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Unit of study_

CAEL5035: The Art of Sound and Noise

Semester 2, 2023 [Normal day] - Camperdown/Darlington, Sydney

This unit of study will engage a studio-based approach to the production of sound art works through the prism of two of its primary means, namely recording and amplification. The emphasis will be on the production of recorded sound works and sound devices that can expand and develop the relationships between the analogue and the digital and between the composed and the open-ended structures of noise as an event. The unit will begin with ideas from sound ecology and music concrete and by way of field recording, sound manipulation and performance heading in an exploratory way towards the limits of sound as noise, situating the spectrum of a material practice with sound in a historical context. This unit will be conducted in an open studio framework within workshops, sound studios and digital labs suitable for candidates working in a broad range of artistic disciplines. Sound has the potential to invent new sonic landscapes and to demarcate unheard psycho-geographies: from radical approaches towards production to potential new collaborations in the street (or in the landscape), from the technical and the scientific to oral investigations of the social. This open studio investigates sound as a primary vehicle for artistic expression in a work of contemporary art.

Unit details and rules

Unit code CAEL5035
Academic unit Sydney College of the Arts
Credit points 6
Available to study abroad and exchange students


Teaching staff

Coordinator Joyce Hinterding,
Tutor(s) Peter Blamey,
Type Description Weight Due Length
Creative assessment / demonstration Assignment 2: Self Directed (Experimenal Sound)
sound art project
50% Formal exam period
Due date: 13 Nov 2023 at 23:59

Closing date: 15 Nov 2023
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO10 LO9 LO8 LO7 LO6 LO5 LO4 LO3 LO2
Assignment Research Blog
Research Blog
20% Formal exam period
Due date: 13 Nov 2023 at 23:59

Closing date: 15 Nov 2023
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4 LO5 LO6 LO7 LO8 LO9 LO10
Creative assessment / demonstration Assignment 1: Sound Ecology
sound art project
30% Week 08
Due date: 18 Sep 2023 at 23:59

Closing date: 20 Sep 2023
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO10 LO9 LO8 LO7 LO6 LO5 LO4 LO3 LO2

Assessment summary

Project 1: Sound Ecology, Produce a sound artwork in response to the project brief. This will be supplied in week one and will be discussed extensively in class.

Project 2: Self-Directed (Experimental Sound), Produce & present a self-directed Experimental Sound artwork based on a project proposal.  The proposal process will be discussed in class, and academic staff will support students to creating artwork based on their ideas with appropriate processes and technologies.

Research Blog: Maintain an online blog that provides a place to document your research, projects' development, and finished sound artworks.

The Research Blog weighting (20%) is 10% on Assignment 1 and 10% on Assignment 2. 

You must attempt all assessment tasks to pass this unit!

Assessment criteria

The University awards common result grades, set out in the Coursework Policy 2014 (Schedule 1).

As a general guide, a high distinction indicates work of an exceptional standard, a distinction a very high standard, a credit a good standard, and a pass an acceptable standard.

This unit uses standards-based assessment for award of assessment marks. Your assessments will be evaluated solely on the basis of your individual performance You need to satisfy requirements as determined by academic staff, including attendance, communicated to you through the Sydney College of the Arts Handbook, unit of study outlines, other written notifications and/or verbally through tutorials or seminars. All requirements must be met in order to be eligible for an assessment.

Your work will be assessed according to the following criteria, based on: attendance; participation and responsiveness to the unit of study and academic direction; written work; studio work and other unit of study work; tutorial and seminar team discussion. These criteria apply to studio-based learning and to theory units of study.

1. Competence
Demonstration of the development and application of practical and intellectual competency and skills appropriate to the unit of study.

2. Development
Demonstration of the ability to initiate and realise your own objectives for studio practice and theory work within the requirements of the unit of study and of your developing knowledge of the historical and theoretical context of your practice. You are expected to improve your abilities, competency and understanding over the course of a semester, and over successive semesters.

3. Critical Awareness
Demonstration of developing a critical awareness and knowledge of the unit of study and the ability to objectively evaluate your own work, select appropriate methods and materials and to formulate and evaluate ideas/methods.

4. Commitment
Demonstration of commitment and self-motivation in respect of the unit of study. The level of commitment to study in the academic program is reflected in; the development of self-motivation applied to individual, group or assignment-based work; the degree of participation in all units of study including group work, project submissions, essays and discussions; the development of a consistent work pattern; and the regularity and punctuality of attendance and submissions.

5. Innovation
Demonstration of innovative and imaginative thinking, appropriate to the unit of study, evidencing the quality of ideas underlying your work and development in your studies.

For more information see guide to grades.

Late submission

In accordance with University policy, these penalties apply when written work is submitted after 11:59pm on the due date:

  • Deduction of 5% of the maximum mark for each calendar day after the due date.
  • After ten calendar days late, a mark of zero will be awarded.

Academic integrity

The Current Student website  provides information on academic integrity and the resources available to all students. The University expects students and staff to act ethically and honestly and will treat all allegations of academic integrity breaches seriously.  

We use similarity detection software to detect potential instances of plagiarism or other forms of academic integrity breach. If such matches indicate evidence of plagiarism or other forms of academic integrity breaches, your teacher is required to report your work for further investigation.

You may only use artificial intelligence and writing assistance tools in assessment tasks if you are permitted to by your unit coordinator, and if you do use them, you must also acknowledge this in your work, either in a footnote or an acknowledgement section.

Studiosity is permitted for postgraduate units unless otherwise indicated by the unit coordinator. The use of this service must be acknowledged in your submission.

Simple extensions

If you encounter a problem submitting your work on time, you may be able to apply for an extension of five calendar days through a simple extension.  The application process will be different depending on the type of assessment and extensions cannot be granted for some assessment types like exams.

Special consideration

If exceptional circumstances mean you can’t complete an assessment, you need consideration for a longer period of time, or if you have essential commitments which impact your performance in an assessment, you may be eligible for special consideration or special arrangements.

Special consideration applications will not be affected by a simple extension application.

Using AI responsibly

Co-created with students, AI in Education includes lots of helpful examples of how students use generative AI tools to support their learning. It explains how generative AI works, the different tools available and how to use them responsibly and productively.

WK Topic Learning activity Learning outcomes
Formal exam period Assignment 2: Self-Directed (Experimental Sound) Due 50% Audio research Blog Due 20% Present and Upload Presentation (3 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4 LO5 LO6 LO7 LO8 LO9 LO10
Week 01 Unit Overview and Introductions: Presentation on Sound Art, Noise and the Soundscape / Introduction to Assignment 1: Sound Ecology & Research Blog Seminar (3 hr) LO1 LO2
Week 02 Seminar & Studio: Field Recording: SoundScape. / Exercise 1 Sound Walk / Intro to AV, OWHS, Recording devices, Microphones. Seminar (3 hr) LO3 LO6 LO7 LO8 LO10
Week 03 Seminar & Studio: Acoustic spaces: Listening & Resonance. / Music Concrete: Manipulation & Distortion / Self Publishing Audio / Recording and Publishing Formats. / Exercise 2 "I am sitting in a room" Seminar (3 hr) LO3 LO4 LO5 LO7 LO10
Week 04 Seminar & Studio: Intro to Audio Editing. Present results of exercises 1 & 2. Intro to Sound Studio and PA Seminar (3 hr) LO4 LO7 LO8 LO10
Week 05 Group Crit: Present Assignment 1 Sound Ecology work in progress, ideas blog. Seminar (3 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO5 LO6 LO7 LO8 LO9 LO10
Week 06 Introduction to Assignment 2: Self-Directed ( Experimental Sound). individual Tutorials Seminar (3 hr) LO3 LO4 LO7 LO8 LO10
Week 07 Seminar & Studio or Self-directed Study: Check weekly Schedule + SCA Art Week. Intro to Basic Audio Electronics. / No input & Sound effects. / Workshop on building a Contact microphone. / Exercise 3 Vibration Seminar (3 hr) LO3 LO5 LO6 LO10
Week 08 Assignment 1: Sound ecology Due 30% present and upload finished work. Presentation (3 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4 LO5 LO6 LO7 LO8 LO9 LO10
Week 09 Seminar & Studio or Public Holiday Check the weekly schedule on CANVAS. Intro to Basic Audio Electronics. / No input & Sound effects. / Workshop on building a Contact microphone. / Exercise 3 Vibration Seminar (3 hr) LO3 LO4 LO7 LO8 LO9 LO10
Week 10 Present proposal for Assignment 2: Self Directed ( experimental sound) ideas, research, experiments work in progress and blog Seminar (3 hr) LO3 LO4 LO5 LO6 LO7 LO8 LO9 LO10
Week 11 Seminar: Sound Waves & Generating Noise Hardware and Software Sound studio Individual tutorials Seminar (3 hr) LO3 LO4 LO5 LO7 LO8 LO9 LO10
Week 12 Seminar & Studio: Technical Troubleshooting, Sound Installation: Hardware / software Individual Tutorials Seminar (3 hr) LO5 LO6 LO7 LO8 LO9 LO10
Week 13 Group Crit: Assignment 2 Self Directed (Experimental Sound) work in progress and blog Seminar (3 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4 LO5 LO6 LO7 LO8 LO9 LO10

Attendance and class requirements

  • Preparation: Students should commit to spend approximately three hours of preparation time (reading, studying, homework, projects, etc.) for every hour of scheduled instruction.

  • Students must attend a minimum of 90% of timetabled activities for this unit of study unless granted exemption by the Unit Coordinator.
  • All assignments are compulsory and must be attempted. 
  • You must attend scheduled assessments to be eligible to pass. Non-attendance at the assessment on any grounds insufficient to claim special consideration will result in the forfeiture of marks associated with the assessment. 

Study commitment

Typically, there is a minimum expectation of 1.5-2 hours of student effort per week per credit point for units of study offered over a full semester. For a 6 credit point unit, this equates to roughly 120-150 hours of student effort in total.

Required readings

All readings for this unit can be accessed through the Library eReserve, available on Canvas

Learning outcomes are what students know, understand and are able to do on completion of a unit of study. They are aligned with the University's graduate qualities and are assessed as part of the curriculum.

At the completion of this unit, you should be able to:

  • LO1. Have developed an understanding of noise orientated sound art through the recording and presentation processes necessary for producing an artwork
  • LO2. Demonstrate an in-depth understanding of contemporary art practices, histories and theories that informs their own creative processes
  • LO3. Plan and manage individual work practice and to work autonomously
  • LO4. Initiate, develop and resolve work, appropriate to aims and proposals
  • LO5. Demonstrate rigorous and independent thinking
  • LO6. Engage critically with social, cultural and ethical issues and apply local and international perspectives to extend their creative practice
  • LO7. Use appropriate technologies and media to effectively gather information
  • LO8. Support ideas and concepts through verbal and visual means,
  • LO9. Objectively and critically evaluate concepts and reflect on their resolution,
  • LO10. Apply OH&S principles to all aspects of practice

Graduate qualities

The graduate qualities are the qualities and skills that all University of Sydney graduates must demonstrate on successful completion of an award course. As a future Sydney graduate, the set of qualities have been designed to equip you for the contemporary world.

GQ1 Depth of disciplinary expertise

Deep disciplinary expertise is the ability to integrate and rigorously apply knowledge, understanding and skills of a recognised discipline defined by scholarly activity, as well as familiarity with evolving practice of the discipline.

GQ2 Critical thinking and problem solving

Critical thinking and problem solving are the questioning of ideas, evidence and assumptions in order to propose and evaluate hypotheses or alternative arguments before formulating a conclusion or a solution to an identified problem.

GQ3 Oral and written communication

Effective communication, in both oral and written form, is the clear exchange of meaning in a manner that is appropriate to audience and context.

GQ4 Information and digital literacy

Information and digital literacy is the ability to locate, interpret, evaluate, manage, adapt, integrate, create and convey information using appropriate resources, tools and strategies.

GQ5 Inventiveness

Generating novel ideas and solutions.

GQ6 Cultural competence

Cultural Competence is the ability to actively, ethically, respectfully, and successfully engage across and between cultures. In the Australian context, this includes and celebrates Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures, knowledge systems, and a mature understanding of contemporary issues.

GQ7 Interdisciplinary effectiveness

Interdisciplinary effectiveness is the integration and synthesis of multiple viewpoints and practices, working effectively across disciplinary boundaries.

GQ8 Integrated professional, ethical, and personal identity

An integrated professional, ethical and personal identity is understanding the interaction between one’s personal and professional selves in an ethical context.

GQ9 Influence

Engaging others in a process, idea or vision.

Outcome map

Learning outcomes Graduate qualities

This section outlines changes made to this unit following staff and student reviews.

The titles of the assignments in this unit have been adjusted and updated in response to in-class student feedback.

Work, health and safety

Over the course of the semester, you will be given guidance in the safe use of SCA's production equipment and facilities. It is essential for the safety of yourself and others and for the safety of the equipment that you follow these guidelines.


The University reserves the right to amend units of study or no longer offer certain units, including where there are low enrolment numbers.

To help you understand common terms that we use at the University, we offer an online glossary.