Happy New Year! – Happy New Lab!

Yesterday we began installing the lab in the new building of the Institut für Kulturwissenschaft at the Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin: a newly built edifice right on the opposite side of the Pergamon Museum, over the river Spree, Georgenstrasse 47. Our first working space at Humboldt-Universität will be situated on the first floor and we will cooperate with the colleagues and assistants of the so-called media.lab on the fourth floor. The perspective of doing research in our first project on Functional Sounds together with Thomas Macho and in close exchange with Christian Kassung as well as with Wolfgang Schäffner and Wolfgang Ernst is highly inspiring! After the usual technical installments, filling out forms, and after discussing the arrangements for our working space and many more details with the administration of the institute we entered a vacant conference room and began our work.

In this very first official research workshop of our first project we took a dive right into the methodological and procedural questions of the Functional Sounds-project – in field research and critical analysis: How is a participatory observation of individual design practices (in the field of functional sounds) to be prepared and executed? What would be an intriguing starting point for exploring the approach of semiotics to sonic pragmatics and signifying sounds beyond music? What ideas, terminologies and thinking figures of the médiologie by Régis Debray could enrich the current discours in sound studies?

We agreed to start with a double strategy: (a) with working on two semiotic texts: Roland Posner, Kultursemiotik (in: Nünning/Nünning 2003) and Katrin Moll, Die ‚Atmo‘ – Tondramaturgische Gestaltung durch Geräuschatmosphären im Film und im Hörspiel (in: Debus/Posner 2007); and (b) with an intensified research on current developments in sound design and its currently most prominent designers as well as conceptualizing the set-up for an adaequate sound studies-equipment for the lab. Moreover, Carla Müller-Schulzke will work in this week on a first, brief review on the sound-related materials in the Archiv für Semiotik.