The Audiovisualities Lab provided a structure for encouraging teaching and research in the booming field of sound studies, complementing and challenging the existing primacy of visual studies. It offered a privileged space for research gathering of undergraduate and graduate students, and faculty, around a series of topics approached through specific classes, seminars, and workshops.
Sound studies has emerged as a major area of research in cultural and social studies. Omnipresent yet transient and ephemeral in our daily environment, sound poses issues in that it cannot be “seen”—only heard, and felt. The ineffable nature of aurality as well as the variety of sound origins—whether originating from nature, or from human technology, explains why its study is necessarily grounded in interdisciplinary approaches and methodologies. By situating sound studies and visual studies together at the center of a pluridisciplinary nexus, the AV Lab engaged with film theories and moving image practices, musicology and ethnomusicology, media studies, literature, philosophy and history, cultural anthropology, as well as cognitive psychology and neuroscience, ecology and environmental studies—to name just a few.
Housed at the Franklin Humanities Institute, The AV Lab was directed by Guo-Juin Hong (Associate Professor of Chinese Literature & Culture, AMES) and Jacqueline Waeber (Associate Professor of Music).