Hussein Keshani

Session 3A, Friday 13th, 1:20-2:50 pm
Location: University of Alberta, Lister Conference Centre, Wild Rose Room

Session 8, Saturday 14th, 3:20-4:50 pm
Location: University of Alberta, Centennial Centre for Interdisciplinary Science, Room 1-140

The Musical Garden: Musical Digital Interpretation and Garden Architecture



Museums, national parks and various cultural sites and institutions are increasingly turning to smart phones and tablets to deliver interactive apps and websites that help interpret and enrich people’s individual experiences. However, the role music can play in digital interpretation remains relatively unexplored. This paper examines the potential role of sound arts in the digital interpretation of cultural and botanical gardens and their architecture. Using the case-study of the forthcoming “Islamic” garden at the University of Alberta’s Devonian Botanical Garden, the ways architectural elements, plants and the musical cultures of the Muslim world and its transnational communities can be meaningfully related to one another using digital interpretive methods will be examined. Four questions in particular will be explored: how can music be used to interpret botanical gardens and “Islamic gardens”; in what way can ethnomusicological, acoustemological and contemporary music culture studies research focused on Muslim cultures be applied to develop a music-centered interpretive approach to plant science and garden architecture; what can be learned from the creative fields of soundscape and new media arts that explore the relationships between sonic, spatial and natural realms; and what implications does the practice of musical digital interpretation have for integrating people’s experiences of sound and space?



Hussein Keshani is Assistant Professor with the Art History and Visual Culture Program at UBC Okanagan campus in Kelowna, Canada. He researches historical visual cultures and built environments of the Islamic world, with a focus on South Asia and the role of religious thought and practice, inscriptions and gender. He is the author of a number of scholarly articles and book chapters on Islamicate and Indic visual cultures and is currently working on completing a manuscript entitled Entangled Visions: Sexuality and the Art and Architecture of Islamic Awadh, India.

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