Futures of Listening: How our ways of listening will change in the near future - Kwangrae Kim, Suk-Jun Kim (ACC Sound Lab)

The project, <Futures of Listening> delves into more than just the study of 'sound'; it's a profound exploration into the human act of 'listening'. It considers listening as a complex platform where various forces vie for control over what, how, and for whom sounds are heard. It critically examines historical and current listening practices, questioning how they might evolve over the next decade or two.

Presented by: Kwangrae Kim

Co-presenter : Prof. Suk-Jun Kim (University of Aberdeen, Scotland, UK) 

ACC Sound Lab is a project led by the National Asian Culture Center(ACC)*, part of an initiative for the research and development of interdisciplinary content. The project focuses on artistic expression through sound, as a medium, producing a variety of immersive content. Each year a small team of sound and interdisciplinary artists conduct artistic inquiries through various research activities, which culminate in compositions, public presentations, and exhibitions.

From May to December 2023, the first ACC Sound Lab 2023 initiated an art-research project titled Futures of Listening. This multi-year project explores the evolving nature of auditory experiences over the next couple of decades. It considers listening as a complex platform where various forces struggle for control over what, how, and for whom sounds are heard.
The project transcends the mere study of 'sound' in and of itself and aims to make a series of questions on the act of listening, examining our past and present listening attitudes and their context while imagining such traits will transform the ways in which we listen. In 2023, the focus was on Asia's urban soundscape, aiming to examine the socio-economic, cultural, and political significance of listening and exploring possible futures of auditory culture.
As part of the research—both as its results and its methods—the ACC Sound Lab produced a number of artistic outputs in the form of live performances, public presentations, documentation of field trips, and sound installations, the last of which are currently being exhibited at ACC. In this presentation, we will discuss one of the installations titled Whispers in the Urban Fabric.
For Whispers in the Urban Fabric, which is a part of the exhibition called “Urbanscape: Connectivity and Coexistence”, we built a curved sound wall with an array of 48 speakers hidden behind thin, perforated metal plates that run upward from the floor to the wall and cover the ceiling. This architectural shape of the sound wall immerses the audience, with the sounds recorded during the ACC Sound Lab’s research field trips to various regions in Asia. We used IRCAM/FLUX:: Software Engineering’s SPAT Revolution to spatialise the sound materials’s movements to provide the audience with a multi-layered and expansive sensory encounter. 
Whispers in the Urban Fabric seeks to explore how these auditory experiences illuminate the social, economic, political, and ecological identities of Asian cities. It also investigates the coexistence of diverse auditory perspectives and experiences within these urban settings.
In this presentation, we will present Futures of Listening’s core research questions and the research activities that the ACC Sound Lab team has performed in 2023. We will then showcase Whispers in the Urban Fabric and discuss how SPAT Revolution was utilized in realizing this sound wall installation.

*The National Asian Culture Center (ACC) is an international arts and cultural exchange organization located in Gwangju, South Korea.

ACC Sound Lab 2023
Director/Senior Curator Kim Jiha
Curator Kim Kwangrae
Senior Research Lead Kim Suk-Jun
Researchers Yoon Jiyoung, Jo Yeabon, Cha Mihye
Managers Park Eunhyun
Technician Jo Yeabon
Production & Technical Support Ahn Jae-Young
Hosted/Organized by National Asian Culture Center, Gwangju

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