Sensory Engineering - Media, Sound, Rhythm

Activity: Talk or presentationConference PresentationsResearch

Rolf Großmann - Speaker

No, what sensory engineering means here is not that weird thing, that you see on some websites, not sado-maso fashion, psychoactive pictures or sensual designed virtual environments. My focus is on musical microtime-structures beyond concious perception that can be located in the range of milli- and microseconds. But there are some similarities. If we are working with electronic media designing auditory sensory stimuli in the field of a preconcious affective perception we are also in an open and rarely reflected laboratory of the senses and cultural behavior. There is a zone of indefiniteness (“Unbestimmtheitzone”, Michaela Ott) not only in the individual process of sensual experience between the primary affection and the aware cognition of structure and effect but also in the cultural process of adaption and the establishing of codes for these procedures of design.

In music, this zone includes topics from the intonation of tones (e.g. Autotune-FX) on the overtones of sound to microrhythm and artificial space. Electronic and especially digital media have made this area of preconscious musical time accessible by looping, rasterize, masking and automated analysis for a differentiated design, but without being accompanied by a corresponding and widely established practice of conscious and reflective listening. While pitch relationship (such as counterpoint) and macrorhythm (e.g. stylized dances) were part of the musical notation of Western cultures and its literacy led to composition teaching and aesthetic writings in a broad cultural and philosophical discourse (e.g. Affektenlehre), this electronic media type of sensory engineering (with Kodwo Eshun) is an open, experimental and dynamic practical knowledge of direct Affizierung (‘affectedness’). Rhythmic structures beyond our conscious cognition are, for instance in Hiphops breakbeat science or as groove quantize in sequencers subject of practical and aesthetic research and generate a new epistemic situation: the knowledge of designing the rhythmic feel of a song or track, its swing, off-beat and groove diffuses into the mechanical grid of technical equipment and its control.


Internationales Symposium "Timing of Affect" - 2013


Köln, Germany

Event: Conference