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Sensing vulnerability, listening to urban atmosphere. The political possiblity of participatory sound art practice within Palermo’s suburbs”

Alloaesthesia: Senses, Inventions, Worlds, 4th International Congress on Ambiances, 2020


The article discusses how the sonic environment both reflects and shapes the atmosphere of vulnerable urban areas. It aims to investigate the potential of critical listening as a tool for attuning and exploring everyday public feelings, and it seeks to engage collaborative sound-art practice as a relevant means for empowering local communities and implementing urban policy analysis and design within vulnerable areas.

The focus is to show how an action-research practice oriented to sonic investigation can uncover unprecedented perspectives on the relationship between vulnerable neighborhoods, power hierarchies, social inequalities, and gender issues. The contribution provides the outcomes of a case study developed in Palermo at “Quartiere San Giovanni e Paolo”, where the author was involved in a public art process as researcher and sound artist, and developed a participatory project named “voci fuori campo”. 

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photo credits Nicola Di Croce