14.06.2019 um 13:00

City Sounds – City Atmospheres

The auditory legibility of urban habitats and their atmospheres.
Symposium on auditory urban research
by Sam Auinger, Peter Cusack and Dietmar Offenhuber,
with Gernot Böhme, Maren Hartmann, Johanna Just, Sarah Lappin, Juhani Pallasmaa, Peter Payer, Birgit Schneider, Holger Schulze.

In the mediatised spaces of daily life, we have become accustomed to understanding information as something abstract, explicitly coded and symbolically legible. However, beyond the ever-present digital representations that surround us, the city presents itself sensually und physically. The sound of spaces, places and squares creates atmospheres that often influence us without our notice, but are difficult to articulate. The symposium and workshop explore the auditory atmospheres of Berlin and how cultural techniques and practices of listening can help to understand places and critically reflect on urban processes.

With this symposium, the German Academic Exchange Service would like to provide international and interdisciplinary discourses in order to demonstrate a new readability of the city. Current and former DAAD fellows in the disciplines of architecture, urban planning, musicology, design, psychology and environmental sciences are given the opportunity to expand on their own research with experimental approaches to urban practice.


13.00 Welcome & Introduction
Dr. Birgit Klüsener, Director Scholarships, German Academic Exchange Service
Dr. Sven Sappelt, CLB Berlin
Prof. Dr. Dietmar Offenhuber & Sam Auinger

13.15 Prof. Dr. Gernot Böhme: “Atmospheres“
14.00 Dr. Sarah Lappin: “The Sound-Considered City: Reflections and Possibilities“
14.45 Dr. Peter Payer: “Zwischen Lärm und Wohlklang: Stadtgeräusche aus historischer Perspektive“ (in deutscher Sprache)
15.30 Coffee break

15.45 Prof. Juhani Pallasmaa: “The integrated experience – orchestrating architecture through our neglected senses“
16.30 Prof. Dr. Birgit Schneider: “Environments are Invisible. Listening to 5G Atmospheres“
17.15 Prof. Dr. Maren Hartmann “The sensory perceptions of missing shelter: observations in urban space“
17.45 Coffee break

18.00 Johanna Just: “Sensing Spaces – Unlocking the city with Cultural Probes“
18.30 Prof. Dr. Dietmar Offenhuber & Sam Auinger:
18.45 Prof. Dr. Holger Schulze: “Apparatus, Personae & Affects: Scenarios of an Urban Anthropology of Sound“
19.30 Reception


Sam Auinger is a sonic thinker, composer and sound-artist based in Berlin. With his collaborator Bruce Odland he investigates the theme of “hearing perspective” through large-scale public sound installations. Auinger works with city planners and architects and speaks at international symposiums on urbanism, architecture, media, and the senses. He was visiting professor at the University of the Arts in Berlin, associate at the Harvard Graduate School of Design and lecturer at the Art, Culture and Technology program at MIT.

Gernot Böhme is a philosopher and former professor of philosophy at the Technical University Darmstadt. He has been the director of the Institute for Practical Philosophy in Darmstadt since 2005. Böhme has become known to a wider public with his works on aesthetics, the philosophy of science and philosophical anthropology. He asserts a new humanism in architecture, stating that the human being as user must become the point of reference for construction work. “In order to experience spatial structure, one must be physically present – it is possible at best to report on this verbally. If one does succumb to this experience, then the significance – and therefore the historical importance – of a place can become the central concern.”

Maren Hartmann is professor of Communication and Media Sociology at the Berlin University of the Arts. In her doctorate she dealt with early cyberspace and the user metaphors located within it (published under the title: “Technologies and Utopias. The cyberflaneur and the experience of being online”). This was followed by works on media appropriation, in particular the concept of domestication, and on the question of mobile media, urban contexts and materialities.

Johanna Just is one of the initiators of The Bakerloos experimental architecture studio and teaches Undergraduate Architecture at Brookes University. She currently works part time as designer and researcher at Alexandra Daisy Ginsberg Ltd where she helps to deliver large scale installations and artworks for Museums such as the Centre Pompidou and Milan Design Triennial. She is interested to explore the potential of process driven design methods for the build environment. In her thesis, she developed a new architectural language that is based on associations to challenge existing preservation concepts.

Sarah Lappin is an architect who teaches theory and design at Queens University Belfast. Dr Lappin is co-founder of the All-Ireland Architectural Research Group, and is the current Chair of the Steering Group of the Architectural Humanities Research Association. Her research interests include architecture and identity, modernism and its local manifestations in Ireland and twentieth century architectural history. Additionally, Dr. Lappin and Dr Gasia Ouzounian co-direct the research group “Recomposing the City: Sonic Art & Urban Architectures”, which investigates how collaborations between sound artists and architects can generate new ways of understanding, analyzing and transforming urban environments.

Dietmar Offenhuber is a professor of Art + Design and Public Policy at Northeastern University. He holds a PhD in Urban Planning from MIT, Master degrees from the MIT Media Lab and the TU Vienna. His research focuses on the relationship between design, technology, and governance. Dietmar is the author of the award-winning monograph “Waste is Information” (MIT Press), works as an advisor to the United Nations and published books on the subjects of Urban Data, Accountability Technologies and Urban Informatics.

Juhani Pallasmaa is a Finnish architect, fomer professor of architecture at the Helsinki University of Technology, former director of the Museum of Finnish Architecture and the author of numerous articles on cultural philosophy, environmental psychology and theories of architecture and the arts. In his book “The Eyes of the Skin. Architecture and the Senses.”, published in 1996, he stresses the importance of experience in architectural production, which i soften neglected in practice today.

Peter Payer is a historian, urban researcher and publicist. He runs an office for city history and works as a curator at the Vienna Museum of Technology. His lecture will deal with the social handling of soundscapes in European cities from the end of the 19th century until today. On the basis of a radically changing sound sphere, the intensification of noise discourse will be presented and the effects on the development and design of cities will be analysed. A fundamental ambivalence towards the new acoustic environment is revealed. This presents itself as a complex phenomenon that deals paradigmatically with questions of urban development, the critique of culture and civilization, but also with social and economic conflicts. His keyote will be held in German.

Birgit Schneider is professor for Media Ecology at the University of Potsdam in the European Media Studies Programme. Previously, she was Visiting Fellow at the Rachel Carson Center for Environment and Society in Munich and Senior Fellow at the International Research Institute for Cultural Technologies and Media Philosophy in Weimar. Her research interests include climate images and visual communication of climate change, media ecology and media aesthetics as well as art and media history of sound and vision.

Holger Schulze is a cultural scientist and professor of musicology at the University of Copenhagen. He was co-founder and between 2000 and 2009 the first Head of department of the new M.A. programme in Sound Studies as well as Visiting Professor in the Anthropology of Sound and Acoustic Ecology at the Berlin University of the Arts. His research fields include the literature, music and art history of aleatorics, the relation between intimacy and “mediality” and mediology as a method within cultural studies.

Credit: Stefanie Rau operative.space




CLB Berlin
Aufbau Haus am Moritzplatz
10969 Deutschland