edited by Pauline Minevich, Ellen Waterman – Art of Immersive Soundscapes


book + DVD, University of Regina Press, ISBN-13: 978-0889772588, English, 240 pages, 2013, Canada

How can the immersive quality of a sound environment be defined? At the University of Regina (Canada) two series of workshops and a conference during the 2000s explored some possible answers and this book is the final outcome of that process. Canada has a particular background in this field thanks to Raymond Murray Schafer in late sixties (founder of the World Soundscape Project), who was followed by a considerable number of similarly focussed initiatives and artists. As Minevich writes, the soundscape has “associative and imaginative properties” and they are intrinsically interdisciplinary, involving acoustics as well as psychoacoustics and communication. This is reflected in the “immersive” quality that surrounds the listener and triggers his imagination. In each chapter there’s a description of a different project (with original audio and/or video work included in the attached DVD) covering an ample range of approaches: soundscapes historically described through urban sounds (from Russolo to Nono) or conceptually environment-aware projects (Polli), auditory explorations of very specific environments like an Intensive Treatment Unit (John Wynne), the symbolic space of different music venues in a city (Hatch/Copeland), or perfectly acoustically plausible but completely manufactured spaces, (Truax). The “acoustic ecology” that emerges clearly involves society as a whole and this collection of texts contributes to thinking about that part of our life we describe as our “listening space”.