Central European Network for Sonic Ecologies (CENSE) is an informal network of individual voices, coming from various backgrounds. We propose this emerging network to fill a need, that of fostering more perceptive and conscious ideas and solutions, addressing developments in the social and cultural fields of (Central) Europe related not only to sound, ecomusicology, and sound art, but mainly to deep environmental and social changes.
CENSE was established in the framework of the The Founding Conference of CESSE / CENSE, the Central European Network for Sonic Ecologies in Budapest, 29 November to 1 December, 2018, CESSE organized and initiated by Csaba Hajnóczy.
Barbara Benish (1958) is an artist, curator, writer and farmer. She moved from Los Angeles to Prague as a Fulbright scholar and stayed. Her artwork has been shown in hundreds of international exhibitions in Europe and the US. Benish is Founding Director of Art Dialogue, a Czech NGO which runs ArtMill, an eco-art center in the Czech countryside. She is a Fellow at the Social Practice Arts Research Center at University of California Santa Cruz, and an Advisor to the UN Safe Planet Campaign.
Opening this aural sense, as well as oral, tactile, and olfactory, is part of the physical experience that exposes our bodies to pain and pleasure, reconnecting them to the environment around us. In this way the traditional optical engagement of the visual arts is expanded to embrace a more vibrational, meta-physical experience. Perception is directly connected to political and social activity, to which my work is deeply committed as we navigate the end of the Anthropocene, and seek to repair human-induced violence against the Earth.
Toni Dimitrov (1980) a multimedia artist, cultural producer, radio host, communicologist, organizer, curator, label owner, mountain/rock climber and nature lover, living in Skoplje, Macedonia. He connects all those with the love for music, sound art and field recordings. Working in the field of sound art and experimenting with electronic music and radio. Have been curving his way into the new experimental music/sound art scene with his solo engagement, collaborative releases, radio art and art installations. He is searching his own way of merging styles of music, such as ambient, soundscape, long-form drone explorations with pure field recordings. Through the years released of different releases under several monikers, collaborations and bands, having releases on diverse labels and performed on many events, locally and abroad at festivals, participated at several residencies. Currently curating labels post global recordings, élan vital recordings and took part in exhibition The Audiosphere, Sound Experimentation 1980 – 2020
Lloyd Dunn or ( nula.cc ) is a founding member of the intermedia and experimental group the Tape-beatles, and editor and publisher of several small-press zines, such as PhotoStatic and Retrofuturism. Beginning in the 1980s, he has worked in a range of media, including 16mm film, video, audio, press, and works for the web. He studied linguistics and film and received an M.F.A. in art from the University of Iowa. Dunn is the author of the filecast project nula.cc, comprising hours of sound works, and hundreds of photographs, as well as texts, which often reflect his frequent travels. Individual ‘filecasts’ consist of assemblages of sound, images and words which are freely available for download. Since 2001, Dunn has lived and worked in Prague.
Darko Fritz / Gray Zone (1966) is artist, curator and researcher, living and working in Zagreb and Korčula. His work bridges over the gap between contemporary art, media art and network culture, taking up topics such as the glitch, error, and surveillance and uses different media as graphic art, photography, video, internet, etc. He is a critical observer of technology that changes the society, but he has also worked on a series of projects in which he used untypical media. His curatorial work and research on New Tendencies and early digital art has earned international acclaim with exhibitions at HDLU, Zagreb, Neue Galerie, Graz, ZKM, Karlsruhe and Akbank, Istanbul. He started the research “The beginning of digital arts in the Netherlands (1955 – 1980)”. Fritz is founder and programmer of the Grey Area – a space for contemporary and media art. Member of professional organizations HDLU (visual arts), ULUPUH (design), and AICA (art criticism).
Július Fujak (1966) is a scholar, a semiotician of music, experimental composer and multi-instrumentalist. Currently, he lectures at Department of Cultural Studies at the Faculty of Arts, Constantine the Philosopher in Nitra (since 2007). His compositions and intermedia projects were performed and broadcasted in many countries of Europe, USA, and China. He has organised for twenty years the international series and festivals of contemporary, unconventional music and intermedia art Hermes’ Ear in Nitra and PostmutArt.
Having just a joy & insight in sound: as unconventional composer/comproviser ocreating various musical-sonic situations (in field recordings including), and as semiotician/aesthetic scholar reflecting existentially semantic, cultural and socio-political dimensions of sonic environments.
Jeff Gburek (1963) is a sound artist, composer, instrument builder, field recordist & blogger, based in Poland. As a guitarist born in the USA, after studying gamelan music in Bali and Java, explored improvisation as percussionist, and built his own hybrid world music free noise junkyard percussion set with oscillators and shortwave radios. Over the course of the last few years, the works have been focused on soundscapes, horspiel, spoken-word, text, voice experiments, themes of ecology and climate change. He has had artistic residencies in Berlin, Lyon, Amsterdam (STEIM), Darmstadt, Brussels. Until the recent pandemic he's been a frequent traveler of Eastern Europe and the Balkans recording folk music and sonospheres, which he publishes primarily on his netlabel Akashic Records. Jeff attended the conference Mundus Murmurans in Ústí nad Labem.
Listening for what's crawling between the walls, looking for the unseen, reflecting on the accent of the unheard, the marginal, the innocent obscenity, going a few extra steps out of my way, wondering what that really means, enabling interfaces with the ineffable, abiding by the life of small things, learning from others, enjoying chaos, finding clues to how it all fits together, forcing nothing to be.
Jonas Gruska was born in Czechoslovakia and studied at the Institute of Sonology in Hague and at Music Academy in Cracow. His main focus is chaotic and polymetric rhythms, unconventional tunings, exploration of psychoacoustic properties of sound and field recording. He has created several site-specific sound installations, based on resonant properties of spaces and materials. Gave workshops on sonification, field recording, electromagnetic listening, and programming for artists. He is the creator of Elektrosluch – electromagnetic listening device.
Long–time field recordist and lecturer. Currently interested in contrasts of biophonic and antrophonic environements in the city
John Grzinich (1970, US/Estonia) has worked since the early 1990s as an artist and cultural coordinator with various practices combining sound, moving image, site-specificity, and collaborative social structures. He has performed and exhibited in North/South America, Europe and Japan and his compositions have been published on a host of international labels. The focus of his work in recent years has been to combine sound and listening practices with various media to challenge age old anthropocentric perceptions of the world we inhabit. He lives in Estonia and apart from his personal artistic practice, coordinates activities for the artist-run organization MoKS. He is currently a visiting Associate Professor of New Media in the Faculty of Fine Arts at the Estonian Academy of Arts and a visiting professor of Sound Design at RISEBA University in Riga.
Csaba Hajnóczy (1957) is a musician, composer, musicologist, and teacher at Moholy-Nagy University of Art and Design Budapest, living and working in Budapest. He was the main initiator and organizer of the CESSE – Conference #1. His recent artistic interest is field recording based composition and the use of spatial sound systems. Since 2013 he has given numerous talks and workshops in the field of acoustic ecology, including soundwalks, in Hungary, Poland, Belgium, Turkey. Csaba participated in the Architecture and Senses in Plasy, 2017 and in all following CENSE events.
I see it as a possibility to develop projects and interactions among individuals, associations and universities in the region to make it part of the worldwide flow of the ecology of sound and related art.
Petra Kapš alias OR poiesis (1975) weaves her work among the arts of sound, radio, chrono-spatial poetry, poetic performance, books and reflection. Aside from the ethereal features of sound, she focuses on the physical presence of the body. She extends the word, her core medium, with sonic spheres of sonorous poetry. Kapš is interested in aural memory and the deep time of the body. Incorporating an (a)syntemporal presence through the digital sphere, she researches the possibilities of intimate radio and is concerned with the void ear of the internet listener. Her sound/radio/book works are located solitudes. Petra participated in the Soundworms gathering, Architecture and Senses, in the Cesse, conference in Budapest, and Second life of Recorded Sounds conference in Wroclaw 2020.
My main axis spins around modalities of silence and the aural / vibrational / resonant conditions of the planet and its matter / substances. We have bodies and with them the most magnificent sensory organism - the only one we truly possess but severely neglect to rely on the processed data. My concerns are intertwined with the anthropogenic noise, with its virtual-augmented aspects, and the concrete ones, generated by the infrastructure that is deeply embracing the crust of the earth. Regarding global warming and human narcissistic pathological behaviour / actions I would like to promote attuned listening. In my artistic practice I try to develop ways to attune with entities that surround me.
Polina Khatsenka is a new media artist from Belarus. Dominant part of her artworks is based on a wide variety of aspects of sound, such as sonic environment, field-recordings, electroacoustic music and spatial sound. Living and studying arts in Usti nad Labem, she fostered the knowledge in the field of multichannel audio formats and electronic music during a study exchange at Media and Design Faculties at University of Applied Sciences in Düsseldorf in 2018. Polina is currently getting her Master’s degree at Faculty of Art and Design, Time-based media studio, Jan Evangelista Purkyně University, Czech Republic.
Michal Kindernay (1978) is an intermedia artist, curator and performer, working and living in Prague. His audio-visual installations interconnect visual art, cinema, technology and science, reflecting ecological issues through various technological approaches in relation to nature environment. His works include audiovisual performances, interactive installations or experimental documentary or music compositions. He is one of the founders of non profit organization yo-yo and the initiator or RurArtMap project. He was one of the curators of Školská28 gallery in Prague. He works for the Agosto Foundation, teaches in Prague College and was teaching in Centre of Audiovisual Studies in Film and TV School of Academy of Performing Arts. As an organizer or artist he was involved in many international projects and participated in all CENSE conferences since 2018.
Boris Klepal (1966) is a journalist and music writer, interested in music and in sound itself. Klepal is a regular correspondent of a music journal HIS Voice, Economic Newspaper (Hospodářské noviny) and portal Aktualne.cz. Since January 2020 he works as an editor in chief of musicological revue Opus musicum. He is open to add a new topics to Opus musicum and one of them is an acoustic ecology (or soundscape studies). Visit the Soundcloud link for his field recordings. Also link to his radio show about sounds of Brno and their influence on Leoš Janáček (created with Miloš Štědroň).
If you want to know the state of the world, you should listen carefully. The sound delivers the most fleeting and accurate news.
Jan Krtička (1979) is an audiovisual artist and teacher. In his work, he often works with elements of aurality, concepts and topography. Krtička graduated in sculpture at the Faculty of Visual Arts at the Technical Univerisity in Brno. His doctoral thesis (from the Faculty of Art and Design at the University of Jan Evangelista Purkyně in Ústí nad Labem) focused on theories and critical aspects of documentation in art. Krtička is interested in the context of landscape and often engages with the contingency of nature and the determinancy of the human. He was together with Pavel Mrkus the main initiator and organizer of the conference Mundus Murmurans dedicated to Acoustic Ecology in Ústí nad Labem.
Anna Kvíčalová (1986) is a historian of science, religion and the senses. She studied in Brno, Amsterdam and Berlin; between 2013 and 2017 she was a member of the research group Epistemes of Modern Acoustics at the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science in Berlin. She is the author of Listening and Knowledge in Reformation Europe (Palgrave, 2019) and other texts on sound, hearing and acoustics. Currently she is the leader of the research project The Second Sense: Sound, Hearing and Nature in Czech Modernity at the Centre for Theoretical Study (Charles University & the Czech Academy of Sciences) in Prague.
Historical articulations of aurality show us the listener emerging from complex relations with the resonating, ever-changing world. Thinking with sound in arts and sciences may contribute creatively to exploring, permeating, and redrawing the modern boundaries between the human and the non-human, culture and nature, or subjects and objects, the boundaries we have come to see as fixed.
Slavek Kwi (born in Czechoslovakia, lives in Ireland) is a soundartist, composer and researcher interested in the phenomena of perception. He has a longstanding fascination with sound-environments, that oscillate between sound and interdisciplinarity. His audio-based situations are created mainly from site specific recordings, resulting in subjective reports for radio broadcast, ‘cinema for ears’ for multi-channel playback, sound installations integrated into the environment and performances. From the early nineties he has operated under the nick Artificial Memory Trace. He facilitates experimental sound workshops with autistic children and those with learning disabilities, he emphasises extensive listening and the stimulation of creativity through observation and the support of natural tendencies.
I am perpetually tuning in any given sound situation, looking perpetually for balance of energy in between I (as singular entity) and “the other” (as multiplicity, everything else). Is this symbolical for practical applications?
Gerard Lebik (1980) is a improviser, sound artist, composer and curator, living in Wroclaw. He explores different sources and research methods on audible and percepcion field, focuses on such phenomenas as time, space, and sound waves. Lebik intrests genres and issues such as electroacoustics, noise, sine waves, binaural sound, radio art, post-conceptualism, and sonic relation in architecture and urban context. In 2007 graduated with Wroclaw Academy of Music. Since 2015 artistic director and curator in Sanatorium Of Sound – festival exploring experimental and new music held in Sokołowsko, near the Czech Polish border.
Patrick Tubin McGinley (1975, USA/Estonia), AKA murmer, is a composer and artist working with sound, site, radio, film, and performance. Since the mid-1990’s he has built a collection of found sounds and found objects that have become the basis of his work, along with techniques of site-specific sonic intervention and interaction. In 2002 he founded framework radio, and since then has produced a weekly field recording-focused radio show heard around the world. He gives presentations, workshops, and performances based on the exploration of site-specific sound with his ongoing Echo Surveys project, while in performance his interest in field recording has expanded into an attempt to integrate and resonate found sounds, found objects, specific spaces, and moments in time, in order to create a direct and visceral link with an audience and location.
My work is about small discoveries and concentrated attention; focusing on the framing of sounds which normally pass through our ears unnoticed and unremarked, but which out of context become unrecognisable, alien and extraordinary: crackling charcoal, a squeaking escalator, a buzzing insect, or one’s own breath.
Pavel Mrkus (1970) is an audiovisual artist who makes use of digital moving images and sound often in relation to specific space. He graduated from the Academy of Arts, Architecture and Design in Prague. His later study of Religious Studies at the Charles University in Prague together with experience of four years teaching position at Toyama City Institute of Glass Art in Japan lead him to unique mixture of cultural paradigms within his work. He participated in many group and solo shows around world. Together with Daniel Hanzlik they established Time-Based Media studio at Faculty of Art and Design at J. E. Purkyne University in Ústi nad Labem. Pavel together with Jan Krtička was the initiator and organizer of the second CENSE gathering — Murmurans Mundus conference in Ústí nad Labem, 2019 and the co-editor of the antology Sound and Enviroment.
Boštjan Perovšek (1956) is a musician, composer and soundscape artist, he composes experimental, electro acoustic music and specialises in creating bio-acoustic music based on the sounds of animals, especially insects. He plays on his own or with the band SAETA, which performs experimental music. He also creates music for film, theatre, performances and multimedia installations, as well as soundscapes for museums and galleries. He works also as sound engineer for film and video. He has published a number of CDs, some as a solo artist, some with the band SAETA. His first vinyl LP entitled “Bio, Industrial Acoustica (green)” reveals compositions from his bio-acoustics and urban noise opus.
David Petráš (1994) is a sound artist and curator. He is mainly interested in the sound environment of border areas and peripheral parts of cities in Slovakia. In his audiovisual work, he deals with topics related to the surviving wilderness in the urban environment and its inhabitants. He is a co-founder of the association and festival RUINY. He graduated in Multimedia Composition at Janáček Academy of Music and Performing Arts in Brno.
Zhan Pobe (Iaroslav Pobezhan) is a cultural manager, curator, artist and sound enthusiast. He is a founder and coordinator of DZESTRA, an independent art formation based in Chernivtsi, Ukraine. Since 2012, together with his team and various partners, Zhan has developed numerous cultural and art projects, a film club, a platform for lecturers and cultural dialog, development of public spaces etc. The most recent projects are addressing the Prut river, with a growing interest in the sonic potential of rivers and of the importance of the artists participation to a wider awareness of the environment transformation: PRUT anew, the idea of cultural integration of the Prut River at downtown of Chernivtsi; Sounds of the Prut, the sound/musical residency in the Prut river area in Chernivtsi; RIVERSSSOUNDS, a platform for virtual sonic experiences and an online residency program.
Iva Polanecká (1990) is an audiovisual artist, with interest in invisible layers of reality. Her close relation towards nature is reflected in her works. She graduated from the Time-Based Media studio at Faculty of Arts and Design UJEP in Ústí nad Labem, where she collaborated as well in the program of exhibitions of the House of Art. Iva is part of the creative collective Phonon together with Martin Marek and Polina Khatsenko. She lives in Praha. Iva participated in CESSE conference in Budapest, 2018 and co-organized the 2nd CENSE conference Mundus Murmurans in Ústí nad Labem.
Martyna Poznańska is a transdisciplinary artist working primarly with multimedia installations. Intrigued by the processes of transformation and decay she has been exploring the symbiotic relations between human and non-human beings during her fieldtrips to the last primeval forest in Europe in Bialowies, attending to her own body as a connective tissue from within the environment. She exhibited and performed internationally: at Akademie der Künste, Aperto Raum, Konsumverein Braunschweig, Unsound Festival, HKAPA, Dance Bridges Festival, Art Sonje Centre in Seoul, and has worked with artists such as Hans Peter Kuhn, or Peter Cusack. Martyna holds a magisterium degree in Spanish Philology (JU, Krakow, 2010), she completed a Sound Art course at the University of the Arts, London and studied with prof. Hans Peter Kuhn at the Universität der Künste Berlin obtaining a Master of Arts title in 2016. Martyna lives and works in Berlin, Białystok and London.
Anamaria Pravicencu studied sculpture and sound art at Ecole Nationale Supérieure des Beaux-Arts in Paris, and in 2001 received a scholarship at the School of the Art Institute in Chicago, Sound Department, supported by LVMH. Interested in working with space in site specific situations, her artistic practice was initially favoring architectural interventions and sound installation, and through the SÂMBĂTA SONORĂ program and the SEMI SILENT podcast platform, she increasingly presented sound compositions and performances. For SEMI SILENT, Pravicencu works also as a producer for pieces by Romanian artists and her own. In 2018, Pravicencu opened a program of individual and collective sound art residencies, SONIC FUTURE RESIDENCIES, whose productions are presented to the public through the SEMI SILENT podcast platform and public listening sessions.
Manja Ristić (1979) graduated at the Belgrade Academy of Music, then awarded at the Royal College of Music, London. As a classical solo and chamber musician as well as a composer and an improvising musician Manja performed all across Europe and in the US, involving collaborations with established conductors and performers, multimedia artists, visual artists, poets, theatre and movie directors. Manja’s sound related research beside contemporary performance in the field of instrumental electro–acoustics, is focused on interdisciplinary approach to a sound art, field recording as well as experimental radio arts. Manja is founder of the Association of Multimedia Artists Auropolis, that by her guidance developed distinctive number of cultural events, international projects, cultural conferences and educational modules in the fields of scene and multimedia arts. Published poet and a sound theory researcher, she also signs number of theatre and movie productions as author, composer and performer. Manja participated at the founding CESSE Conference in Budapest, 2018. Works and lives on the coast of island of Korčula, Croatia and is member of the organinisation of Grey Zone / Siva zona.
Tomáš Šenkyřík (1972) is a musicologist with interest in field recordings, in acoustic ecology and in discovering musical structures in nature. He likes listening to nature without noise pollution, especially fragile and quiet sounds. From 1999-2008 he worked in the Museum of Romani culture as an ethnomusicologist. He is a member of association Skupina, an artist group interested in field-recordings, soundscape, oral & aural history, acoustic ecology. Tomáš is living and working in Židlochovice, a town south of Brno, Czech Republic. He is the founder of soundscape.cz. Tomáš participated in the Soundworms gathering in Plasy, in Cesse conference in Budapest, and in Mundus Murmurans conference in Ústí nad Labem.
Over the past five years, I have basically never had the chance to record the dawn chorus without aircraft pollution.Yet the very moment of awakening, when night merges with the beginning of the day, is fascinating.
Audrius Simkunas (1967) is a sound artist, experimental music performer and sound archivist / activist. He started his carrier more than 30 years ago as a rock musician and went through many self transformative stages, however environmental attention was / is always an important aspect of his work. In his published composed sound releases (mainly going under a moniker Sala) and sound documentation activities, Simkunas takes special attention to the acoustic phenomena that may not be heard without help of unconventional recording techniques and devices, including hydrophones, contact microphones, electromagnetic fields antennas, VLF receivers, etc. It is used to reveal the inaudible layers of world that surrounds us.
Besides solitary field practices and investigations I am running field recording workshops and sound walks, actively promoting non-invasive listening culture and acoustic ecology ideas in Lithuania.
Saša Spačal (1978) is a postmedia artist, living in Ljubljana, Slovenia, working at the intersection of living systems research, contemporary and sound art. Her work focuses primarily on the posthuman continuum, where human beings exist and act as one of many elements in the ecosystem and not as sovereigns. Therefore abandoning the Cartesian system of classification and accepting the fact that the field of technology has expanded not only from hardware to software but also to wetware resulting in hybrid phenomena inscribed in mechanical, digital and organic logic. Her work was exhibited and performed at venues and festivals such as Ars Electronica Festival, Prix Cube Exhibition, Transmediale Festival, etc and was awarded Prix Ars Electronica Honorary Mention and nominated for Prix Cube. Saša attended the conference The Architecture and Senses in Plasy 2018.
Photo: Kalsey Heyden
“My artistic research focuses on entanglements of environment-culture continuum and planetary metabolisms. By developing technological interfaces and relations with an organic and mineral soil agents I try to address the posthuman condition that involves mechanical, digital and organic logic within bio-politics and necro-politics of our times.“
Miloš Vojtěchovský (1955) is a curator, art historian, and audiovisual artist. In 1992 he founded the Hermit Foundation, later the Center for Metamedia in Plasy Monastery. Together with Peter Cusack started up the ongoing project Favourite Sounds of Prague sonicity.cz. He curated the Czech section in the international networking project Soundexchange and co-curated the symposium and festival vs. Interpretation held in Prague, 2016 by the Agosto Foundation and the Frontiers of Solitude project - 2015 - 2017. Other project include: Deep Space Gateway, Soundworms Ecology Gathering, 2017, and Architecture and the senses, 2018.
He thinks that we are obliged to try almost everything, to affect the current economical system and to challenge the destruction of environment, we are - as the human race and as individuals - responsible for. At least we could try to change our lifestyle?
Sławomir Wieczorek PhD, graduated in cultural studies and musicology. He is a lecturer at the Institute of Musicology at the University of Wrocław. Member of the Soundscape Research Studio , editorial staff of the journals: Res Facta Nova and Polish Soundscape Journal . Author of the book On the musical front: socialist realist discourse on music in Poland 1948–1955 (Wrocław University Press 2014), co-editor of the book Sounds of War and Peace. Soundscapes of European Cities in 1945 (Peter Lang Verlag 2018). His interests focus on the history of twentieth-century music and soundscapes. Slawek was the main organizer of the third CENSE conference The Second Life of Recorded Sounds in Wroclaw October 2020.
Šárka Zahálková (1982) is a curator, cultural manager and artist, living and working in Pardubice. She is interested in the topic of art in relation to public space, whether in physical or figurative terms. Her art range includes drawing, time-based media, installations, sound art and community oriented participative projects. She is a co-founder and member of the Offcity Association and since 2018 she has been the Program Director of the Pardubice City Gallery. She studies PhD program — Visual Arts — on the Academy of Fine Arts in Prague and is the Fulbright – Masaryk Alumna (New York, USA). Šárka participated the the Mundus Murmurans conference in Ústí nad Labem.
Brane Zorman (1962) is composer, intermedia artist, sound man-i-pul-ator, producer living in Ljublana. Has composed music for theatre, dance, multimedia and newmedia sound pieces, as well as released several soundtrack CDs and EPs for various labels. He composes music for film, TV and radio commercials. His achievements include the first DTS surround encoded soundtrack for a theatre performance in Slovenia, the first DTS surround CD release in Slovenia. He has an interest in special sound design, effects and sound sculptures – soundscapes, as well as live surround sound projects and events in various public spaces. He collaborates with different intermedia artists as Irena Pivka with her he founded the CONA - Institute for contemporary art processing. Brane and Irena participated in the CESSE and Mundus Murmurans conferences.