Ears in motion: designing a toolkit for the sounds of sport

St Clair, D 2015, Ears in motion: designing a toolkit for the sounds of sport, Doctor of Philosophy (PhD), Architecture and Design, RMIT University.


Document type: Thesis
Collection: Theses

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StClair.pdf Thesis application/pdf 17.06MB
Title Ears in motion: designing a toolkit for the sounds of sport
Author(s) St Clair, D
Year 2015
Abstract Athletes hear many different sounds while playing sport: the sounds of teammates, crowds, equipment, their own body, and their mind at work. Some hear nothing at all - a complete sonic blackout. This PhD outlines the design of a new “toolkit” for describing, recording, and representing this richly varied terrain. This toolkit has two components. The first is a notation system for describing the auditory experiences of athletes. The second is a wearable microphone system for capturing these sounds in new ways. The toolkit been used by the author and other athletes to create new works of sound design that represent the body in motion.
In the design of this toolkit, I draw on a variety of disciplines that each touch on a particular aspect of sound in sport, including psychoacoustics, sports studies, anthropology, and media studies. While the auditory experience of athletes exists at the margins these disciplines, this PhD is an effort to draw these disparate fields together for a more comprehensive approach. The notation system, the first element in the toolkit, draws on these varied disciplines and defines new ways to identify specific sounds and their relationship to athletic performance.
The majority of the design work in this PhD is devoted to creating new microphone systems for capturing the sounds of sport. While existing technologies tend to capture these sounds from the side-lines, these new microphones are worn on the athlete’s body or mounted to the athlete’s equipment. To enable recordings from the athlete’s body itself, these new microphones have been designed from the “ground up” – from circuit design to PCB fabrication to software to industrial design to 3D fabrication. These microphones isolate specific sounds in the athlete’s environment to be re-assembled in the recording studio. This synthetic process of isolating and re-assembling sound allows listeners to examine these individual sounds in new levels of detail. For the sound designer, this presents new creative possibilities. For the athlete, this process can teach them to hear their sport in new ways. The toolkit is both diagnostic and creative. The research findings sit across three closely integrated advances: the toolkit comprising new notation and microphone design, insights into the auditory experience of athletes, and a framework for a transdisciplinary field in sport, media, and sound studies.
Degree Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
Institution RMIT University
School, Department or Centre Architecture and Design
Subjects Design Innovation
Keyword(s) Audio engineering
Sound studies
Soundscape
Sound Design
Auditory Perspective
Sports science
Media studies
Design practice
Microphone design
Film and video
Note Please note: All videos are available from https://vimeo.com/album/3293278
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Created: Mon, 04 Apr 2016, 14:03:46 EST by Keely Chapman
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