PhD Thesis

Objects of Electronic Sound and Music in Museums

University of Leeds / National Science and Media Museum

(October 2018 - ongoing)

Abstract: Objects of electronic sound and music (OESM) have been collected by various curators working within the Science Museum Group over many decades. Collections of these electronic sound and music technologies that have helped to create and shape many of the sounds we hear every day are also growing in other UK-based museums and galleries such as the Horniman Museum. However, although acoustic and mechanical instruments have been exhibited in UK-based museums over many years, there exists a comparable lack of exhibition work around the design and use of electronic instruments and technologies. The aim of this research is, therefore, to provide a modern comprehensive account of the scope for collecting and exhibiting OESM by conducting research on modern global curatorial practice across various museum contexts in relation to these objects. Examples of curatorial practice will be drawn from music-focused museums, science and technology museums, science centres and art galleries.

Papers / Presentations

Objects of Electronic Sound and Music in Museums: Exhibitions and the Sonic-Tactile Dimensions of Objects

Musical Instrument Collectors and Collections International Conference 

Bates Collection of Musical Instruments, University of Oxford (August 2019)

Electronic Instruments: Perspectives on History and Museum Collections Symposium 

Musikinstrumenten-Museum SIMPK, Curt-Sachs-Saal, Berlin (May 2019)

PGR Symposium, School of Music, University of Leeds (May 2019)

Collections Management Study Day, University of Leeds (May 2019)

Research Nights, Leeds Doctoral College, University of Leeds (November 2018)

Abstract: Musicians, music and memorabilia have been exhibited around the world for many years. Collections of the electronic sound and music technologies which have helped to create and shape what we hear every day are also growing. These objects have been interpreted in a variety of ways across different museum spaces. However, a modern comprehensible account of the breadth of these objects and their interpretations ceases to exist.
 

This presentation will introduce research-in-progress on ‘Objects of Electronic Sound and Music’ (OESM), exploring some of the unique challenges that arise from translating the sonic-tactile dimensions of these objects into exhibition spaces. During a research trip to Canada and the USA at the beginning of this year, it was noted that these challenges were clearly evidenced in a variety of music centred and non-music centred museums, galleries and cultural attractions. For this presentation, the data collected during this visit to North America will be used to introduce taxonomies of how these objects are currently framed, how the sonic-tactile qualities of silent and sounding objects (as displayed in museums) can be explored, and how a wide range of potential users could engage with museum-born interactives at different levels and gain an understanding of the operation of OESM and the musical practices they facilitate.

Objects of Electronic Sound and Music in Museums: An Introduction to Research

NSMM Seminar, National Science and Media Museum, Bradford (October 2018)

Making Stories Interactive: Identifying the Challenges in Object-Based Media Production

 

written in collaboration with Digital Creativity (DC) Labs, University of York (Unpublished)

Abstract: The ability to craft truly interactive and adaptive video narratives has been explored by researchers and practitioners alike, with varying levels of success, for several decades. Most recently, there has been a resurgence in such ambitions within research, through the development of Object-Based Media (OBM). OBM describes media productions, made with recorded audio-visual content, that have the ability to respond or adapt to the contexts in which they are experienced. This, in concept, allows for the crafting of highly adaptable, personalised and interactive video stories. However, the concept has not yet made it in practice. This paper presents the findings of a qualitative study based on 13 semi structured interviews conducted with researchers and practitioners in the area of interactive and adaptive video-centric storytelling, both within, and outside of, the TV broadcast industry. Through this lens, we provide insight into the workflows and techniques that practitioners working in this emerging field are adopting, the limitations of the tools and technologies as they currently stand, and the institutional barriers faced in the professional production and presentation of interactive video-centric narratives.

 

Written Work for MA Electronic and Computer Music

University of Leeds

 

Defining Modular Electronic Musical Instruments in the Twenty-First Century (January 2017)

 

Broken Turntable: A Creative Tool for the Performance and Synchronisation of Electronic Musical Instruments (August 2017)

 

Further Information: Click HERE

Research / Music

Sound Travels: An Object Based DJ Set

Lates, National Science and Media Museum

(September 2019)

A journey into sound using examples of weird and wonderful music crafted from some of the world's most exciting electronic musical instruments from the past one hundred years (iterations, of which, have been collected by the Science Museum Group).

Playlist: Click HERE

Researcher and musician focusing on the history and sonic-tactile dimensions of electronic music and sound technologies.

 

© 2019 Edward Wilson-Stephens    e.wilson-stephens@hotmail.com

  • Twitter - Grey Circle
  • YouTube - Grey Circle
  • LinkedIn - Grey Circle