Apr 05 | Acoustic Ecology & Activism

Read Before Class



In Class


  • Spanish field recordist Francisco Lopez: “The move away from the representational and documentative does not essentially depend on transformation of sounds but fundamentally on the listening mode we carry out,” Listen to La Selva.
  • Leah Barclay’s River Listening project involves immersive community engagement through interactive listening labs, field recording, sound maps, performances and installations to experiment with digital technologies and creativity in understanding river health and aquatic biodiversity. Here are some example sounds from a GPS soundwalk that took place in Brisbane, Australia.
  • Jana Winderen’s compositions using underwater recordings and ultrasound
  • David Dunn’s “The Sound of Light in Trees” (recordings of bark beetles)
  • Listening to Disaster: Our Relationship to Sound in Danger, a wonderful blog post from Maile Colbert –full of field interviews with artists and acoustic ecologists such as Marc Behrens, Andrea Polli, Bernie Krause, and Peter Cusack–as well as a podcast produced by Eric Leonardson, Director of the World Listening Project. I’m particularly impressed by the Bernie Krause before/after recordings.
  • Chris Watson – TV interview (10min) & tracks from “Outside the Circle of Fire” CD. (raw recordings presented as-is)
  • Steven Feld recordings from “Voices of the Rainforest” CD (layered recordings edited “dialogically” with participants)
  • Hildegard Westerkamp’s “Kits Beach Soundwalk” (raw recordings are brought into studio, processed, recontextualized)
  • IM Rawes has recorded an enormous catalog of the sounds of London. The London Sound Survey includes sound maps, archives, and historical data.
  • Framework Radio: Weekly sound art and field recording radio show (+ podcast) This one is a good example of the breadth of field-recording based composition (ie not just the sounds of animals.)
  • Ultra-Red is a collective dedicated to audio art and political engagement. They produce Militant Sound Investigations where listening and recording become tools for social struggle:

    Despite the longing for technology to provide a disinterested position, the microphone does not stand apart from the struggle and represent it dispassionately. Rather, it and the listening it organizes is a part of the production of the conditions of struggle. Listening is a site for the organization of politics. To help conceptualize this process, the formulation can be written: sound field + organizing = soundscape.

  • Christopher DeLaurenti: Towards Activist Sound (The Wire magazine) includes audio clips
  • If we have time: Loss of context: How did Hugo Zemp’s Solomon Islands recordings become a hit for Deep Forest and later for Jan Garbarek?

Further Research