Open Practice: Sonic Orientations 

Educator: Jenny Gräf Sheppard, PhD- researcher

Contact person: Jenny Gräf Sheppard,

In this course, we move through theoretical concepts around listening and sounding to consider how we come to know ourselves and the world through sound. From what positions and orientations do we listen and how can these positions change through Deep Listening practices of attention? How can we develop embodied sonic sensibilities and create works of art from these? And how does immersive art upend the conventional subject-object relationship within art? The course is experiential and experimental, while at the same time applying theoretical knowledge.

Drawing from a range of practices and fields of inquiry from Phenomenology, Anthropology of the Senses, Media and Sound Studies, Deep Listening, Indigenous Studies and New Feminist Materialisms, the course experiments with listening, sounding subjects through time-based art.

We begin with Deep Listening practices where we engage in composer Pauline Oliveros’ Sonic Meditations (recipes for listening) where shifts in attention are used as compositional strategies as well as a means to expand upon notions of the self and subjectivity. We will use collaborative practices to work with the sound’s ability to connect and read from texts that prioritize sonically and expanded sensory sensibilities in its widest range of possible meanings: listening through vibrotactile sensitivity, listening through dreams, or even listening through smell. We will continue to ask: what new forms of storytelling, characters, compositions can emerge out of such a re-orientation?

Several Lab days will involve working in the newly built Ambisonics chamber, a virtual sound space for creating and experiencing spatial sound. The space will be a site for us to experiment collaboratively, creating actual experiments and/or short works that address some of the embodied and vibrotactile possibilities of sound in the space.

Students may bring with them a broad range of interests and research questions that can be dealt with, fleshed out, or sounded via practices of listening and sounding. And each will be involved in reflecting back on what we are reading and doing within their own practice.



Experience with some aspect of sound (technical or non-technical) within your practice or process. This could mean you have worked with a sound editing program, or it could mean you consider sound as an ingredient in your practice, or that you perform with sound.




8 meetings Feb 7 – April 4

Feb 7,14,28, March 7,14,21,28 , April 4

All lessons 13.00 – 16.00


By the end of the course, students will have engaged in several research methodologies including:

  • Embodied practices in art
  • Improvisational approaches to composition and art
  • Reflective writings about sonic experiences in art
  • Immersive sonic-tactile experiments in and outside of the Ambisonics chamber
  • Impact of sound outside of the aural apparatus (the ear)
  • Spatial sound composition in and outside of the Ambisonics chamber

In addition, students will apply concepts from readings and lectures to discussions, writings and work around the following topics:

  • Immersive media/immersive experiences
  • Anthropology of the senses
  • Sonic sensibilities
  • Perspectival re-orientation through sound
  • Indigenous perspectives on sound
  • Sonic storytelling





Sonic Orientation: Sounding as Methodology Lecture – 1 hour including discussion

Student Presentations – 1 hour including discussion

Deep Listening – 45 minutes

Written exercise for Reflections

Homework For next week: Read excerpts from:

Thinking the Cosmos, Salome Voegelin, Oliveros writing


Readings discussion – 1.5 hours

Exercise: creating a shared glossary of sonic terms in a google doc

Exercise: Practices of Deep Listening – 1.5 hours

Written exercise for Reflections

Homework for next week: Read excerpts from:

Listening to Country and Energies in the Arts

WEEK 3: Feb 28 LAB DAY 1 SOUNDING SPACE  (with Stephen McEvoy)

Reading Discussion

Introduction to the Ambisonic chamber at the RDAFA

Exploring the sound of space, body as instrument for sound, vibro-tactile listening, orienting through the sonic. In-class experimentation with spatial sound

Homework for next week: Read excerpts from Influx & Efflux, by Jane Bennett

create a proposal for a compositional exercise for Lab Day 2 

WEEK 4: March 7 LAB DAY 2 SOUNDING BODIES (with Stephen McEvoy)

Reading Discussion

Lab Day 2: In-class creation of 1-2 sonic experiments in Ambisonic Chamber, from proposals created by students.

Writing exercise reflecting on Ambisonic experimental compositions


Lecture and Q & A

WEEK 6: March 21WRITING WORKSHOP with Sarah Gebran

Sara Gebran’s Quantum Dance/ Quantum Society

WEEK 7: March 28 LAB DAY 3: SOUNDING ENERGIES (with Stephen McEvoy)

Lab Day 3: Speaker and electro-magnetic experiments


Final presentations:

Each student will present work or an investigative process pertaining to their research question

Course Reflections through written and verbal evaluation


The course will combine seminars, lectures and practical exercises/experimentation. There will be a large emphasis on student participation and contribution.


12 students


Students must attend 80% of the course in order to receive credit.


Below are references for the course. Only some of the readings will be assigned and possibly other readings will be added as we work through the themes in the course. Links are provided to those texts that are online or downloadable for free. Others will be at the library.


Thinking the Cosmos in the 17th Century: Fiction, Hypothesis and Astronomy from Kepler to Huygen, by Francisca Äit-tou-ati, 2010

More Brilliant than the Sun: Adventures in Sonic Fiction, by Kodwo Eshun, 1999

Sonic Fiction, by Holger Schulze, 2020

Sonic Meditations, by Pauline Oliveros, 1971

A Composers Sound Practice, by Pauline Oliveros, 2005

Sounding the Margins, Collected Writings, by Pauline Oliveros et al., 2010

Listening to Noise and Silence: Toward a Philosophy of Sound Art, by Salome Voegelin, 2010

Listening to Country: Energy, Time and Ecology in Aboriginal Worldmaking, by Andrew Bellety, 2018

Hungry Listening: Resonant Theory for Indigenous Sound Studies, by Dylan Robinson, 2020

Earth Sound Earth Signal: Energies and Earth Magnitude in the Arts, by Douglas Kahn, 2013

Energies in the Arts, by Douglas Kahn et. al, 2019

Influx & Efflux: Writing up with Walt Whitman, by Jane Bennett, 2020

Sonic Agency: Sound and Emergent forms of Resistance, by Brandon LaBelle, 2018

Quantum Society, by Sara Gebran (forthcoming by Errant Press)

The Poetics of Relation, Eduoard Glissant, 1990


For more information about Deep Listening and Ambisonics technology please see the two links here:


No, only in case of a new lockdown



8 meetings Feb 7 – April 4

Feb 7,14,28, March 7,14,21,28 , April 4

All lessons 13.00 – 16.00


Det Kongelige Danske Kunstakademi 


Nej (kun ita. lock down)








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