October 9 – Joseph Clarke: Theater Acoustics and Immersive Aesthetics

In the early nineteenth century, German architects used a brief enthusiasm for technical research on theater acoustics as an occasion to consider the experiential aesthetics of bourgeois collectivity. When the designer Carl Ferdinand Langhans rejected as sonically problematic the classic French model of the elliptical theater — with the performer stationed at one focus and the royal box at the other — he effectively overturned the assumption that each performance had one “correct” instance of perception, defined as whatever reached the privileged sensorium of the enlightened despot. His challenge to the old optical model and his new theorization of building sound as an immersive medium paved the way for aesthetic theories of empathy later in the century.

We invite you to attend the “Sound of Architecture” Symposium in preparation for our discussion session and Joseph Clarke’s talk on October 9th.