Can we expand our awareness of remote environments by connecting them to our own bodily experience? “Sound Is Round” takes a winding journey through the superimposed environments of ocean and desert, bringing sounds from the deep ocean of Monterey Bay in California to the high desert of Northern Arizona. In doing so, it brings together experiences of material sensory space expanded by a sonic sense, an amplified listening. The intertwining of these environments and experiences comes together in a notion of roundness, through the form of the Möbius strip. By approaching land-based spaces through a different orientation, thinking through a lens of fluid sounds and listening, a sense of “oceanic consciousness” is explored. A simultaneous experience of relationship to others, to site, and to distant place is reflected through personal stories of participants.

The writing reflects the author’s own artistic practice, using the headphones and soundscape from a recent project Melt Me Into the Ocean, which explored connectedness to the deep ocean from land through sound walks. It also discusses the current project From a Whale’s Back, which works with video, sound, and data from the latest scientific research on tagged whales. Our connection to, and understanding of, the deep ocean environments are considered through these displaced remote experiences of place. Colliding sounds from these underwater environments with a research project around Roden Crater—artist James Turrell’s ongoing land-art work inside an extinct volcano—it emphasizes the importance of physical material sensory experience of place.

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