Murmurans Mundus: Sonic Ecology and Beyond, 2018
2nd CENSE Annual Conference
3-5 October 2019
Location: Faculty of Art and Design at JEPU in Ústí nad Labem, Czech Republic
Murmurans Mundus: Sonic Ecology and Beyond* was an international interdisciplinary conference focused on the current matters of acoustic ecology perceived from the perspective of arts and both social and natural sciences. The aim of the conference was to contribute to the international discussion on topics such as noise pollution, options of interpretation and manipulation of the acoustic environment or possibilities to reflex “acoustic ecology” in the educational process.The conference picks up where the founding conference, CENSE, left off. The Central European Network for Sonic Ecologies conference was held in Budapest at the end of November and beginning of December 2018.
The project is based on collaboration of Faculty of Art and Design at Jan Evangelista Purkyně University, Ústí nad Labem (CZ), Faculty of Education at Jan Evangelista Purkyně University in Ústí nad Labem (CZ), The Soundscape Research Studio, Institute of Cultural Studies, University Wroclaw (PL), Faculty of Arts, Constantine the Philosopher University, Nitra (SK) and Moholy-Nagy University of Art and Design, Budapest (HU).
Three basic theses, formulated by the composer and philosopher Raymond Murray Schafer in 1977, introduced the idea of acoustic ecology, including his conception of soundscapes, of the ecology of sound, and of the deep listening method. The moment of a factual recording of a sonic situation, of a soundscape, and the further processing of such a recording is seen as less important in this context than the existential and environmental situation connected with the actual act of subjective listening to the manifest acoustic events present in the given space and time. Since the topic of acoustic ecology in Central Europe is still marginal, this conference aims to ask the right questions, rather than to provide clear answers to them. The program of the event will take place at the Faculty of Art and Design at Jan Evangelista Purkyně University in Ústí nad Labem. Apart from five thematic blocks, the conference program will also include workshops, sound performances, sound walks and an exhibition of sound installations.
Outputs of the project were:
- AV Performances
:::: October 3
Session 1 - SOUND AS A SOURCE OF INFORMATION AND A MEANS OF ENVIRONMENTAL CHANGE
(The acoustic environment as an indicator of the critical state of the world and the need to alter our relation to it.)
Peter Cusack - Aral Sea Stories: Soundscapes of A Major Environmental Change
Sixty years ago the Aral Sea in Central Asia was the planet’s fourth largest lake. Today it has almost disappeared; a victim of vast Soviet irrigation schemes that divert too much water from its source rivers. It is one of the 20th century’s most significant, and least known, environmental disasters. However, since independence, Kazakhstan is successfully restoring a part of the Aral in its territory. Rising water levels and a reborn fishing industry are bringing obvious improvements to the local ecology and economy. It is a much needed positive example in the climate change debate and in re-thinking our relationship to the environment. Since 2013 I have made several trips to the Aral and its watershed to make field recordings, take photographs, talk to people and to try to understand the impact of these major changes. During the talk recording of sounds from the region will be played, their stories told and the implications discussed.
Peter Cusack is a field recordist and musician with a special interest in environmental sound and acoustic ecology. His projects have included community arts, research into sound and our sense of place, and documentary recordings in areas of special sonic interest (Lake Bajkal, Aral Sea, the Chernobyl exclusion zone, the Caspian oil fields, or UK nuclear sites). The project Sounds From Dangerous Places explores soundscapes at the sites of major environmental damage. Cusack initiated the Favourite Sounds project in London 1998 with the aim of discovering what people find positive about their everyday sound environment. The project has since been established in Beijing, Berlin, Brussels, Chicago, Prague and Birmingham. He lectures in Sound Arts and Design at the London College of Communication and was recently a DAAD artist in residence in Berlin.
Tomáš Šenkyřík - Soundscape of South Moravia, Virtual field recording trip from the confluence of the Morava and Dyje rivers to the peak in the Wild Carpathians
The landscape’s current sound environment often reveals more than a picture. In my fieldrecordings I can very clearly observe the increasing noise level. Especially the noise that isattacking us from heaven (aircraft pollution). Heaven is increasingly filled with airplanes every year, and our forests and meadows are increasingly exposed to increasing unpleasant noise. Through the recordings I will show how one of our oldest rare forests is humming. Then I will introduce how such a forest sounds when there is complete silence. It is obvious that the noise free interval (Gordon Hempton’s term) still getting shorter. I will also ask these questions in my lecture: What can we do about it? How can we ourselves positively influence the landscape. I will also emphasize that creating positive changes in the landscape means creating a new soundscape. I will illustrate my opinion with sound samples.
Tomáš Šenkyřík is a musicologist with interest in field recordings. He is interested in acoustic ecology and discovering musical structures in nature. He is fascinated in finding musical qualities in dialogues between natural and unnatural sounds. 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 Skupina, an artist group interested in field-recordings, soundscape, oral & aural history, and acoustic ecology. He is a founder of a soundmap.
Slawomir Wieczorek - Sonic Ecology and a Big City. The Soundscape of Paris according to Des Coulam
Des Coulam is the author of the field recordings of Paris. For almost 20 years, he has been carrying out systematic recordings of the city. In his practice, Des Coulam chose as his patrons Georg Perec, Ludwig Koch and photographers of Paris from the turn of the 19th and 20th century. Perec is invoked by him as an enthusiast and recorder of everyday life, who taught him to observe “what is happening when nothing is happening”. In my talk I would like to present a portrait and describe Des Coulam’s achievements in the context of questions about sonic ecology: what is noise pollution?, what is and how to preserve the uniqueness of soundscape of a city like Paris?, how to define the aims of sonic ecology in the context of big cities?
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.
Anna Kvíčalová - Manufacturing nature? How to do things with sounds in the Anthropocene
The paper will examine how the sounds of nature, both imaged, re-created and recorded, helped to reinforce a specific notion of nature in opposition to human culture and industrialization. The discussion shall be framed by contemporary debates about the „Anthropocene“, which is approached not only as a new geological, environmental and cultural-historical epoch, but also as a specific perspective, a new way how scientists, scholars, artists and different publics look at the world and describe it. In the debates about the Anthropocene, the modern binary distinctions between the natural and the cultural, subjects and objects, and sciences and the humanities, are being effectively reconsidered.
Anna Kvíčalová graduated in religion studies in Brno (MU), Amsterdam (UvA) and Berlin (FU), where she graduated with a dissertation on hearing and media communication in early modern Calvinism. Between 2013-17, she worked as a researcher at the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science in Berlin (within the projects Making the Acoustics in the 16th to 19th Century Europe and the Epistemes of Modern Acoustics). She is a member of the Berlin Center for the History of Epistemology and Material Culture (Knowledge in Motion) and is engaged in interdisciplinary research into the history of senses, media, science and religion in early modern Europe. Her current research project follows the construction of the deafness category and the changing definition of proper hearing and sound in 16th and 17th century Europe.
Jaroslaw Jaworek - Soundscape Ecology in the Perspective of Environmental and Sound History
Drawing inspiration from environmental history (especially environmental history of sound and noise) and from non-‐anthropocentric approaches, in my paper I will be tracing the agency of sound in terms of human-nature relations and will focus especially on destructive impact of anthropogenic sound on ecosystems’ soundscape. As scientists point out sound and soundscape can cause physical and mental problems (including sound‐death on mass scale caused, for example, by noise). This issue I will consider as a part of soundscape or acoustic ecology, but also as an interesting topic for historical soundscape studies. I will be stressing that sound history (as a new sub-discipline of historical science) can be used to raise awareness of the destructive force of sound.
Jarosław Jaworek is historian and musician, instrumentalist; PhD student at the Department of History, Adam Mickiewicz University (UAM) in Poznan (Poland). Studied history at the Department of History, Wroclaw University, historical anthropology at the Sorbonne, Paris IV in Paris, as well as at the Academy of Fine Arts and the Academy of Music in Wroclaw. His dissertation focuses on the role played by sound and soundscapes in the historical research.
Session 2 - DESIGN AND SOUND — CONNECTIONS BETWEEN ARCHITECTURE, URBANISM, DESIGN, AND ACOUSTICS
Sam Auinger - Listen to the Sonic Commons – Sonic works in public space by O+A
This lecture/talk deals with the way Bruce Odland and Sam Auinger (O+A) create their sound works.Using three examples: Harmonic Bridge (North Adams/MassMoCa/ since 1998), Blue Moon (NY/2004), and Sonic Vista (Frankfurt/ since 2011) it shows insights how they develop their works, which discussions develop from them, and how it contributes to the discourse of acoustic ecology.
Sam Auinger is a sonic thinker, composer and sound-artist. He is collaborating with cityplanners and architects, giving lectures and is a frequent participant of international symposiums on the topic of urban planning, architecture, media, and the senses. He was a visiting professor at the University of the Arts in Berlin, running the Experimental Sound Design department at the Sound Studies Master Program from 2008 till 2012. Currently he is an associate of the Harvard Graduate School of Design. Since 1989 he has worked together with the composer Bruce Odland as O+A, exploring the central theme of hearing perspective. Over the years Sam Auinger has received numerous prizes and awards for his work: In 1997 he was awarded the Berlin Artist-in-Residence DAAD fellowship, 2002 he received the Kultur Preis der Stadt Linz to honor his body of work and in 2007 the SKE Publicity Prize. In 2009 he was a scholarship holder of the atelier Berlin at Cité International des Arts in Paris, 2010 he was awarded city sound artist Bonn of the year and in 2011 he was featured artist at the Austrian Ars Electronica Festival.
Balázs Kovács - Hangfarm project presentation
I’m going to discuss the contacts of electronic media arts and nature in the frames of the Hangfarm (soundfarm) project started in 2013. The project covers installations, compositions, performances realized on abandoned fields, forests, village houses in and around Ellend village, concluding in yearly artist camps, symposions. Hangfarm’s general approach is against the traditional acoustic ecology methods: we feel points of cooperation between technology (or simply: electricity), noise, and nature, as we feel it in nature itself as well.
Balázs Kovács, Dr. Habil. is the hungarian philosopher and sound artist, head of the Electronic Music and Media Arts BA study programme on the University of Pécs, Faculty of Arts. Since 2013 he works on introducing and realizing a decentralized media art and nature project, called Hangfarm (Soundfarm).
Jeff Gburek - Sound Stranger
Working title for an inquiry into how constructed spaces for listening may or may not be functioning to bring about sensitivity to the actual winds of the cosmos, global problems and the limits (of controlling) interspecies communications. Also known as Where Does the Listening Really Begin? which is also the working title for the sound performance I will present at this conference, which shares some material with the aforementioned essay, but which is composed rather of field recordings, tones, timbres and a series of notebook entries made by synaesthetic eardrum talking to itself over the party line of forest, mycelia and jungle, meditating on the limitrophes and liminal experiences. With friendly voices.
Jeff Gburek Is a multi-instrumentalist, sound-designer and composer, field-recordist, radio artist and poet. He founded and worked for more than 10 years in the dance theater & butoh company called Djalma Primordial Science and held an artistic residency visa in Berlin, provided live and composed sound for this project. Jeff performed widely in the USA and conducted field research on trance-dance and music in Bali, Java and Sonoran Desert of Mexico and studied butoh in Japan with Min Tanaka, Kazuo & Yoshito Ohno (1998). More recently Jeff Gburek has played solo at DYM Festival in Gorzow Wielkopolska, Festiwal Muzykofilia in Torun and performing with Ana Kavalis in Berlin at Tatwerk Performance Forschung as part of Berlin’s Performing Arts Festival. Jeff’s hoerspiel and radio art have aired recently on Radiofrenia Glasgow, where his work has been featured for 3 years running. Through musical collaboration and leading workshops on improvisational music and interpretation of graphic scores, Jeff also works with sound installations (including multi-channel diffusion), composing audio pieces for shortwave radio and curating concerts in Berlin and Poznan.
Peter Cusack & Sam Auinger - Sound walk
:::: October 4
Session 3 - SOUND AS AN INNER EXPERIENCE — ACOUSTIC ECOLOGY AS A POSSIBILITY FOR TRANSFORMING OUR RELATION TO THE WORLD IN BOTH ART AND SCIENCE
Aleksandar Vejnovic - Audience Development in Acoustic Ecology Facilitation and empowerment for open public exemplified on a case study
Acoustic Ecology in the 21st century is facing a transition of generations in art and science. With the emergence of new digital media technology and running discourses about Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality, new approaches of listening and awareness of the sonic environment leads towards a rising field of interest. The leading question is: How can artists, educators, soundscape researchers facilitate awareness to the auditive sense and sonic environmental issues to the general public through digital media technology? The opening of this listening path for the general public will be by the end of September 2019 and counts as a sustainable project. This exemplifies a method of Audience Development in the frame of Acoustic Ecology and a strategy to bring the public closer to the sonic environment by the use of digital technology.
Aleksandar Vejnovic is an art educator, media ecologist and author. He studied sound and media culture in Darmstadt and Corfu. He currently teaches Acoustic Ecology, Intercultural Audience Development and Media Philosophy at Darmstadt University of Applied Sciences. Furthermore he conceptualizes media art projects for elementary and secondary schools, participates in international conferences and writes for trade journals. As a research member of the Soundscape and Environmental Media Lab at the Darmstadt UAS, he focuses on media aesthetics, 3D audio and soundscape studies.
Jadwiga Zimpel - Deep listening, place sensing and the sense of place
The presentation focuses on the practice of deep listening, introduced to the field of acoustic ecology by Pauline Oliveros, and aims to explore its performative as well as therapeutic qualities in relation to the concept of place. Conducting such an endeavour, presentation takes the perspective of topographical philosophy, proposed by Jeff Malpas, according to whom sense of place is a necessary condition of agency. She will try to provide a theoretical framework in which the problem of the relation between listening and place may be formulated and thought through.
Jadwiga Zimpel graduated from Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznan, where she currently works as an assistant professor. She deals with contemporary culture issues, primarily strategies for interpreting urban space.
Jan Trojan - An acoustic signal articulated by musical instruments in a form of musical composition or sound performance
The Fire Horns presentation covers three perspectives: 1. own composer’s and performer’s approach to an acoustic signal of a fire horn, 2. the Music for Fire Horns – a focus on a project of Czech radio Vltava and the Berg Orchestra from a music director’s view, 3. a musical inspiration focuses on an acoustic signal of a fire horn in a public space inside of an artificial space – the Mobile Acousmonium HAMU project.
Jan Trojan graduated in music composition at the Academy of Performing Arts in Prague where he finished his postgraduate studies focusing on acoustic ecology and soundscape. He participated in a study programme at the Universität der Künste in Berlin (2011-12). In 2015-16 he was a Fulbright-Masaryk visiting scholar at the Centre For New Music and Technology, University of California, Berkeley. Jan works as recording director and sound designer at Czech Radio and as tutor at the Faculty of Composition at the Academy of Performing Arts in Prague, specialized in electronic music. Jan is interested in sounds, silence and the space in between them.
Session 4 - SOUND AND EDUCATION: sound literacy — Listening as an important part of upbringing and education. Sound activism
Csaba Hajnóczy - Teaching Acoustic Ecology
My paper is motivated by practical interest in education regarding acoustic/sonic ecology. I’m going to focus on three questions: 1. The history of soundscape education 2. The recent academic situation in the world 3. Possibilities at my university, Moholy-Nagy University of Arts and Design Budapest, in collaboration with other universities and institutions in the region, in accordance with the programme of CENSE.
Csaba Hajnóczy is a musician, composer, musicologist, and teacher at Moholy-Nagy University of Art and Design Budapest, living and working in Budapest. He is the main initiator and organizer of the first CENSE Conference. 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.
Roberta Busechian - Sound art educational: An analysis of a sound art educational project to introduce sonic activism to school students
The question about how to teach sound art as active participation in sonic activism involves schools alongside public artistic institutions. In a way, within the following project “Klangkunst im MV,“ this question was a focal point, as the project attempted to determine the best means for introducing students to sound art practice and to fascinate them with sonic research. This project was developed in Berlin at Atrium Jugendkunstschule Reinickendorf in cooperation with comX and the Bettina-von Arnim-Schule and funded within the “Kultur macht stark – Bündnisse für Bildung 2018” through Paritätische Bildungswerk BV e.V. and the Programm JEP – Jung Engagiert Phantasiebegabt. The theme of the project, created and developed by Roberta Busechian with the support by Atrium Jugendkunstschule, was sound art practice inside the urban area of Märkisches Viertel, where the school is located. The experience showed that it is necessary in order to work properly with young people in a way that allows them to approach sound in an active way but intuitively and without constrictions.
Roberta Busechian is Founder of Spazio (T)Raum Sound Art in Milan, member of Errant Sound in Berlin. Artist and researcher: installations, conferences, work with istitutions in the context of Sound Art, electroacustic composition techniques and Sound Studies, audiovisual practice, new media, workshops and seminars about sound installations and contemporary audiovisual art practice and curatorial projects.
Martin Flašar - Teaching silence: Listening long before music
In 2009, in a review of Hana Adámková Heidrová’s book "Music-Ecological Issues and Their Place in Contemporary Music Education", I wrote to "Opus musicum" that the concept of music education based on listening to “classical” authors and song singing (from folk to popular) is definitely outdated and that an understanding the sounds of our world proves to be a far more ambitious goal than the above- mentioned anachronistic “national revival” project. At that time my idea was criticized by traditional musicology. Today we find ourselves in a situation where it is obvious that Czech music education and musicology should have solved this problem long ago. Therefore, in recent years and decades, projects have emerged that realize that music – although it is a natural human activity – finds itself at the very top of sonic art.
Martin Flašar is an assistant professor at the Department of Musicology, Masaryk University in Brno. Among his specializations belong contemporary music and media, multimedia and electroacoustic music. In 2010 he reached the Ph.D. qualification with the dissertation Le Corbusier, E. Varese, I. Xenakis: Poème électronique (1958). Facts, contexts, interpretations awarded by the First Prize in the Best Master and Doctoral Interdisciplinary Thesis Competition (Olomouc, 2011), later published by Masaryk University and nominated for F. X. Šalda Prize. As an co-author he published several monographies focused on the contemporary audio culture in Central Europe and relations between art and science (for example Sound Exchange : Experimentelle Musikkulturen in Mitteleuropa. Saarbrücken: PFAU Verlag, 2012). He was a member of the Grant commission for classical music of the Ministry of Culture of the Czech Republic and a long-term associate of the Czech Radio 3, Czech music journals and newspapers.
Šárka Zahálková - Sound as a Way to Memory
Listening as an important part of upbringing and education. Sound activism. I would like to introduce how conscious listening and field recording can be used in educational processes both with youngsters and adults or elderlies. I will present on different examples how sound education can work as a tool to reveal hidden memories, to open dialogue on certain topics related to issues of public and social space.
Šárka Zahálková is a curator, cultural manager and artist. She is primarily interested in the topic of art in relation to public space, whether in physical or figurative terms. She is a co-founder and member of the Offcity Association and since February 2018 she has been the Program Director of the Pardubice City Gallery. Since 2019 she studies PhD program — Visual Arts — on Academy of Fine Arts in Prague.
Nathan Wolek - DeLeon Springs: Listening at the intersection of geophony, biophony, and anthrophony
In The Great Animal Orchestra, Bernie Krause describes three categories of sound sources in a natural environment: “1. nonbiological natural sounds – the geophony; 2. sounds originating from nonhuman, nondomestic biological sources – the biophony; and 3. human-generated sound – anthrophony – where it intrudes and, in a few cases, blends.” His choice of the verb “intrudes” conveys the default perspective of many field recordists who try to avoid anthrophony while capturing natural soundscapes. In contrast, my recent field recording has focussed on locations where people intentionally go to be in closer contact with nature. As I have learned and will share in this presentation, these are places where Krause’s three categories intersect in interesting ways. In addition, the act of field recording in close contact with people leads to opportunities for informal education about the soundscape.
Nathan Wolek is Professor of Digital Arts and Music Technology. Nathan Wolek is an audio artist and researcher whose work encompasses advanced signal processing techniques, multimedia performance, and electronic music history. Wolek completed his Ph.D. in Music Technology at Northwestern University (2005), and is currently Professor of Digital Arts at Stetson University in DeLand, FL. He is known primarily for the Granular Toolkit and LowkeyNW package, both popular extensions to Cycling74’s Max.
:::: October 5
Session 5 - CONTEXT AS ONE OF THE PARAMETERS OF SOUND INTERPRETATION / The IMPORTANCE OF THE SOCIAL CONTEXT FOR OUR ABILITY TO LISTEN AND UNDERSTAND SOUND
Martin Nitsche - Phenomenological Approaches to Sonic Experience
Our life-environment is increasingly affected by sounds, noises, voices, and music. The roar of traffic, the buzz of electric devices in our households, the music in headphones or loudspeakers: these and similar technical sounds are complemented by the growing intensity of the voices of nature, humans, our own bodies, etc. With the notion of “sonic environment,” I designate, in this talk, precisely this acoustic shape of our life-environment. Sonic environments (in so far as they are lived) are not composed of separate sounds, but created by what are called “sonic phenomena” (i.e. phenomena of lived experience with sounds, noises, voices, and music). Our acoustic experience is broadening to such an extent that phenomenological philosophy must question the primacy of the visual for understanding the structure of perception. The talk’s objectives are based on two basic premises: 1. The philosophy (incl. phenomenology) of perception gives priority to visual experience; consequently, its basic notions and methods are modelled according to visuality. 2. Once it describes aural experience, phenomenology thematically prefers listening to a voice or music over a less articulated sonic experience (i.e. sounds without an obvious meaning, melody, or rhythm). Therefore, I aim to address these gaps in the phenomenological approach to sonic experiences. Simply put, the goal of my presentation is to suggest how can phenomenology describe sonic environments.
Martin Nitsche received PhD in philosophy in 2007 from the Charles University Prague. In 2016 he was named an associate professor at the Charles University in Prague (habilitation). 2016/17 he worked as a Fulbright Visiting Researcher at the University of California, Los Angeles, Department of Political Science. His research focuses on phenomenology, phenomenological topology (Heidegger, Merleau-Ponty), philosophy of art, aesthetics, political philosophy, theory of media, phenomenology of religion. Nitsche formulated the “transitive-topological model of phenomenology” (see in his recent book Methodical Precedence of Intertwining. An Introduction to a Transitive – Topological Phenomenology, Königshausen u. Neumann, 2018). He also published Die Ortschaft des Seins. Martin Heideggers phänomenologische Topologie (2013), 3 other books in Czech, and more than 30 papers or chapters. He is the editor of a volume Image in Space. Contributions to a Topology of Images (in a phenomenological series Libri Nigri, Bautz Verlag, 2015).
Raquel Castro - Aural identity, neighborhood and community
Central to the notion of a sound ecology is the role of sound in the definition of place – more than a notion of diffuse and abstract space. One of its goals is to document this role and determine the daily rhythms of a community. What defines an acoustic community is the existence of soundmarks. The boundary of each community is defined precisely by the limits drawn by the acoustic horizon of these unique sounds. When noise is so intense that obliterates all the soundmarks, it prevents the exchange of words and does not create singular identity but solitary individualism, we are facing a non-place. Our thesis is that spaces occupied by an undifferentiated and insignificant sound mass – traffic noise, for example – where we tend to isolate ourselves, are homogeneous universes which eliminate the singular identity of the individual or the group.
Raquel Castro is a PhD on Communication and Arts about Sound, Space and Acoustic Identity (New University of Lisbon). Among other films, she directed the documentary Soundwalkers which was presented in Subtropics Festival in Miami and screened at various conferences of sound art and documentary film festivals. She is currently working on a new documentary series called “Soa”, to be broadcasted by RTP2 in 2020. Raquel is the founder and director of "Invisible Places" International Symposium and the environmental sound art festival "Lisboa Soa". Currently, she is a fellow researcher at CICANT – Centre for Research in Applied Communication, Culture and New Technologies under the project “Aural Experience, Territory and Community”, funded by FCT.
Jozef Cseres - Sound Ecology in the Work of John Cage and Raymond Murray Schafer
The current shift towards ecology and environmentalism is therefore a logical and legitimate defence. The following text looks at John Cage’s peculiar contribution to sound ecology in a broader humanities context, especially in relation to the subsequent concepts of Jacques Attali and Raymond Murray Schafer. These three major figures grasped the phenomenon of sound and its role in culture and the environment by using perspectives, methodologies, and reasoning that I consider unprecedented. Their original theories represent the most urgent and most visionary challenges in the field of art and humanities, pointing to the social and environmental consequences of sound production.
Jozef Cseres is a lecturer on aesthetics and the philosophy of music, visual arts and intermedia at Masaryk University in Brno, Czech Republic. The main topics of his research are the problems of symbolism and representation in the arts, intermedia and multimedia, and experimental and improvised music. Alongside his scientific and pedagogic career, Mr. Cseres is also active as a curator and publisher. Since 1997 he has been the director of the international project The Rosenberg Museum in Violín, Slovakia. Between 1999 and 2010 he was an editorial board member of the international journal for literature and arts, Magyar Műhely (Hungarian Workshop), and since 2008 he has been the dramaturge of the international music festival Exposition of New Music in Brno, organized by the Brno Philharmonic. Since 2001 he has run the HeyeRMEarS label, devoted to experimental and improvised music and intermedia creativity.
(see the publication)
Irena Pivka / Brane Zorman - Sound Ecology within Contemporary Art Practice
Steklenik, a gallery for sound, bioacoustics and art is an art programe in the space of Tivoli Greenhouse in Ljubljana, Slovenia. It addresses works that are connecting art and science practices through sonic research of nature and environment. Presented artworks range from bioacoustics, sound ecology, soundscapes, sound art, etc. They are intended for curious public, interested in joint experience of botanic observation and listening to the current artwork from Steklenik program.
Irena Pivka new media artist, stagedesigner, producer. She is co-founder of gallery Stekleink produced by Cona institute, Ljubljana, Slovenia. In her artistic practice she colaborate with Brane Zorman. Their performative works investigate urban space through sound, listening and new media. These works constitute perception of a space in a new way and strengthen the interaction/awareness of the landscape and listening. The authors are working on locational sound works and sound maps for the past few years.
Július Fujak - Sonic Photography as a Trace of Kairos
The paper is focused on the semantic existential ability of sonic, field (or private, personal) recordings to save and share a non-verbalised essence of the past moments in concrete space & time contexts. We can find certain parallels between Roland Barthes´ understanding of photography in his Camera Lucida (1980) and phenomenality of sonic photos/records (of seemingly banal situations in ordinary environments full of unexpected and unpredictable sounding events). The photographic dimension of sound recordings as a special (sometimes re-discovering) inner experiences could be interpreted also in the frame of ancient notion kairos, which expresses e. g. the non-linear temporality of “that right moment” (even if it could be somewhat very subjective). The question of temporal qualities in the perception process of “sonic kairos” will be related with the thoughts of Jaroslav Vančát (Photography as a time-creating concept, 2006).
Július Fujak works at the Department of Cultural Studies, Faculty of Arts Constantine the Philosopher University. He is an aesthetic scholar, a semiotician of music, experimental composer and multi-instrumentalist. He graduated from the Faculty of Arts, Comenius University, Bratislava (aesthetics and musical sciences, 1990); Later he became a researcher at the Institute of Literary and Artistic Communication in Nitra (1996-2007). 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´s Ear in Nitra and PostmutArt.
Hraničář hall :::: October 3
Ali Chakav - Indistiguishability
The segregated room of the mind has a collective sound memory, being everywhere at a single time, with ears that don’t just hear but are creating diverse concepts in the enigmatic angles of the mind. Psyche and body are reflected facing the sound. Your mind absorbs the words of sounds (sound-word), and the voices of the words combine with your mind, The definitive moment of Sound and resonance. The rupture of the sound in the contract of silence. Sound events and incidents of sounds, the computing system of incidents and the incidents that computes us. Creating words and attracting the vocabulary of the sounds surround us in combination with your mind. And your mind means our mind.
Ali Chakav is an interdisciplinary artist and sound researcher/performer, based in London. He graduated his Diploma with a focus on environmental sound and urban auditory culture at the Academy of Media Arts Cologne-Germany. Through the use of different methods and mediums, his works concentrate on artistic investigations into the echoic collective memory in indistinguishable layers in the environment. His work has been experienced through solo and group exhibitions and performance at various galleries, museums, concert spaces and festivals, including Schnütchen Museum Köln, Kunstmuseum Celle, Skulpturenmuseum Glaskasten Marl, Kunstquartier Bethanien in Berlin, Landesvertretung NRW at the European Union in Brussels, European Media Art Festival in Osnabrück, Galerie Royal in München, IKLECTIK-art lab in London.
Aloïs Yang - Sonic Animism: The Emergences of 30-Feedback-System
is a body & sound performance that investigates the state of the sentient-being on the non human agency brought by technology.The framework of the performance is an artificial environmental cycle system that incorporates each element as the whole. It consists of 5 inputs of various types of wearable microphones, and 5 outputs of speakers covering each corner of the exhibition room. From the inner space of the machines which are processing the system– the unique sonic characters are revealed by electromagnetic sensors. To the outer space of the exhibition room– the spatial informations are manifested through audio feedback loops. They are all inter-connected as chains of cause and effect forming as many as 30 individual “sonic happenings” that mirror the dynamic states of present time-space. With this performance, Yang challenges the separation between the “objective existence” and the “subjective experience”. He aims to transform the hierarchic relationship between man and the man-made preconception of machines and physical phenomena to a coexistence of self-reflections within each other.
Aloïs is a media artist and experimental musician who explores the relationship and interaction between people, sound and the outside world. His work is influenced by both scientific approach and human imperfection in understanding nature. Alois uses a wide range of media, from interactive installation to “speculative design” and live audiovisual performance. Among the important milestones of Aloïs portfolio are the artistic residence at the Institute of Spatial Sound 4DSOUND in Budapest (2017) or the honorable mention from the Austrian festival Ars Electronica (2016). Besides European countries such as Great Britain, Iceland, Sweden and Finland Yang also presented his work in Taiwan, Japan or as part of an artistic residency in Brazil, where he developed the Micro Loop Macro Cycle performance. This series of installations, performance, video and audio production explores the environmental system through studies of different water formations. Aloïs Yang grew up in Taiwan, currently oscillating between Berlin and Prague. aloisyang.com
Jeff Gburek - Sound Strangers
Sound Strangers is an audio performance, a concerted commentary on the borderlessness of sound art in the form of Jeff’s literal praxis. For some years Jeff has been mixing his theoretical (ethical) and poetic concerns with his electro-acoustic music and field recordings to create sound worlds for all listeners, on all levels. Jeff’s works combine essay, found sound, citations, concrete and acousmatic sound with location-oriented phonography. In this way I arrive at the title for an ongoing series called “audible frontiers”.
bio see above
Jiyun Park -Invisible Indicator
4 Channel Audio Performance. Trapped time inside clouds, reflected portraits on raindrops. This piece is composed of field recordings and electronic effects to design a space andpersonal experience at middle of massive nature. Especially it is especially drafted of recordings from Iceland. This piece has its own narrative and lead audience to be in spaces which can be a virtuality or reality / Inner or outer sound. It comes up with an experience of the artist, when she faced a perfect isolation, harsh environment and death by nature. The nature is never kind to human, but it exists just what it is.
Jiyun Park is a media artist based in Germany. She explores sensory and synaesthetic state through experimentation with materials in search of hidden and inherent sounds, spatial sound, and performances. Her works are mostly influenced by crossing the threshold of space and time in her surroundings. She is actively doing collaboration performances to expand her frame, e.x communicating by data, and human-sonic interaction.
Tomáš Šenkyřík - From Lowlands to Highlands, Sound Journey around South Moravia Region
What is the sound of Southern Moravia? What are the sound messages of the South Moravia fauna in the air? How does the dawn chorus sound from the highest places of South Moravia and how does it sound in the lowlands at the confluence of Dyje and Morava?
bio see above
:::: October 4
Martin Zet - Songs With One Breath
Right, such a weird word. What right do I have to occupy the sound space? If I make a sound how long can it not take too much? Maybe I should follow my anthropometry, the limits of my body, the capacity of my lungs. Not to make my songs longer than my breath. Short compositions: 8 times inhale, 8 times exhale. How many it gives-8, 16?
Martin Zet is a visual and performance artist. In his work, Zet enlists the aid of replicas of specific visible features to reference their meaning. He makes use of the possibilities of the mutual interchange between the nearby and faraway, the known and unknown, the spoken and unspoken, and the concrete and abstract.
Barry Wan - After Life
Yomi or Yomi-no-kuni (or Yellow springs/wells”) is the Japanese word for the land of the dead (World of Darkness). According to Shinto mythology as related in Kojiki, this is where the dead go after life. Once one has eaten at the hearth of Yomi it is impossible to return to the land of the living. Yomi is comparable to Hades or Sheol and is most commonly known for Izanami’s retreat to that place after her death. Izanagi followed her there and upon his return he washed himself, creating Amaterasu, Susanoo, and Tsukuyomi-no-Mikoto in the process.
Barry Yuk Bun Wan (Hong Kong) is a diverse musician, Czech-based composer, sonic artist and guitarist Barry Wan’s music has been performed in USA, Mexico, Brazil, Sweden, Belarus, Italy, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Spain, Austria, Germany, Belgium, Japan, Taiwan and Hong Kong. He awarded and featured in different international festivals and competitions such FORO 2012 and 2013 in Mexico City, finalist at SIME 2015 in Lille, France and First prize at Musica Nova 2018.
Boštjan Perovšek - Pavilion for Spiders Sound Tour
The main material is comprised of sounds made by spiders and insects, all originally recorded as vibrational signals. These are then combined with purely electronic sounds, whose sound structure, for example in rhythm, or pitch is similar to insect and spider noises. Next, the original sounds of nature are electro-acoustically transformed and combined as a sort of “live electronics” with urban and industrial sounds. All this combines to form a giant web of communication between humans and the rest of nature.
Boštjan Perovšek, musician, composer and soundscape artist, composes experimental, electro acoustic music. He 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.
AVA Kolektiv - Moving Spaces
Moving Spaces is a site-specific project from AVA kolektiv. It’s members are Martin Bukáček (Snediggen Snurssla), Matěj Kotouček (Thistle, Sky to Speak, Sun Drugs), Andrej Nechaj (Tatratank) and Marek Salamon (Spectral Index). The most frequent result of their cooperation is an audio intervention on the edge between performance and installation, which is being created right on the spot in consideration to the architectonic, social and geographical context. Usually there are improvisations with field recordings that come from a shared archive of all four project members. In Moving Spaces all individual approaches are essentially melted into one mutating final form. Each resulting situation is being preceded by deep listening, sounds collecting, archive completing summarized with a final 4-channel audio improvisation. Spatial collage stimulates the listener to a movement between the speakers, and become an active part of improvisation. Moving Spaces are moving their activities to authorial compositions. One of them is STEPS composition (Radiocustica, 2017), which reconstructs a movement through a soundscape and it’s central topic is walk. Similar approaches can also be heard in their output from residency in Žipa for Mappa label as a part of Ušami project (2018).
AVA kolektiv connects adventurous music with extraordinary places and community vibe. Experimental music from contemporary club electronics to electro-acoustic production meets the atmosphere of unrivalled spaces – from abandoned warehouses to old houses’ roofs.
Jan Sůsa - Listen to the Sounds of Electromagnetic Fields
Mixtape of various sounds of electromagnetic fields, recorded with DIY equipment or open source software.
Jan Súsa studied philosophy at University Pardubice and Charles University, research stays at UKIM, ISSH Skopje and Eberhard Karls Universität Tübingen. Writing and translating for bi-weekly journal A2 and on-line magazine HIS Voice. Articles on themes like experimental electronic music, relationship between gender and music, music piracy, field recordings. Workshops about DIY electronics and open source software.
Slavek Kwi - Exploring the Option of Teleportation as an Alternative Strategy for Solving of Carbon Print Problem
“Artificial Memory Trace”, conceptual and experimental performance is an attempt for teleportation using sound-matter as media. An attempt to design portal in between one’s “mind” and sound-realm in distant locations. Performance is exploring simultaneously extrasensory communication (as telepathy) and teleportation possibilities as an idea / concept.
Slavek Kwi is a sound-artist, composer and researcher interested in the phenomena of perception as the fundamental determinant of relations with reality. He has a longstanding fascination with sound-environments, developing what he terms ‘electroacoustic sound-paintings’ that oscillate between sound only works and interdisciplinary works exploring social, spatial and temporal processes. These complex 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 Slavek has operated under the name Artificial Memory Trace. He facilitates experimental sound workshops with autistic children and those with learning disabilities. The workshop technique emphasises extensive listening and the stimulation of creativity through observation and the support of natural tendencies. Slavek was born in former Czechoslovakia, lived 14 years in Belgium and has been based in Ireland since 2000.
Exhibition in Hraničář Gallery, Ústí nad Labem / 24. 9. — 5. 10. 2019
The exhibition Atmospheric Disturbances was conceived as part of the international conference Murmurans Mundus: Sonic Ecology and Beyond, organized by the Faculty of Arts and Design of UJEP in Ústí nad Labem. Both within the gallery interior and in its nearby surroundings, the visitor will encounter various installations, video projections, a set of drawings and photo projections. The conference also includes two segments of lectures, concerts and performances.
The title refers to a current phenomenon in the media to which we have recently been increasingly exposed. Although in our latitudes we usually associate the weather with something that is part of our day-to-day life – something we are used to observing outside, beyond our window, or that we watch on monitors at our desks. But meteorology also has a darker side, one that can sometimes penetrate to the domestic comfort zone: a planetary theatrum of liquid, gaseous and dust systems, a chaotic thermodynamic flux of emissions, turbulences, feedbacks, bifurcations, a system of complex chemical, electromagnetic and temperature currents. Their scope and potential consequences are hard to imagine and can swiftly turn threatening. The works presented at the exhibition directly and indirectly concern the weather in its wonderous uncertainty. Both in fact and metaphorically, these artefacts indicate what has happened, what is happening right now, and what may happen in the near future. Weather and meteorology have played a powerful role in the work and personal life of the well known art brut artist Zdeněk Košek (1949–2015) who lived in Ústí. Diagrams and celestial maps (especially those created between 1980–1981 and 1990–1992) captured in real time the processes he observed in the sky. Those drawings played a magical role for Košek: he was sure that by pulling his pencil over the paper he could affect and control the weather. He could even bring on a heavy storm, or in a like manner, keep the weather calm.
A series of colour photographs by Marie Steiner (aka Marianna Rainforesteiner) is an example of a female encounter with moths – nocturnal butterflies – who, drawn by the light, fly into the open windows of the country house where she lives. In the context of our awareness of the rapid decline in biodiversity, the delicate structures of moth wings and fragile bodies of insects exposed to the landscape of the human hand bear a signum of the tragedy which underpins the human-animal relationship.
The spatial sound Installation by Jan Krombholz and Polina Katchenko was inspired by the landscape where the artists live and makes use of sonifications of the nearby Bílina River with a set of field recordings, mapping the river from its source in the hills to the place where it joins the Elbe. In this work, they collaborate with photographer and environmental activist Ibra Ibrahimovič, who has been documenting the transformations of this particular river for many years. Right next to the Hraničář Gallery building, there flows the hidden Klíšský brook, running under the pavement and – just beneath the nearby Spolchemie factory building – drains into the Bílina. Daniel Hanzlík reacts to this underground hydrogeography with a site-specific sound installation Skryté území, in which he enmeshes both physical and virtual spaces. A video projection on the sidewalk in front of Hraničář and a sonification on the facade by Michal Kindernay make use of a multimedia archive from the Most lignite landscape, recorded during the project Frontiers of Solitude several years ago.
The Bílina and the Elbe at the Hamburg estuary flow into the North Sea and this water element therefore connects the landlocked North Bohemian landscape to the maritime scale, and even the entire continent. Slávek Kwi’s audiovisual installation “Weather Patterns: Rain and Wind Impulses and Fluctuations” is also based on the artist’s long-term interest in weather phenomena where the author takes the ambivalent position of both observer and agent. “I am looking for a place where I would be an equal partner to various processes, such as disturbances, turbulence and weather changes.”
Portuguese documentary filmmaker, curator and sound artist Raquel Castro presents fragments of her new film Soa in the form of a multiscreen video installation. For several years, Castro recorded interviews with sound artists, soundwalkers and sound theorists about the role of sound and listening in human life, about the education towards improving of aural literacy. One of the authors featured in the documentary is British sound documentary filmmaker and musician Peter Cusack, whose short video from the Aral Sea is part of the exhibition, alongside videos by John Grzinich and Félix Blume, which indicate specific approaches, techniques and perspectives that many contemporary artists have adopted to capture the sounds of the landscape.
curated and organized by Miloš Vojtěchovský and Martina Johnová.
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.
orn 1970 in Teplice. Lives and works in Prague and northern Bohemia. In his work he focuses on different media and their intersections - dedicated to audiovisual projects connected with paintings, drawings, photographs, digital images and sounds or site-specific installations. The topic of the thesis is based on the relation between the physical dimension of reality and the imaginary environment of virtual data that influence our perception, experiencing and decision making. Currently teaches together with Pavel Mrkus in the Time-Based Media Studio at Faculty of Art and Design, J. E. Purkyně University in Ústí nad Labem.
The exhibition project was supported by Visegrad Fund and FUD UJEP in Ústí nad Labem
Sound and Environment: Contemporary Approaches to Sonic Ecology in Art
The publication Sound and Environment is a culmination of the Murmurans Mundus: Sonic Ecology and Beyond international interdisciplinary conference, which took place in October 2019 at the Faculty of Art and Design of Jan Evangelista Purkyně University in Ústí nad Labem and was organized in cooperation with partners from Poland, Hungary, and Slovakia. The book focuses on the current matters of acoustic ecology at the intersection of fine arts, design, music, and education, and it explores the possibilities that this discipline has to offer for reflection on today’s transforming world. The publication is designed as a collective monograph, with chapters from various authors approaching the topic from different perspectives. The aim of the publication is to capture the current research, debates, and events in the field of sound ecology, particularly in the European context. The book has been published in both English and Czech.
Editors: Jan Krtička and Pavel Mrkus
Authors of theoretical texts: Sabine Breitsameter; Jozef Cseres; Martin Flašar; Július Fujak; Anna Kvíčalová; Jan Trojan; Miloš Vojtěchovský; Aleksandar Vejnovic
Authors of art project texts: Sam Auinger; Peter Cusack; Barry Wan; Tomáš Šenkyřík; Brane Zorman & Irena Pivka; Nathan Wolek
The book was published as a part of the project Central European Network for Sonic Ecologies (CENSE)
Annual Conference supported by Visegrad Fund.
Published in 2020 by the Faculty of Art and Design at Jan Evangelista Purkyně University in Ústí nad Labem.
The Soundscape Research Studio, Institute of Cultural Studies, University Wroclaw (PL)
Faculty of Arts, Constantine the Philosopher University, Nitra (SK)
Moholy-Nagy University of Art and Design, Budapest (HU)
Faculty of Art and Design at Jan Evangelista Purkyně University, Ústí nad Labem (CZ)
CONA | institute for contemporary arts processing
The project was supported by Visegrad Fund