Takes on Sound and Space

swissnex San Francisco invites two Swiss sound specialists to GAFFTA to examine the relationships of sound and music to the built environment and how sound factors into buildings and social spaces. Includes an audio-visual performance.

Event Details


923 Market Street, San Francisco, California 94103 United States


November 07, 2010 from 6:00 pm to 10:00 pm America/Los Angeles (UTC-07:00)

swissnex San Francisco and Gray Area Foundation for the Arts continue their common exploration of sound and space around the exhibition, Milieux Sonores, this time with a joint conference by Roberto Favaro and Joël Vacheron and an audiovisual performance by Gabriel Dunne and Gregory Zifcak.

Jointly presented by Gray Area Foundation for the Arts (GAFFTA) and swissnex San Francisco, Milieux Sonores: Sound and Imaginary Spaces is a collective show by the Institute of Computer Music and Sound Technology at the Zurich University for the Arts (ICST Zurich) and curator Marcus Maeder. Through five interactive installations, Milieux Sonores tackles questions of sound and space and gives virtual environments a physical presence.

swissnex San Francisco invites two Swiss sound specialists to GAFFTA on November 6, 2010, Roberto Favaro, from the Swiss-Italian Accademia di Architettura of Mendrisio, who examines the relationships of sound and music to built environments throughout architectural history, and Joel Vacheron, a London-based writer and cultural theorist on how sound factors into buildings and other types of social spaces. The evening continues with an audio-visual performance by Bay Area artists Gabriel Dunne and Gregory Zifcak, who offer an immersive setting designed for the occasion.

Note: Milieux Sonores exhibition hours: Tuesdays and Thursdays, 4pm-7pm through November 19, 2010.


7:00 pm  doors open
7:15 pm  conference starts
8:15 pm  Q&A, followed by drinks. Milieux Sonores exhibition open.
9:30 pm  performance by Gabriel Dunne and Gregory Zifcak
11:00 pm doors close


Joël Vacheron

Joël Vacheron is a writer and cultural theorist based in London. After completing studies in social sciences, he worked as a teaching assistant and lecturer in visual culture at the University of Lausanne. He completed an MA in photography and urban cultures at Goldsmiths, University of London, in 2006. Besides various projects related to contemporary culture, he is currently the web editor of vibrationsmusic.com and lecturer in the Visual Communication Department at the Lausanne University of the Arts (ECAL).
“With the industrial revolution, a cacophony previously unheard of started to marr the audio landscape of urban environments. Various initiatives, philanthropic or commercial, then tired to localize, problematize, and – with more or less success – regulate these new sonic ‘disturbances.’ From development of soundproof materials to isolating sound devices such as the iPod, via the background soundtracks of Muzak, a whole range of measures reveal the impact of sound on the way we deal with our environment.” —Joel Vacheron

Roberto Favaro

Roberto Favaro graduated in philosophy from the University of Padova before delving into musicology at Humboldt Universität, in Berlin, and electronic music. He is a professor at the Accademia di architettura di Mendrisio, the Mario Botta-founded architecture arm of the University of Lugano (USI) in the Italian-speaking Swiss canton of Ticino, where he teaches the subject of “Sonic Space.” He is also a professor of music history at Brera Academy of Fine Arts in Milan and on the faculty of the Venice Institute of Architecture (IUAV). Favaro is the author of numerous articles and books n Italian and in translation. His latest publication is Spazio Sonoro, or Sonic Space: Analogies, Echoes, and Complicities in Music and Architecture, published by Marsilio.
“From particular spaces dedicated to music to some buildings that are particularly musical (Fallingwater, klangkoerper schweiz, buildings by Carlo Scarpa, Renzo Piano), as well as through Luigi Nono’s relationship to the soundscape of Venice, I focus on building sound, the acoustic qualities of building materials, the city as a giant musical instrument. The idea refers to the theme of the soundscape and the ability to modify strategies based on sound design.” —Roberto Favaro


Photo: Myleen Hollero

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