Each week on our socialmediaaccounts, we post an Object of the Week from our Physical Objects Collection or Research Library. This week’s object is a new acquisition that we are also publishing here due to its extensive text-based content, which we are presenting as a free PDF.
This week’s object is an original 1979 pressing of Disc 9 of the famous Environments™ series of field recording albums produced from 1969–1979 by Syntonic Research, Inc., a company created by field recordist Irv Teibel. Our copy still contains the original shrink wrap including a promotional sticker that says:
The front and back cover of the LP include numerous testimonials which can be seen in the first two pictures above. It is the inner sleeve, however, that we have decided to publish here as a PDF, since it contains a lengthy, fascinating essay about the origins and potential uses of the Environments™ records.
This essay provides great insight into the thought process behind the Environments™ series, covering topics such as noise masking, solitude, and the use of field recordings as aural atmospheres conducive to concentration and meditation. It is at this point that the essay begins to take on more adventurous topics such as Alpha waves, natural highs, and the use of Environments™ during sexual intercourse – resonating (perhaps somewhat uncomfortably) with the statement on the inner sleeve’s reverse side mentioning how Environments™ field recordings were “test[ed] in university dormitories near New York City” (see “How it all Began”, page 7 of the PDF).
Though great pains are taken in the text to emphasise the scientific nature of Syntonic Research, Inc, the essay also includes some possibly controversial material that may serve to undercut this assertion, such as an inference that humans and dinosaurs coexisted (see “Listening for the Dinosaur”, page 6 of the PDF).
We hope you find our publication of this material useful for your own research.
The session was convened by Michèle Antoine of Universcience in Paris, and also featured presentations about sound-based exhibitions by Mark Read of Universcience and Christian Rohr of Museum für Kommunikation in Bern, Switzerland.
The Power of Sound was attended by an impressive crowd of 115 people from Ecsite’s extensive network of science and technology professionals – breaking our record for the most number of visitors to our museum in a single day!
Our Director’s 10-minute presentation – which includes a short guided tour of our museum – is available to watch for a short time on our YouTube channel:
More than 150 people gathered last night to memorialise George Floyd and all victims of racial intolerance in an online silent tribute organised by Marcus Ryder MBE on the one year anniversary of Floyd’s murder at the hands of police. The group remained silent for 9 minutes and 29 seconds, the length of time Floyd’s murderer knelt on his neck.
Participants were asked to keep their microphones turned on, and the ensuing collective ‘silence’ was recorded. This recording will become part of our museum’s Permanent Collection. We will announce details on how the recording will be exhibited soon.
The Museum Mutterings blog has posted a review of their resident critic’s recent Online Visit to the Museum of Portable Sound, and they had some wonderful things to say – we are immensely grateful for the kind words!
Historic Dockyard Chatham, who are currently hosting the ambitious sound-based project Ten Songs for a Lar, have published a review of their online visit to our museum, as well as an extensive interview with our Director and Chief Curator about the creation of our institution.
Last week, we presented our 2020 Annual Report to our museum’s Trustees and Board of Directors. This is the first comprehensive annual report our institution has ever produced, a fitting milestone for the end of our fifth year of operation. We are now making this document available to the public.
We’re having a Sound Studies conference – and you’re invited to submit a proposal for it!
In November 2021, we will host the inaugural Museum of Portable Sound Conference – an online conference featuring traditional conference papers, audio papers, and essay films – about areas of Sound Studies beyond music and ‘sound art’!