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Spaces Speak, Are You Listening?
Experiencing Aural Architecture

By Barry Blesser and Linda-Ruth Salter

MIT Press 2007
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Biographic sketches of authors:

Picture of Barry BlesserDr. Barry Blesser 
has spent the last 40 years exploring the influence of cognitive and perceptual psychology on the design and implementation of technology. His doctoral thesis, the perception of spectrally rotated speech, conclusively demonstrated the existence of a variety of cognitive strategies that are available for decoding speech. As one of the pioneers of digital audio technology during the 1970s, he transformed his fantasy of a portable concert hall into the first commercial artificial reverberation system, which was used extensively in the creation of recorded and broadcast music. He demonstrated the relevance of perceptual strategies in his study of the diagnostic accuracy of medical radiologists. In the early 1980s, his research on how humans read handprint resulted in the creation of a startup company that developed an automated recognition system. While Dr. Blesser has focused on creating and implementing technology as a technical and management consultant, he also integrates the arts and social sciences into the design process. As an independent scholar, he has spent the last 5 years researching the new concept of aural architecture, which led to his current passion: the social consequences of functional deafness when in corrosive acoustic environments. Acoustics is an inseparable combination of the hard and soft sciences. See also his extended biography for more information.

Picture of Linda SalterDr. Linda-Ruth Salter was a pioneer in crossing discipline boundaries when she obtained a Ph.D. degree in Interdisciplinary Studies from Boston University in 1984. Her doctoral dissertation examined the nature of sacred space in secular societies. Additional research showed the significance of place and spatial memory in maintaining group identity. Dr. Salter has consulted in the area of research and planning for a successful built environment in public housing, educational and business spaces, and has taught urban studies at Boston University. As a consequence of living in Asia, studying Sumi-ink painting, and her interest in the symbolic meaning of material culture, Dr. Salter created a specialty in promoting historic indigenous crafts by founding an international Asian fine arts business. Recently, Dr. Salter co-authored the first scholarly article on Qing Dynasty belt ornaments, which emphasized their symbolic and social role in Chinese society. Presently she is Asst. Professor in the Humanities and Social Sciences at New England Institute of Technology, where she contributes to the fine and performing arts curriculum in a technology context. Fusing and integrating the fine arts, technology, and social science is her specialty.

Drs. Blesser and Salter, a husband and wife team of 35 years, fused their collective knowledge and experience of the physical and social sciences to create the concepts of auditory spatial awareness and its manifestation as aural architecture. Spaces Speak embodies their shared philosophic bias: technology changes the social and artistic aspects of culture, while at the same time, culture influences the properties of technology, invention, and innovation.


Last Modified: 29 November 2007