(Invited conference to the symposium « feeling the sound », 23-25 April 2004)
translated in english by Béatrice Bonzom-Gourc
Perception is often considered to be a purely passive phenomenon. We are made up of « captors » which would receive without discrimination information coming from our background. We would be as a robot made up of two micros (ears), two cameras (eyes), various captors of pressure and temperature (skin), kinetic captors (labyrinths), chemical captors (taste and sense of smell).
We can easily realize that this conception is not enough sufficient : stating that we pick up some data from our background invite us immediately to consider that this environment gives only information by its variations and that these variations are linked with our movements. If I’m cold, I look for meeting better conditions, a less windy place, a more confortable clothing, a source of heat, etc. All the actions that I undertake in order to suffer less from cold will allow me to have my thermical perceptions modified. I am made up of captors and I can modify their position, it is a first way to be active instead of only receiving information.
The same goes for hearing as for the others ... We go to a concert or to the desert as per we wish to listen to music or the silence.
Even though we can’t manage our place, we are able to turn towards a source of sound, to come near or to move away from it ; we can prick up one’s ears, certainly not as well as our dog will do it : but the hearing pavilion of man is made up of three muscles which allow him to move forwards or backwards, depending on what we desire or we fear ! We can put forwards our head, draw it back, to turn it in order to perceive in a better way the more discerning sounds. We have also found out meanings of increasing the sound in a such way that we can hear from several ten metres of distances of what it is said behind the closed window of which we capture and increase the vibration.
We transmit the sound on thousand kilometres, we can even send it in the time… The Caruso disappeared, as well as Edith Piaf and others that the recording archives restore us as well as possible.
According to Iegor Reznikoff, we hear almost prehistoric rites, building up again the best places where they should have been heard : besides the ochre or sooty drawings from our remote ancestors.