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An Archaeology of Sound

with Umashankar Manthravadi

Edited by Nida Ghouse in association with Jenifer Evans
Haus der Kulturen der Welt / archive books, 2020
Ca. 180 pages, English
ISBN: 978-3-948212-41-4
Price: €20

To be published in fall 2020, pre-orders via and at b_books2, Haus der Kulturen der Welt

The life and work of Umashankar Manthravadi is a history of sound and technology through the second half of the 20th century. As a self-taught acoustic archaeologist, he has been building ambisonic microphones since the 1990s to measure the acoustic properties of premodern performance spaces. The publication An Archaeology of Sound accompanies the exhibition A Slightly Curving Place, and together they respond to the proposition in Umashankar’s practice that we can’t just look for theaters in landscapes of the past – we must listen for them. Including scripts, scores, conversations, and essays, the publication considers its own format in relation to the notion of writing as the first sound-recording device.

With contributions by Vinit Agarwal, Moushumi Bhowmik, Padmini Chettur, Nida Ghouse, Alexander Keefe, Sukanta Majumdar, Umashankar Manthravadi, Maarten Visser and others.