The World Listening Project's signature initiative, World Listening Day, was established in 2010 as an international day of awareness for the burgeoning and diversifying interests in our changing acoustic environment through local and online activities. The date, July 18, honors the renowned Canadian composer, music educator, and author, R. Murray Schafer on his birthday. Each year a respected practitioner creates a theme to inspire projects for World Listening Day.
In 2020 we were forced to pause by an invisible virus. This brought countless consequences to the environment, and to the sonic environment in particular. New acoustic horizons emerged, signaling times of unquietness and global change, and requiring our listening awareness to evolve.
The theme for 2021 “The Unquiet Earth” is an invitation to reflect on and engage with the constant murmur of the Earth, sounds beyond the threshold of human hearing, to remind ourselves that we share this mysterious and awesome planet. Small, hidden, subterranean, aerial, underwater, infra and ultrasonic sounds, inaudible to the naked ear, can bring a new, potentially hopeful, perspective on the future of the planet and humanity. Listening as activism encourages us to question our attitudes as listeners as we aim to construct a more inclusive and empathetic new world. Join the unquiet revolution!
For more information, visit the World Listening Day 2021 page on the WLP website.
Following COVID-19 lockdowns around the globe, there have been numerous observations made on the impact of reduced human activity in acoustic environments:
Many podcasts, recordings and multimedia projects have also been released, including:
If you are aware of any further projects or pieces investigating our acoustic environments in the time of COVID-19, please email WFAE Secretary Jesse Budel at firstname.lastname@example.org to add to this resource.
Rob Mackay - Flight of the Monarch
Rob has co-produced and presented a 30 minute radio programme for BBC Radio 3's Between the Ears called Flight of the Monarch. It was Pick of the Day in the Radio Times and is available to listen to online here: https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m000qyhz
It partly documents Following the Flight of the Monarchs, an acoustic ecology project in which streamboxes are being installed across monarch butterfly migration routes for ecosystem monitoring and the creation of artworks and telematic performances. https://followingtheflightofthemonarchs.com
Nikki Sheth presents:
Alex De Little - Sonic Acts of Noticing
Engaging with practices of field recording in Sheffield, Sonic Acts of Noticing proposes careful listening as a way to (re)think and (re)make the spaces of the high street in ways that draw attention to forms of collectivity, and support productive and agonistic relations, intensities and concerns.
This project will be shown as an installation at the British Pavillion at this year’s Venice Architecture Biennale, and through an audtio-textual web listening environment (https://sonicactsofnoticing.org/).
The project is based in and supported by the School of Architecture at Sheffield Hallam, and a collaboration with Julia Udall and Jon Orlek.
A new research project started in September 2020 at the University of Kent, which investigates the role of sound in influencing our experience of spaces and places. It focuses on heritage sites and it aims to recreate soundscapes of bygone ages based on historical documentation. The project will run until the end of 2022 and is led by Dr Aki Pasoulas, a board member of UKISC. Further details: https://research.kent.ac.uk/sonic-palimpsest
David de la Haye - Land Lines Project: Nature Revealed
David has created an 'ASMR Edition' EP, which was released alongside his Land Lines commission:
In times when personal connections often take place online, the concept of digital intimacy gains value. This EP, released to complement my 'Land Lines Project: Nature Revealed' commission, explores the sound of freshwater soundscapes in the context of Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response (ASMR). The close-up recording, repetitive patterns and binaural production techniques align with the genre's aesthetics, bringing ecological listening to our home environments.
More on the project can be found at: https://landlinesproject.wordpress.com/hidden-sounds-nature-revealed-by-david-de-la-haye/
The Midwest Society for Acoustic Ecology (MSAE) out of the United States is excited to join the World Forum for Acoustic Ecology as official affiliate. In early 2020, MSAE board members worked with the Chicago-based arts group NON:op Open Opera Works to organize Hear Below: Listening to the Chicago Underground. This underground pedestrian walkway sound walk and active listening artistic intervention was curated as part of the annual College Art Association conference. Read and hear more about this listening experience online at: https://mwsae.org/hear-below-listening-to-chicago-underground-3/
With the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, the MSAE needed to adjust it’s scheduled summer programming but was able to successfully do so and offer the annual Night Out in the Parks programming as a series of virtual soundwalks presented as an online screening of video and sound works that emphasized the relationship between natural and non-human worlds in Chicago parks. The virtual event featured nine teaching artists who created five videos to address diverse themes and interests including nature, queering in the parks, disability, and citizen science.
In addition to the five videos screened at a virtual event hosted by the MSAE, two of the videos premiered in the Chicago Park District’s new Your Night Out At Home program in October 2020. Learn more about this program on the MSAE website: https://mwsae.org/virtual-soundwalks-2020/
The Soundscape Association of Japan (parent organization of JASE) has re-organized as a general incorporated association since April, 2020 and met the following events in 2020: The 2020 General Meeting and Symposium was held on the 20th of June (Zoom meeting); The 2020 Spring and Autumn Research Seminars were held online on the 20th of June and the 29th of November respectively; The following regular meeting series, titled “Talking About My Work,” were given online by Keiko Torigoe (August 22), Shin-ichiro Iwamiya (October 9) and Naoko Tanaka (December 11). The SAJ is presently working to set up the Prizes of SAJ.
Questions or follow up may be directed to Tadahiko Imada (email@example.com).
The Hellenic Society for Acoustic Ecology has recently had its General Assembly and elections through an internet conference platform. The newly elected Board includes Katerina Tzedaki (president), Kostas Paparrigopoulos (vice-president), Ioanna Etmektsoglou (secretary), Kimon Papadimitriou (treasurer) and Panos Amelidis (member). Andreas Mniestris remains the representative of HSAE in the WFAE.
Due to COVID-19 restrictions, the scheduled National Conference in Thessaloniki, Greece which was planned for the Fall of 2020, was postponed. The Society's activities during the past year included the online publication of the Proceedings of the 5th Hellenic Conference for Acoustic Ecology “ Sound, Embodiment; Education” which had taken place in Kalamata, Peloponese, Greece, in September 2018. The Proceedings were edited by Andreas Mniestris, Kostas Paparrigopoulos and Dimitris Sarris. Katerina Tzedaki organized the mailing list of members and friends of the HSAE, and the communication with and between members has been facilitated considerably.
In addition to the latest Proceedings, the library of HSAE received a new e-book in two versions (English and Greek), entitled: “A Sound-Based Education: for Listening, Appreciating and Co-creating the Soundscapes we Live in” (I. Etmektsoglou, Z. Dionyssiou, A. Mniestris), which was developed as part of the Erasmus+ Project: “The Soundscape we live in”. Download the e-book from the site of the project or the library page of HSAE.
Report by I. Etmektsoglou.
Canadian Association for Sound Ecology (CASE) AGM
CASE had its Annual General Meeting on Jan 6, 2021 and said farewell to Eric Powell and Tyler Kinnear, thanking them for their outstanding contributions to CASE. CASE welcomes Milena Dromeva and Wendalyn Bartley as new board members and looks forward to growth in the new year.
“Listening in the Time of COVID”
The CASE project, “Listening in the Time of COVID”, congratulates the three winning contest submissions: First Place - PrOphecy Sun, Spiraled Mothering; Second Place - Shumalia Hemani, Perils of Heavy Rainfall; and, Third Place - Diego Bermudez Chamberland, Ma Fenêtre à Moi.
This was a Canada-wide call for original soundworks related to the current pandemic; the three selected soundscape compositions can be listened to at Listening in the Time of COVID.
New Adventures in Sound Art
New Adventures in Sound Art (NAISA) are planning two online participatory events in 2021 that involve public engagement across Canada and internationally in soundscape recording and discussion. The first will have online meetup workshops culminating in livestreams of daybreak soundscapes for the Reveil broadcast on May 1 organized by Sound Camp and the Acoustic Commons groups in the UK. The second will also have meetup workshops leading to a soundscape broadcast on World Listening Day (July 18). More details to follow at https://www.naisa.ca/
Darren Copeland (NAISA) firstname.lastname@example.org
Follow NAISA at:
The World Soundscape Project and Barry Truax
Recent WSP Database additions (guest password from email@example.com):
BEAST FEaST 2021: Recalibration
CALL FOR WORKS
Thursday 22 April – Saturday 24 April 2021
University of Birmingham (UK) / Online
In partnership with the UK and Ireland Soundscape Community (UKISC) & World Forum for Acoustic Ecology (WFAE).
BEAST invites you to three days of music, sound, meeting and ideas. As part of this festival we are inviting submissions in the form of music and video works, sonic dispatches, online works, talks and workshops. For further information on the theme and call for works visit http://www.beast.bham.ac.uk/beast-feast-2021/call-for-works/
This call aims for diversity of music, background, and ethnicity and we are committed to a 50:50 balance in gender representation.
Submissions open: 1 February 2021 @ 12:00 UTC+1
Deadline for submissions: 1 March 2021 @ 23:59 UTC+1
For further information visit the BEAST website:
WFAE Update November 2020: MSAE, CENSE and REA_MX News; FKL Symposium 2021; New Acoustic Ecology Books
MSAE News: Affiliate Recognition and Virtual Soundwalks
The World Forum for Acoustic Ecology (WFAE) is thrilled to welcome the Midwest Society for Acoustic Ecology (MSAE U.S.) as an official WFAE Affiliate Organisation, with Affiliate Representative, Alex Braidwood, to the WFAE’s Board of Directors.
The Midwest Society for Acoustic Ecology was founded in 2009 as a chapter of the American Society for Acoustic Ecology (ASAE), a membership organization and Affiliate Organization of the World Forum for Acoustic Ecology (WFAE). The MSAE U.S. reestablished itself independently in 2018 and registered in the State of Illinois as a not-for-profit organization with a Board of Directors residing regionally in Iowa, Wisconsin, and Illinois. To retain its formal relationship with the WFAE, the MSAE U.S. applied for recognition and status as a member Affiliate Organization per the WFAE Bylaws. MSAE U.S. will open for general membership beginning 1 January, 2021.
Adapting to the new and unprecedented changes of the coronavirus pandemic, the Midwest Society for Acoustic Ecology’s series of thematically focused soundwalks in Chicago parks has been realized in a new format. With partial support of Chicago Park District’s Night Out In the Parks arts and culture program, a series of five videos were made, adapting the series of thematically focused in-person, on-site soundwalks in the parks to virtual, online offerings. The first two were completed in September for release on the Chicago Park District’s Your Night Out At Home site.
“Listening With Singing Insects” invites people to explore soundscapes of Big Marsh Park, with a focus on identifying the many species of singing insects heard each summer. A link to the Youtube livestream can be found below:
The remaining video and sound works were presented online as a live stream event on Saturday, November 14th with presenting artists including Norman W Long, Sara Zalek, Andy Slater, JL Simonson, Katie Wood, Veronica Salinas, Chloe Lin, Carl Strang, Kathleen Soler, and Eric Leonardson. Virtual Soundwalks is hosted on MSAE’s YouTube channel which opens the door for continuing media productions to promote public engagement in listening and acoustic ecology in the future. These were archived on MSAE’s Virtual Soundwalks 2020 YouTube playlist for future listening.
The goal is to celebrate the work and resilience of our creative community, and to share and reflect on our collaborations and investigations with one another. In addition, the MSAE hopes to raise funds for the work of all the teaching artists who organized and made this media work.
This video series forms another contribution to the diversity of multimedia resources documentary acoustic ecology activity on the internet. Many of these resources can be found on the Soundscape Explorations blog, a directory of Internet videos maintained by former WFAE Secretary Gary Ferrington since 2011.
For more information on the MSAE, visit https://mwsae.org.
CENSE (Central European Network for Acoustic Ecologies) Update
A successful and fruitful 3rd conference of the Central European Network for Sonic Ecologies (CENSE) was held online 22-24 October 2020 from the University of Wroclaw, Poland. Dedicated to the Second Life of Sounds, the conference attracted 20-25 participants on ZOOM, and probably more on YouTube.
CENSE has decided to continue the conference program next year with it possibly being held in Slovakia, Vienna, or in Budapest. The site is yet to be determined. Additionally, monthly web seminars will begin, the first planned for December 2020.
CENSE is anticipating its formal establishment as an international non-governmental organization by the end of the year.
Proceedings from their 2019 conference, Murmurans Mundus: Sonic Ecology and Beyond, have recently posted on http://murmurans.ujep.cz/.
For more information, visit https://cense.earth.
REA_MX Update: Second Meeting
Red Ecología Acústica México (REA_MX) / Acoustic Ecology Network - Mexico (REA-Mexico) is a space that brings together academics, professionals, creators and students, interested in the social, cultural, ecological and scientific aspects of the sound environment in Mexico. In late 2020, REA_MX has been taking steps towards becoming an affiliate organisation of the WFAE.
Following its successful first meeting in October 2019, REA_MX is currently preparing for a second meeting to be held in December 2020.
PLACE: Mexico City
9–12 December, 2020
In order to listen to the world around us, we need to leave our homes, and then leave our daily surroundings to discover new sounds. The Covid 19 pandemic has caused an involuntary confinement that has somehow eradicated our face to face listening to many of the virtual environments and cultural manifestations that are close to us, which enhance the virtual content that offers a panorama towards the infinity of acoustic contexts that exist in the different cultures and ecologies of the planet.
The II International Meeting of Acoustic Ecology/Red Ecología Acústica México 2020 will take place between 9–12 December, 2020, from 9:30 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. It will be a virtual meeting, which will take place through the zoom platform. In order to witness this event, we ask you to send an email to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Among the conference presentations will be a virtual concert of selected works by composers and sound artists.
Visit Red de Ecología Acústica de México: Actividades for more information.
10th Symposium FKL 2021
The Klanglandschaft Forum (FKL) has announced a call for applications for the 10th Symposium FKL / Ecole de la Nature et du Paysage / AAU CRESSON (Unheard landscapes - listening, resonating, inhabiting) that will be held in Blois (France) from 6-8 April, 2021.
Download the call at the Paegassio Sonoro (FKL Italy) website.
New Acoustic Ecology Books
Sound, Media, and Ecology
edited by Milena Droumeva and Randolph Jordan
Edited by Glenfraser Endowed Professor in Sound Studies at Simon Fraser University Milena Droumeva and Dr Randolph Jordan, Sound, Media and Ecology comprises a series of essays by members of the acoustic ecology community, providing a much needed update of the discipline as a coherent problem set applicable to today’s global sound studies research.
As the publisher, Palgrave, notes:
This volume reads the global urban environment through mediated sonic practices to put a contemporary spin on acoustic ecology’s investigations at the intersection of space, cultures, technology, and the senses. Acoustic ecology is an interdisciplinary framework from the 1970s for documenting, analyzing, and transforming sonic environments: an early model of the cross-boundary thinking and multi-modal practices now common across the digital humanities. With the recent emergence of sound studies and the expansion of “ecological” thinking, there is an increased urgency to re-discover and contemporize the acoustic ecology tradition. This book serves as a comprehensive investigation into the ways in which current scholars working with sound are re-inventing acoustic ecology across diverse fields, drawing on acoustic ecology’s focus on sensory experience, place, and applied research, as well as attendance to mediatized practices in sounded space. From sounding out the Anthropocene, to rethinking our auditory media landscapes, to exploring citizenship and community, this volume brings the original acoustic ecology problem set into the contemporary landscape of sound studies.
Toward a Sound Ecology
by Jeff Todd Titon
From publisher Indiana University Press:
How does sound ecology―an acoustic connective tissue among communities―also become a basis for a healthy economy and a just community?
Jeff Todd Titon's lived experiences shed light on the power of song, the ecology of musical cultures, and even cultural sustainability and resilience. In Toward a Sound Ecology, Titon's collected essays address his growing concerns with people making music, holistic ecological approaches to music, and sacred transformations of sound. Titon also demonstrates how to conduct socially responsible fieldwork and compose engaging and accessible ethnography that speaks to a diverse readership. Toward a Sound Ecology is an anthology of Titon's key writings, which are situated chronologically within three particular areas of interest: fieldwork, cultural and musical sustainability, and sound ecology. According to Titon―a foundational figure in folklore and ethnomusicology―a re-orientation away from a world of texts and objects and toward a world of sound connections will reveal the basis of a universal kinship.”
Sound and Noise: A Listener’s Guide to Everyday Life
by Marcia J. Epstein
From publisher McGill-Queen's University Press:
An in-depth look at what everyday noise says about our culture and our communities - and how it affects our bodies and minds.
This book is about how you listen and what you hear, about how to have a dialogue with the sounds around you. Marcia Jenneth Epstein gives readers the impetus and the tools to understand the sounds and noise that define their daily lives in this groundbreaking interdisciplinary study of how auditory stimuli impact both individuals and communities. Epstein employs scientific and sociological perspectives to examine noise in multiple contexts: as a threat to health and peace of mind, as a motivator for social cohesion, as a potent form of communication and expression of power. She draws on a massive base of specialist literature from fields as diverse as nursing and neuroscience, sociology and sound studies, acoustic ecology and urban planning, engineering, anthropology, and musicology, among others, synthesizing and explaining these findings to evaluate the ubiquitous effects of sound in everyday life. Epstein investigates speech and music as well as noise and explores their physical and cultural dimensions. Ultimately she argues for an engaged public dialogue on sound, built on a shared foundation of critical listening, and provides the understanding for all of us to speak and be heard in such a discussion. Sound and Noise is a timely evaluation of the noise that surrounds us, how we hear it, and what we can do about it.
In a Acoustic Ecology listserv message, the author informed us:
“After a 10-year gestation with many setbacks, it’s finally real: acoustic ecology, sound studies, sociology, mental and physical health, children and teens and schools and noise, music as hazard and healing, community sound(scapes and scaping), hospitals, what a future might sound like, and lots more (sound cannons! mysterious hums!); 66-page bibliography. Bristling with endnotes and side chats to readers.”
Volume 17 celebrates the 20th anniversary of the Australian Forum for Acoustic Ecology and profiles the incredible diversity of acoustic ecology practice and research happening across Australia. The three feature articles showcase established Australian practitioners who are pushing the boundaries of sound and interrogating our sonic relationship with place. Volume 17 is dedicated to AFAE founder Nigel Frayne and features a tribute to his life and work from Hildegard Westerkamp.
Volume 18 brings together research from the WFAE’s UK and Ireland Soundscape Community (UKISC) affiliate with guest editor Dr Rob Mackay, an award-winning composer, sound artist and performer who works in a highly interdisciplinary context. This edition highlights selected papers from ‘Sound + Environment 2017’ – a conference hosted at the University of Hull that brought together artists and scientists to explore the ways that sound can deepen our understanding of environments.