed by studying the case of ECAL, its (human) actors and (non-human) agents. The aim is to better integrate the issue of sound and listening in transmitting knowledge of art and artistic practices and to give students a starting point on which to develop critical and reflexive listening in their work. 
The results show in particular how actors influence sounds at ECAL. These acts of meaningful listening were observable thanks to a methodology involving artistic interventions using sound, in the form of disturbances of daily life in the school. The way in which the actors repair disturbances helps describe shared perceptions in action. 
Breaching experiments have given a detailed description of how the actors continuously define the meaning of the sounds or the absence of careful listening, depending on the interaction and the place in the school. The successive experiments, by confirming or diverging from the results of the one before, refine methods of privatising spaces by using audio equipment at the place of the group work. In short, the study shows the fertile ambivalence whereby no school sound is ever just a school sound. They are only sounds, of course, but the meaning that the actors attribute to them define part of the institution at any given moment. 

ECAL SOUNDS, a manual for teaching aurality in art. Contributions by Thibault Walter, Jason Kahn. Interviews with Mario de Vega, Scott Arford, Randy Yau, Benjamin Plantier, Yoo-Mi Steffen, et al. (in preparation).

Main applicant

Dr Thibault Walter (project leader)

Research team
Stéphane Kropf (professor)
Anna Harris, Maastricht University (expert)
Philippe Sormani, Swiss Institute Rome, University of Lausanne (expert)
Visiting lecturers
Amy Cimini 
Bill Dietz
Invited artists
Kevin Drumm 
Christina Kubisch 
Scott Arford
Randy H. Yau 
Mario de Vega 
Emmanuel Holterbach
Jason Kahn

ECAL BA Fine Arts students, academic year 2017–2018 
1st year: Djellza Azemi, Ana-Francesca Balan, Tudor Ciurescu, Romane de Watteville, Cyane Findji, Ernest Gachet, Elisa Jakob, Peilian Li, Tennessee MacDougall, Assadour Matthey, Dac Hanh Nguyen, Christian Schulz, Sebastian Huber, Stefan Tanase.
2nd year: Martin Bonnaz, Tommaso Da Cas, Mathias De La Torre, Noémie Degen, Laureline Dupuy, Simon Jaton, Eva Jovicic, Romy Kettiger, Samy Kort, Charly Mirambeau,
Sherian Mohammed Forster, Léa Mustaki, Leila Niederberger, Jodie Rudaz, Sunna Margrét Þórisdóttir, Martina Vanini, Kylia Vanuzzo.

ECAL BA  Fine  Arts student, academic year 2018–2019 
1st year: Laetitia Khiara. 


February 2018 – July 2019

Technology & Society Studies Department, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, Maastricht University
Cave 12, Geneva
Sonic Protest, Paris
Technique pour la Musique et le Spectacle (TMS) 
Ville de Renens

Supported by 
ECAL/University of Art and Design Lausanne
Strategic fund of the University of Applied Sciences Western Switzerland (HES-SO RCDAV)
Ville de Renens

Public events 
15 March 2018
Kevin Drumm, Cinema Studio concert, ECAL. 

1 May 2018
Unexpected, infrasound installation by Scott Arford and Randy H. Yau, Kudelski Hall, ECAL.

2 May 2018 
Electrical Walk by Christina Kubisch, ECAL and the City of Renens. 
Infrasound, concert by Scott Arford and Randy H. Yau, Cinema Studio, ECAL. 

5 and 6 November 2018
Action for mono signal amplified through bass amp and objects written and performed by Mario de Vega, Hall Kudelski, ECAL. 

7 November 2018
Labyrinth Gives Way to Skin: Maryanne Amacher by Amy Cimini and Bill Dietz, IKEA Auditorium, ECAL. 

8 November 2018
Listening session: Maryanne Amacher, by Amy Cimini and Bill Dietz, Cinema Studio, ECAL.
Action for Custom Electronics, Tape and Objects written and performed by Mario de Vega, Cinema Studio, ECAL.
Eliane Radigue’s Feedback works by Emmanuel Holterbach, Cinema Studio, ECAL.

5 December 2018
Unknown visitor sitting in the shadows, wandering around the Fine Arts department, listening, written and performed by Jason Kahn, ECAL.

Press reviews
La Première, Paradiso, Radio Télévision Suisse Romande, Thibault Walter on Infrasound, 1 May 2018.
Philippe Simon, A l’ECAL, les murs murmurent, Le Temps, 1 May 2018
Rebecca Mosimann, Un bruit une fois identifié devient son, 24Heures, 28-29 June 2018, 20. 
Radio Paradiso, Radio Télévision Suisse Romande, Thibault Walter on Maryanne Amacher, 30 October 2018 


Thibault Walter et al., Situation concert Kevin Drumm, Revue & Corrigée, October 2019. 
Thibault Walter, 4000 Hz drawing the Library, in the process of submission. 
Thibault Walter, Peindre les sons / écouter la peinture, in the process of submission.
Thibault Walter, Ph. Sormani, Sound as an art school, in the process of submission.

Thibault Walter, Martina Sofie-Wildberger, Philippe Sormani, Literal Improvisation: Recovering The Electric Guitar Solo as a Collaborative Achievement in Multimodal Specifics, Panel Hybrid Studies and Contemporary Arts in the Making, IIEMCA in Mannheim, 3 July 2019. 

The project’s three posters are among the 100 most beautiful posters of 2018, see: 100-beste-plakate.de

Poster for the first sound experiment of the series Vision Creation New Sound, graphic design by Notter+Vigne, 2018. © ECAL/Niccolò Quaresima

Poster for the second sound experiment of the series Vision Creation New Sound, graphic design by Notter+Vigne, 2018. © ECAL/Niccolò Quaresima

Close listening and “cocktail effect” before Kevin Drumm’s concert, 15 April 2018. 

 ©ECAL/Caypso Mahieu

The audience is listening to electromagnetic waves produced by the screens during the performance of Christina Kubisch, Electrical Walk, 2 May 2018. © ECAL/Thibault Walter

Hands listening during Infrasound, Cinema Studio, ECAL, 2 May 2018.