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Sounds: Art, Objects, and Events


Admission requirements

There are no admission requirements for this course.


Contemporary societies tend to think of sounds as either pleasing or upsetting: we pay attention and care deeply about music, but we ignore or try to avoid unwanted noises. Distinctions between listening and hearing, common to many languages, reinforce the idea that humans oscillate between an active and a passive disposition towards sound. Whether aesthetic (is sound pleasant or unpleasant?), ontological (what is sound?), or epistemological (how do we relate to sound?), these assumptions are seldom put into question.
This course examines examples of sound art that force us to confront unwritten expectations and cultural norms. It presents artistic sonic practices in the context of research on auditory culture, linking sound art to alternative ways of thinking about, making, and knowing through sound. In so doing, the course examines the power of sound to influence and change our lives.
This course includes guest lectures, a soundwalk, and a visit to a sound artist’s studio.

Course objectives

  • Students will be introduced to the world of sound art –its definitions, history, and current practices– in the context of interdisciplinary research on sound in different cultures.

  • Students will become familiar with some of the most important topics of sound studies/auditory culture, including the distinction between hearing and seeing; sound art in relation to the environment; deafness and auditory technologies.

  • Students will study sound (art) not only through close readings, but also through active listening, e.g. by visiting sound art exhibitions, listening to recordings, and soundwalking.

  • Students will present their own listening experiences orally and in writing, learning to connect them to broader theoretical debates.

  • Students will apply what they learn and engage with the course materials creatively through a final group project.


Second semester, 2020-2021.

Dates and times

Wednesdays 17.15-18.45.

Lectures/Seminars dates:

17 February 2021 CANCELLED
24 February 2021
3 March 2021
10 March 2021
17 March 2021
31 March 2021
7 April 2021
14 April 2021
21 April 2021
28 April 2021

Final group projects:
12 May 2021
19 May 2021


The lectures/workgroups take place AT HOME/ONLINE

Mode of instruction

Lectures and seminars.

Course Load

Total course load 5 EC x 28 hours = 140 hours

Lectures (2 hours x 10 weeks) = 20 hours
Study of compulsory literature and listenings = 80 hours
Assignments (3 hours a week x 10 weeks) = 30 hours
Final assignment = 10 hours

Assessment method


The final grade for this course is established determining the weighted average of the following elements:

Weekly assignments 40%
Attendance and active participation 20%
Presentation of the final project: 40%

Weekly assignments can be failed, but all of them need to be completed and submitted.

Inspection and Debriefing

Feedback on the weekly assignments will be provided in class. Debriefing is possible on an individual basis.


In principle, students should attend all meetings. Absence in more than 2 meetings implies that a student cannot pass the course.


In case a student is not able to submit one or more of the weekly assignments due to documented extenuating circumstances, the instructor will provide an alternative. In case the final (weighted average) grade for the course is insufficient, the student may redo one or more of the weekly assignments, or the lecturer may provide one or more alternative or additional assignments.

In case a student is not capable of completing a weekly assignments, the lecturer will provide an alternative assignment.
In case the final (weighted average) grade for the course is not sufficient, the student may redo one or more of the weekly assignments, or the lecturer may provide one or more additional assignments.

Inspection and feedback

Students are returned their weekly assignments including comments and grades.

Feedback can be arranged through individual appointments.


Brightspace will be used.
Brightspace plays an essential part in this course. All important information about the course, including course requirements, information on the readings, and announcements will be available on the course website.

Reading list

See Brightspace for required readings for each class. Additional readings and listenings will be provided in class.


Enrolment through uSis is mandatory.
General information about uSis is available on the website

Registration Studeren à la carte and Contractonderwijs

Registration Studeren à la carte
Registration Contractonderwijs


Lecturer: Dr. A. Giolai
Coordinator: Dhr. ir. R.T.W.L. Schneemann


For other courses in the domains of music and fine arts, please visit:

Elective courses music and fine arts