This is an abstract from the Beyond Listening symposium program.

Empathic Atmospheres. Sonic stories for a sensitive cohabitation

Ida Hiršenfelder (bleepblip)

Wednesday 22 November


documentation of the lecture

The research draws from field recording practices. It explores how a recordist connects to the environment by shifting attention from localised and specific listening to observation of many sound events in an acoustic atmosphere. In this interplay of spatial perception of sonic occurrences, a recordist may experience an aesthetic, emotional, empathic or even spiritual connectedness to things. The central question is how immersive spatial composition potentially translates such subjective experiences to induce empathy and ecological awareness. It follows a loop of listening, recording, translating, composing, and re-listening. Each action entails preconceived notions about the environment and its sound, informing what the recordist finds significant. Arguments from posthumanist philosophy entangle some of these biases and propose a cultural shift that promotes a complex and non-anthropocentric sensitivity to the environment, which is not based on simple binaries and exclusions. The practical part of the research with compositions of wind, water, rock and electromagnetic radiation explicitly challenges a division between organic and inorganic nature. And asks, what stories do the non-living- others tell, do they possess musicality, and can we experience kinship with them?


Ida Hiršenfelder is a sound artist and archivist from Ljubljana. She performs under the onomatopoeic alias 'beepblip.' She was employed at +MSUM, the Museum of Contemporary Art Metelkova, on projects related to digital archives (2014–2021). She was a member of the Theremidi Orchestra from (2011–2017), a DIY sound collective, and is currently a member of the Jata C group, which researches bioacoustics and sound ecologies (2017–). In recent years, she has contributed to the Soundcamp program. Her solo albums, 'Noise for Strings, Vol. 1' (2019) and 'Noise for Strings, Vol. 2' (2020), were published by the Kamizdat label. She completed her Master of Sonology studies at the Royal Conservatoire in The Hague (2023).

Photo: Sean McIntyre