Research

  • Listening to Las Vegas
  • GRANTEE
    Douglas Moffat
    GRANT YEAR
    2014

Douglas Moffat, Hotel Owners, Newspaper, Music, 2014, Philadelphia. Courtesy of the artist.

A cache of reel-to-reel audio tapes, made by the Learning from Las Vegas research group in 1968 is rescued from failing media to recover some of the early sounds of Las Vegas. Celebrated for the wattage of its lighting, Las Vegas is also illuminated by a vast sound system wired into all aspects of the city. Venturi, Scott Brown, and Izenour are known for their study of the signs and significance of that city, but new readings have also pointed to an increased awareness of the sensory power of the Strip. Restoration and close listening to these tapes provides an intriguing window into the history of distributed sound systems in urban North America and new entry point into an architectural classic.

Douglas Moffat is a sound artist, landscape architect, and researcher whose interest is the sound of the urban environment. His graduate thesis Listening to Las Vegas explored the sonic environment of the Las Vegas Strip. He has presented sound installation work at the Jardin de M├ętis Festival and the Send + Receive Festival. For two summers, he has cotutored workshops for the Architectural Association in London. He and frequent collaborator Steve Bates were recently awarded the competition for OKTA, the first permanent outdoor sound installation for the City of Toronto, to open in spring 2015. He lives in Montreal, Quebec, Canada.