Sonic Rupture

by Jordan Lacey

book_cover_sonic_ruptureRecently I had the pleasure of visiting CRESSON. This was quite a moment for me, as their research has had a significant impact on my thinking and my practice, most notably in my book, Sonic Rupture. What struck me most about my visit to CRESSON was how the researchers and technical staff immediately understood my work, and this despite the fact I don’t speak a word of French. Everyday flows and interruptions – which inform my work –seemed axiomatic to their thinking. This was an exciting discovery for me. It made me realise just how significant French thought has been on my work – Lefebvre, De Certeau, Serres, Augoyard, Deleuze, Guattari. Flows, networks, ruptures, the everyday. These concepts have provided me with a framework for action as an installation artist.


My book, Sonic Rupture, is primarily a creative practice book. It reports on six installations that I installed throughout the City of Melbourne as part of my PhD. Each installation found a way to transform site-specific sounds to produce slightly altered perceptions of the real. This is discussed in detail in the second half of the book. It describes the iterative journey of the installations, which led to the formation of the sonic rupture model. The first half of the book breaks some new ground in theory by suggesting the sounds of the city can be thought of as signifiers that represent power networks affecting everyday behaviours. The installation artist is a type of activist who intends to rupture small spaces in the city, in which the sounds of the everyday are altered slightly to bring about new perceptions and behaviours. I use Felix Guattari’s a-signifying rupture to build my argument. Rupture removes signification through a parasitical relationship between installation and site-specific city sounds. Essentially the city sounds are transformed or mutated by the installations, initiating new perceptual relationships. Sonic ruptures become evolving performative spaces in which new ecologies can appear: I watched groups of people congregating, dancing, and graffiti art appearing that looked sonic, and office workers sitting, eating and contemplating.

Since the writing of Sonic Rupture I have discovered the writings of Jean-Paul Thibaud and have wondered at the transition of CRESSON’s focus from sonic effect to ambiance. It was great to have the opportunity to discuss this with a very welcoming Jean-Paul during my visit. Ambiance has broadened my thinking to now consider my work in a multisensory framework, and to consider installations as generators of atmosphere. One of my proposed research projects is embracing this concept, as I consider how an installation artist might translate ambiance between two different environments.


Jordan Lacey : Jordan has recently been appointed Research Fellow in the School of Architecture and Design. His research is located at the interface of sonic arts and urban design, investigating the role of sound installations in the development of creative cites and improved social health and wellbeing.
Sonic Rupture. A Practice-led Approach to Urban Soundscape Design. By: Jordan Lacey. Bloomsbury Academic. 2017 for paperback. 208 p. 57 mono images. 9781501338571. 44$.
Table of contents. Acknowledgments, Introduction, Shaping Sonic Cities, Creating New Natures, Interlude: The Urban Roar, Noise Meditations, Sonic Rupture, Conclusion, References, Index
To quote this article : Jordan Lacey «Sonic Rupture», Le Cresson Veille et recherche (Hypothè, december 15th 2017. [En ligne]

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Françoise Acquier (2017, 15 décembre). Sonic Rupture. Le Cresson veille et recherche…. Consulté le 21 juin 2024, à l’adresse

Françoise Acquier

Chargée de ressources documentaires Equipe Cresson - UMR Ambiances Architectures Urbanités - Ecole Nationale Supérieure d'Architecture de Grenoble.

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