How Processions Moved: Sound and Space in the Performance of Urban Ritual, c.1400–c.1700

Project Details

Description

Processions were quintessentially performative acts that infused a sense of identity among the urban community by linking the emblematic topography of the city and creating performative spaces of enhanced ritual activity and distinctive auditory landscapes. The premise of Soundspace is that hermeneutic study of the procession as performance affords insight into the dynamic workings of society and the experience of urban life. It aims to go beyond this to assess the impact of urban ritual on participants and ear-witnesses through analysis of the social and cultural processes that lay behind that experience, and of the perceptual discourses that gave it meaning and significance for all those present. The procession formed a moving intersensory experience that also mobilised the emotions of the urban community: but how did this work in practice in the historical past? How can the historian enter into the performative moment to understand the emotional impact of sound in acoustic space? The project aims to interrogate the multi-faceted relationship between sound, space and society by scrutinising the interstices between collective experience, social expectations and memory through the prism of historical sound studies, an umbrella term here used to combine a cross-disciplinary approach—urban studies, sensory history and history of the emotions—and DH tools: Virtual Reality, digital cartography and semantic discourse analysis. It will forge a new theoretical framework by combining concepts of acoustic and emotional communities to analyse the social and cultural processes involved in the preparation, performance, reception and impact of the procession and the prevailing discourses that forged the significance of processional expression for the urban community. The main objective is to open up new ways to explore the impact of intangible but key features of processions such as acoustic space, soundscape competence, density of sensory experience and emotional response.
AcronymSOUNDSPACE
StatusActive
Effective start/end date1/09/2231/08/27

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