Since the 1970s sound design has been a crucial part of cinematic esthetics. We discuss the sensory richness provided by sound in film experience, given the secondary role played by hearing in our visually dominated culture. We consider examples illustrating a variety of creative strategies, with a focus on the interaction between technology and esthetics.
Barbara Flückiger worked as a sound engineer in the film industry before entering academia. In 1995 she finished a degree program in German literature, film studies, and communication science at the University of Zurich, and in 2001 she completed a PhD. She has taught at various universities and film schools in Germany and Switzerland. In 2007 she began to work as a visiting professor in film studies at the University of Zurich; in January 2014 she was made full professor. She has devoted much study to the interaction of technology and esthetics, particularly in the digital domain. She spent the fall of 2011 and the summer of 2012 at Harvard University investigating the history of color film. From her research, she developed the digital project Timeline of Historical Film Colors (http://zauberklang.ch/filmcolors/). Since 2013 she has led DIASTOR, a collaborative project that aims to support the analog film industry in the face of today’s digital dominance (http://www.diastor.ch).
Michael Wedel studied German literature, history, and philosophy at the Free University of Berlin and film and television science at the University of Amsterdam. After completing a dissertation on the history of musical film in Germany, he was an assistant professor of the history and theory of media and culture at the University of Amsterdam. In 2009 he was made Professor of Media History in the Digital Age at the Film University Babelsberg. From 2011 to 2014 he was the research director of the Filmmuseum Potsdam. His publications include Der deutsche Musikfilm: Archäologie eines Genres 1914–1945 (2007), Filmgeschichte als Krisengeschichte: Schnitte und Spuren durch den deutschen Film (2011), Kollision im Kino: Mime Misu und der Untergang der “Titanic” (2012), and Körper, Tod und Technik: Metamorphosen des Kriegsfilms (with Thomas Elsaesser; 2015).