Sounds and Tones as cultural property?

Project Director: Prof. Dr. Thomas Hengartner (Cultural Anthropology, Hamburg)
Research Associate: Johannes Müske M.A.

Project Abstract

Sounds and tones are omnipresent, even though they often are trace (or track)less elements of our sensory surroundings, our perceptions and order. As they are largely closed off from being preserved – the exception being provided by song or music – they have also barely been consciously perceived as an element of cultural property.
The questions and analytic interest of this sub-project are therefore situated at several different levels:

  • The scope or range of the concept of cultural property. An examination of the discussions thus far conducted on sounds and tones as a constitutive element of cultural property is meant to illuminate how wide the scope or range of this concept can, or should, be.
  • Cultural property seen as a phenomenon of a technologized information society. The question of the role of technology and media in negotiating cultural property is particularly relevant to audio stocks, but it is also a dimension that cuts across all the sub-projects.
  • Negotiating cultural property in an institutional environment of (media)-archives. Very few institutions declare themselves responsible for acoustics and its archiving. The analysis here would be how cultural property is negotiated and “administered” at a meso-level.
  • Case Studies of acoustic culture. Surveying and analyzing specific cases of sounds or tones that have become part of cultural property is meant to illuminate how they have become cultural signs, or rather, how they have become elements of the cultural heritage.
Publications
  • Johannes Müske (2010): Die technische Dimension der Konstitution/Konstruktion von Cultural Property. In: Bendix, Regina, Bizer, Kilian, Groth, Stefan eds.: Die Konstituierung von Cultural Property: Forschungsperspektiven. Göttingen: Universitätsverlag Göttingen, 2010.
  • Johannes Müske: Klänge als Cultural Property? Ansätze und Methoden eines Forschungsprojekts. In: Kulturen 3 (2009) 2:21–32.
Public Presentations
  • Thomas Hengartner, Johannes Müske: “The Cultural Appropriation of Sounds: Sound Archives and the (non-)Constituting of Cultural Property on an Institutional Level”, International Symposium of the Interdisciplinary Research Group on Cultural Property, The Constitution of Cultural Property: Interim Conclusions, 15.-17.06.2011 Göttingen, Germany.
  • Johannes Müske: “Soundmarks as lieux de mémoire – Maritime Heritage festivals and the sonic ambiance in Flensburg (Germany) ”, Second International Symposium on Cultural Property, Interdisciplinary Research Group on The Constituting of Cultural Property: Actors, Discourses, Contexts, Rules, 17.-20.08.2010 Göttingen, Germany.
  • Johannes Müske: “The technical dimension in the constituting of Cultural Property”, International Symposium on Cultural Property, Interdisciplinary Research Group on The Constituting of Cultural Property: Actors, Discourses, Contexts, Rules, 12.-15.11.2009 Göttingen, Germany.
  • Johannes Müske: “Constructing Sonic Heritage: the accumulation of knowledge in the context of sound archives”, “Local Knowledge and Open Borders: Creativity and Heritage” University of Tartu / International Summer University und Conference der SIEF Arbeitsgruppe Cultural Heritage and Property, 29.07– 04.08. 2009.
  • Johannes Müske, MA, Zürich: “Zu den Grenzen von Cultural Property: Die technische Aneignung der Klangwelt”, Tagung der Deutschen Gesellschaft für Volkskunde, Tübingen, 21.-24.9.2011.