‘Inscription’ is a research and artistic journey that started from the question of ‘Can an act of listening exist independently from a regime of sign?’

This study began in the process of understanding the ambiguous nature of the four functional taxonomy of listening proposed by the French musician Pierre Henri Marie Schaeffer.

He was an electroacoustic musician who was active in the early to mid 20th century, and he became the theoretical foundation of electronic music through experimental concepts such as Musique Concrète. 

Musique concrète converts the recorded sound into a montage It is a type of musical composition that is combined and modified through audio effects and tape manipulation techniques. And in the context of his Musique Concrète, he classified the functions of listening into 4 types and defined each function as follows.

Although this taxonomy can be effectively applied for the purpose of communicating acoustic knowledge, the classification is difficult to erase ambiguity.

Q-1. What is the crucial difference between Listening and Hearing? If the subject's intention to hear the object is different, what is the clear line between (un)intentional hearing?
Q-2. If Perceiving is an ambiguous cognition that is not signified, and Comprehending is cognition that can be treated as a sign, isn't it an interpretation outside the context of linguistics? In the context of linguistics, our experiences are somehow arbitrarily signified and perceived by ourselves.

If, as described in the table above, the boundaries of the four functions are roughly classified into the characteristics of 'ambiguity-clear' and 'subjectivity-objectivity', and carry the imperfection of words that cannot be clearly separated, this Based on the taxonomy, there was a question as to whether it was truly possible to intentionally cut off the raw materials and preferences, the purpose of his experiments.

Based on the four theoretical taxonomies of Pierre Henri Marie Schaeffer, theoretician Michel Chion classified the act of listening into three categories.

A. Causal listening: Causal listening, taking into account a cause (or source) to gather information about a sound.
B. Semantic listening: Semantic listening for interpreting reference messages with a focus on code or language.
C. Reduced listening: Listening with a focus on the quality of the sound itself, regardless of the cause.

In these three categories, Michel Chion focuses on the subjective action of listening,
In the ambiguity somewhere between the subject and the object, the concept that is difficult to escape is deleted, and at the same time, the ‘intention of action’ is emphasized. Emphasis is placed on making the classification clearer by not considering Perceiving (ouır), which is a lower level of the cognitive domain. 

His three categories of hearing helped me a lot in my understanding, but the three categories are defined in a horizontal position. It was difficult to accept and the reason is that all three categories partially support each other's definitions.
Particularly, appropriate to include two categories in the upper domain of a and c.

Q-3. Is there a ‘hearing’ that can exist independently outside the realm of signs?

The most obvious example is Acoustic, which is classified separately from semantic listening. Let's take an example that belongs to Listening.

If A, B, and C are far away, let's say you hear an unidentified 'click' at the same time. Q, who studied engineering, listened to Impulse. If Q had been more eccentric, he might have recognized the sound along with the notion of its mathematical formula. Let's look at the case of W who majored in music. W heard a percussion instrument. Along with the concept reproduced in the grammar of Western sheet music, the pitch and length of its notes, and the loudness of the sound are marked. Finally, E, who has no major knowledge of sound or music, heard the sound of applause or the sound of a balloon popping, and looked at the place, recalling several situations where those sounds could be heard.

Even if the sound itself does not contain a specific sign intentionally, the arbitrary meaning naturally generated in one's head in the act of listening in the cognitive system is unavoidable, and 'listening' can be independently, perhaps from a point of view of a machine.

In this study, AI technology is used to mechanically synthesize speech sounds from different cultures and try to make a language that is sound like a language but means nothing.


1. Translate Charles Cross's Inscription into 6 languages and record it. (Korean, English, French, German, Chinese,
2. Classify/divide the recorded words in 6 languages into columns and rows according to their meaning.
3. Synthesize the words of each line using the nSynth program.