14 April 2018 | 12:30 - 15 April 2018 | 17:00

Architecture as Sonic Experience

  • Level: advanced
  • Costs: free of charge (8h / 2days)
  • Max number of participants: 10 people
  • Min number of participants: 5 people
  • Apply + short motivation email to: contact@polakvanbekkum.com

Your ears are about 20 cm apart. How will you experience the city once you enlarge that distance? Will this make you hear like a giant?

In two afternoons, you will experiment with listening over expanded distances: with your ears one meter apart, 2 meters, 5 meters, 20 meters, as if you enlarge your head. Can you intertwine sounds that enter your ears from a greater distance than you are used to?

We will bring mics and extension cables to connect those distances to headphones. We can use our mobile phones to produce live streams. And don’t hesitate to bring your own equipment to experiment with. Once we decided on a setup, we will go out to the street to ‘become’ different objects: a tree, a bridge, a car, or a bus stop.

We, Ivar and Esther, are curious to radicalise the scale of this work method as far as possible. Can we even identify with a building adding one ear to one side and the other to the opposite side?

At the start of the workshop all participants will be asked to introduce themselves, to see what fields of knowledge, experience, and curiosity each of us brings. During the workshop we will build on this collective expertise. Concluding the workshop, we will define what ‘spatial listening’ brought us.

Can we approach the urban landscape from this position with a different view, or rather a different ear? What sort of bodily information do we get? What is the role of (mobile) tech to this? What is this kind of spatial listening? And how does it affect our sense of city-awareness?


On Monday evening 19:30 there will be a presentation and discussion (click here). Participants are invited to actively share their findings with the audience. Starting from the workshop results, a broader context of affect and public space will be addressed.


about the artists

In their work, Esther Polak and Ivar van Bekkum (PolakVanBekkum) are investigating mobility and the (urban) landscape. In recent years they have explored the possibilities of location-specific binaural sound recordings. To enter a physical identification with mobilities and moving objects, they connected their recording equipment to those objects, instead of the human head. To radicalise this work method in scale, PolakVanBekkum proposes to apply it to a building. As a result, one ear would hear the eastern side of a building, while the other ear would hear the western side.


This masterclass is part of ‘reDesigning Affect Space’, an international design- theory, practice, and research project initiated by lead-researcher Eric Kluitenberg, which consists of a series of masterclasses and conferences in Berlin, Madrid, Rotterdam and The Hague. The project aims to develop a more differentiated design agenda for the increasingly dense connections between public space, mobile media, and wireless networks, and the shift to affective relations in public space that result from this densification.


binaural recordings of moving objects:

car recording vimeo.com/136873473

vorkheftruck recording vimeo.com/138551393

caterpillar recording vimeo.com/137422115

trolley recording vimeo.com/138643907


PolakVan Bekkum: www.polakvanbekkum.com

Hybrid Space Lab: hybridspacelab.net

Essay reDesigning Affect Space (Open! Platform for Art, Culture and the Public Domain):