Producing a "Natural" Sound

Interweaving and Differentiating Analog and Digital Audio to Create the Soundscape of a Great Show

Keywords: sound, sound space, sound sensitivity regime, digital, show, sound engineer sound, sound space, sound sensitivity regime, digital, show, sound engineer son, univers sonore, régime de sensibilité sonore, numérique, spectacle, ingénieur du son

Abstract

Based on ethnographic investigation into the sound system of a large-scale performance, the article seeks to understand what happens to digitally processed sound in a situation where the professionals involved are trying to produce a “natural sound”. The investigation pays attention to the ontology of what makes up sound in order to answer the question of its naturalness and how its different materialities contribute to it. The field of investigation is a celebration that has taken place only once a generation, for three centuries, and mobilises several thousand people, including about twenty sound engineers. This article gives an account of sound as a practical achievement, the fruit of multiple conversions, and cleaning operations.

Author Biographies

Dominique Vinck, Université de Lausanne

Dominique Vinck is Professor of Social Studies of Science and Technology at the University of Lausanne. He is director of the Institute of Social Sciences and of the Doctoral Programme in Digital Studies. His research focuses on the sociology of science, innovation, and digital culture engineering. He directs the Revue d’Anthropologie des Connaissances. He has published in particular: Everyday Engineering. Ethnography of Design and Innovation (MIT, 2003), The sociology of scientific work (E.Elgar, 2010), Critical studies of innovation (E.Elgar, 2017), Les métiers de l’ombre de la Fête des Vignerons (Antipodes, 2019), Staging Collaborative Design and Innovation (E. Elgar, 2020).

Sarah Waeber, Université de Lausanne

Sarah Waeber is a Junior SNSF researcher and member of the STSLab, Institute of Social Sciences at the University of Lausanne. She has been working on the SNSF research project The heritagization of live at the Fête des vignerons. Holder of an interdisciplinary Bachelor's degree in biology and ethnology, followed by a Master's degree in anthropology at the University of Neuchâtel, specialising in environmental and social actions, she has also worked for several years in audiovisual production.

Mylène Tanferri, Université de Lausanne

Mylène Tanferri is a PhD student in Social Studies of Science and Technology (STS) at the University of Lausanne and in Information Science at the Federal University of Bahia (Brazil). Her research focuses on visual practices in the field of digital heritage. It examines how participants structure their perceptions and environments to reach agreement on what is seen and produce quality copies. She is currently involved in "The heritagization of live" project of the SNSF (Swiss National Research Foundation) and is analysing video data from the Fête des Vignerons.

Published
2021-06-30
How to Cite
Vinck, Dominique, Sarah Waeber, and Mylène Tanferri. 2021. “Producing a ‘Natural’ Sound: Interweaving and Differentiating Analog and Digital Audio to Create the Soundscape of a Great Show”. TSANTSA – Journal of the Swiss Anthropological Association 26 (June):51-70. https://doi.org/10.36950/tsantsa.2021.26.6920.