Opening to the Surround George Rahi

Using field recordings of birdsong, radio transmissions, and Indonesian gamelan instruments, Opening to the Surround explores our capacities for different modalities of listening. The composition draws from Pauline Oliveros’s listening meditations and her theorization of two distinct modes of listening which she calls ‘global attention’ and ‘focal attention’. For Oliveros, ‘focal attention’ is likened to a lens that produces clear, object-oriented details of sounds. ‘Global attention’ is described as being of a diffuse nature, sensitive to the entire flow of sound and its overlapping dimensions. In Opening to the Surround, a state of continual flux between focal and global attention is developed, which asks the listener to perceive time passing at different rates of pulsations and to shift between focal and global attention to navigate the unsteady field.

  • Year of composition: 2017
  • Genre: Soundscape
  • Format: Fixed media
  • Duration of the submitted work: 8:54
  • Premiere: January 10, 2018, Vancouver Co-op Radio - Tribute to Pauline Oliveros event

Linked project

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