Points of reference
Current environmentally concerned sound art and science is in a similar situation that was resolved within the field of visual arts in the beginning of the 1990s. Since then the work of environmentally oriented artists was more or less recognised as a distinct movement in its own right. This open list is an attempt to bring together some names of people, initiatives and institutions approaching and thinking about sound in such a way that it resonates within the general critical environmental agenda of today. Not necessary it collides with musicians using field recordings as a material for their music composition, sound work, sound installations, radiophony etc. As well, the profession of artist or scientist is necessarily not conditional.
Eric Leonardson is a Chicago-based audio artist, co-founder and Executive Director of the World Listening Project, founder and co-chair of the Midwest Society for Acoustic Ecology, and President of the World Forum for Acoustic Ecology.
Richard Lerman (1944) is sound artist and performance artist. He has created electronic music and interdisciplinary art since the 1960’s offering performances, installations and screenings in North and South America, Asia, Europe, Australia and New Zealand. He has collaborated with John Cage and David Tudor.
John Levack Drever (born in Edinburgh, Scotland, 1973) and raised between Dalkeith and Edinburgh is Professor of Acoustic Ecology and Sound Art at Goldsmiths, University of London, where he leads the Unit for Sound Practice Research (SPR).
Eric Lewis is a professor of philosophy at McGill Univ., and the director of the Laboratory of Urban Culture (LUC). His research focuses on the philosophy of improvised arts. He also runs the annual Koumaria Improvised New Media Art Residency.
Kalas Liebfried (*1989 in Bulgaria) is a multidisciplinary artist and curator, based in Munich. He studied sculpture and time-based media at the Academy of Fine Arts Munich and Philosophy at the LMU Munich.
Dale Lloyd has been a sound artist, publisher, graphic designer, producer, musician, and visual artist. In 2001, he founded and/OAR in order to support and publish artists involved with environmental recording documents, sound art, avant-garde and electronic music.
Annea Lockwood (born 1939) is a New Zealand / American composer. She brings vibrant energy, ceaseless curiosity, and a profound sense of openness to her music.
Locus Sonus is a research group specialized in audio art. It is organized as a post graduate lab by the Art Schools of Aix en Provence (ESAA) and Bourges (ENSA) in France, and is associated with CNRS, Marseille.
Francisco López (born 1964 in Madrid, Spain) is internationally recognized as one of the major figures of the sound art and experimental music scene.
Jay-Dea Lopez is an Australian sound artist and field recordist whose work reflects the social and environmental anxieties of the early 21st century. His work reflects the social and environmental anxieties of the early 21st century.
Rob Mackay is a composer, sound artist and performer. He is currently a Senior Lecturer in Composition at Newcastle University. Recent projects have moved towards a cross-disciplinary approach, soundscape ecology, audiovisual installation work, and human-computer interaction.
Marcus Maeder is an artist, researcher and composer of electronic music. As an author, Maeder has written on a number of topics in the fields of sound art, acoustic ecology, artistic research and digital media.
Carla J. Maier (b. Müller-Schulzke 1976) is an independent researcher based in Berlin/ Germany working at the intersection of sound studies, postcolonial and cultural studies, music and cultural anthropology.
Gilles Malatray aka Desartsonnants is a listening walker, sound landscape specialist, teacher, researcher, living in Lyon, France. Throughout the years, Gilles has built interesting information sources about sound arts: DESARTSONNANTS.
Felicity Mangan is an Australian sound artist, composer and educator based in Berlin, Germany since 2008. Felicity plays with the timbres and biorhythmic patterns of her field recording archive to create quasi-bioacoustic music.
Michael Marder is IKERBASQUE Research Professor in the Department of Philosophy at the University of the Basque Country (UPV-EHU), Vitoria-Gasteiz, Spain. His writings span the fields of ecological theory, phenomenology, and political thought.
Lynn Margulis was an eminent American evolutionary biologist. Her serial endosymbiotic theory (SET) of eukaryotic cell development overturned the modern concept of how life originated on earth. She argued that different types of bacteria, through “symbiogenesis”, formed more complicated single organisms.
Danny McCarthy (b. 1950) has pioneered both sound art and performance art in Ireland and he continues to be a leading exponent exhibiting and performing both in Ireland and abroad regularly.
Andra McCartney (1955-2019) was an Associate Professor in the Department of Communication Studies, Concordia University, where gave courses on sound production, research creation, and sound theory. She was a soundwalk artist, leading public walks and creating gallery installations, recordings, performances and radio works.
Ann McMillan (born 1923, New York City, died 1994) was an American composer and musician, famous to be working with environmental sounds. McMillan was part of the burgeoning musique concrète and electronic music movement, forming sparse, eclectic sounds through tape manipulation.
Matilde Meireles is a sound artist and researcher who makes use of field recordings to compose site-oriented projects.
Jim Metzner pioneered the use of sound in radio and has been producing sound-rich radio programs since 1977, beginning his career with a ground-breaking short format series – You’re Hearing Boston.
David Monacchi (1970) is an eco-acoustics researcher, composer and interdisciplinary artist. He has been developing the project “Fragments of Extinction” for more than 20 years, conducting field research in the world’s remaining areas of undisturbed primary equatorial forest in Amazon, Africa and Borneo.
Timothy Morton (born 1968) is Rita Shea Guffey Chair in English at Rice University. They have collaborated with Laurie Anderson, Björk, Jennifer Walshe, Hrafnhildur Arnadottir, Sabrina Scott, Adam McKay, Jeff Bridges, Justin Guariglia, Olafur Eliasson, and Pharrell Williams.
Alyssa Moxley is an artist that works with sound, listening, memory, and environment. Her works include field recording, musical composition and performance, film sound design, choreography, interactive sculpture and sonic interventions. She accesses narratives of identity, place, space, and embodied experience through sound.
Rachel Mundy is an Associate Professor of Music in the Arts, Culture, & Media program at Rutgers University in Newark. She specializes in twentieth-century sonic culture with interests at the juncture of music, the history of science, and animal studies.
Marc & Olivier Namblard, audio-naturalists and listening wanderers, examining from childhood this contrasted and elusive landscape, situated in the southeast of the Massif Central, called “Cévennes”.
Jean-Luc Nancy (1940 - 2021). Shortly after he obtained his graduate in philosophy in 1962 in Paris, Nancy began to write explicitly philosophical texts. He published on authors like Karl Marx, Immanuel Kant, Friedrich Nietzsche and André Breton.
Jay Needham is an artist, radio producer and composer. His sound and visual works address the politics of borders and the aesthetics of acoustic reception. His compositions activate listening as an irreplaceable component of an artistic cognitive process.
Max Neuhaus (1939 – 2009) was an American musician, composer and sound artist. Neuhaus produced the project Listen - a listener’s manifesto, organized from 1966 on in different formats: lecture, newspaper article, post card, self-adhesive sticker, poster, as well as sound walks in New York neighbourhoods.
Curator, artist and researcher Mikel R. Nieto studied art in San Sebastian, Madrid and Barcelona. For years he has been deeply involved in phonographic practice and the resulting theory. He has given workshops in a number of cultural centres and universities.
Jim Nollman (born 1947) is an American composer, conceptual artist, author of five books, and an environmental activist. He graduated from Tufts University in 1969. In 1973, he composed a Thanksgiving Day radio piece “Turkey Song”, that featured him singing and playing flutes with 300 tom turkeys.
Martha Craven Nussbaum (born 1947) is an American philosopher and the current Ernst Freund Distinguished Service Professor of Law and Ethics at the University of Chicago, where she is jointly appointed in the law school and the philosophy department. She received her BA from NYU and her MA and PhD from Harvard.
Linda O Keeffe is a sound artist based in Edinburgh, Scotland. Her current body of practice is focused on the intersection of science & technology, ethics and communication, where she has produced a number of art works, published research papers and keynote presentations.
Emeka Ogboh (born 1977) is a Nigerian sound and installation artist. He became interested in sound art during a media class at the 2008 Fayoum Winter Academy with Austrian multimedia artist Harald Scherz. Following this experience, Ogboh paid attention to the interaction of sounds in Lagos as compositions rather than individual voices.
Open Humanities Press is an international open access publishing initiative in the humanities, specializing in critical and cultural theory. OHP's editorial board includes scholars like Alain Badiou, Jonathan Culler, Stephen Greenblatt, Jean-Claude Guédon, Graham Harman, J. Hillis Miller, Antonio Negri, Peter Suber and Gayatri Spivak, among others.
Gascia Ouzounian is Associate Professor of Music at the University of Oxford, and Fellow and Tutor in Music at Lady Margaret Hall. Her research interests include experimental practices in music and sound art; urban sound; sound and space; and new technologies in music.
Trevor Paglen (born 1974, USA) is known for investigating the invisible through the visible, with a wide-reaching approach that spans image making, sculpture, investigative journalism, writing, engineering, and numerous other disciplines.
A. Laurie Palmer’s work is concerned with material explorations of matter’s active nature as it asserts itself on different scales and in different speeds, and with collaborating on strategic actions in the contexts of social and environmental justice.
Maria Papadomanolaki is a transmission artist and composer based in Greece. Papadomanolaki has studied linguistics and literature at the Aristoteleion University of Thessaloniki before moving on to sound art and sound studies, having completed a PhD on the topic ‘Sonic Perceptual Ecologies’ at CRISAP, LCC, UAL.
James Parker is the Director of a research program on Law, Sound and the International at the Institute for International Law and the Humanities (IILAH). His research focuses on the relations between law, sound and listening, with a particular emphasis on international criminal law, the law of war and privacy.
Ingrid M. Parker is a Professor of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at the University of California, Santa Cruz. Ingrid’s research interests embrace both basic and applied problems and bridge the fields of ecology and evolution.
Aki Pasoulas is a Senior Lecturer at the University of the Arts London, and at Middlesex University. His teaching includes courses on acoustics, psychoacoustics, electroacoustic composition, digital audio, and multi-channel sound.
Roger Searle Payne (1935) is an American biologist and environmentalist famous for the 1967 discovery (with Scott McVay) of whale song among humpback whales. Payne later became an important figure in the worldwide campaign to end commercial whaling.
Samuel Perea-Díaz is a sound artist, exhibition designer, curator based in Berlin. He holds a degree in Architecture from the University of Seville and a MA in Sound Studies and Sonic Arts from the Berlin University of the Arts.
Alejandra Perez Nuñez (Punta Arenas, 1972) is an independent artist and a member of a diverse group of practitioners and writers examining the electromagnetic environment in relation to post industrial economies.
Cédric Peyronnet is a French sound artist. He is working since the ’90 around phonography (Field recordings, “sound hunting”…), soundscapes, using the principles of concrete, acousmatic, electroacoustic music.
"Sound works, recordings, scored compositions, improvisation, ongoing collaborations, installations: my work can take a variety of forms. At the most basic level, this work invokes a change, usually subtle, in the situation.
Rudolf Pöch (1870 Tarnopol, Galicia, 1921, Innsbruck) is known as a pioneer in photography, cinematography, and audio engineering. He can be regarded as a founding father of the Institute for Anthropology and Ethnography at the University of Vienna. Completed his education in Vienna, where he first studied law.
Daniela Medina Poch (she/her, Bogotá~Berlin) is a multidisciplinary artist and researcher. Medina Poch investigates how unofficial histories and interspecies entanglements contribute to the conception of ecocentric narratives, epistemic bridges that amplify non-hegemonic knowledge systems.
Andrea Polli is an environmental artist working at the intersection of art, science and technology.
Elizabeth A. Povinelli (1962) is Franz Boas Professor of Anthropology at Columbia University where she has also been director of the Institute for Research on Women and Gender and co-director of the Centre for the Study of Law and Culture.
Lucy Powell born in 1972, is a British artist who has been based in Berlin since 1995. Working mainly in video and text, her practice is an ontological inquiry that focuses on language and nonhuman intelligence.
is a sound artist and writer based on Dharug and Gundungurra land (Katoomba, NSW, Australia). Her work spans soundtracks for dance, theatre and video, solo electro-acoustic performance as well sound installations for gallery contexts, both solo and in collaboration.
Michael Allen Z. Prime is a sound ecologist, living and working in Cork, Ireland. The use of bioactivity translators to amplify the electrical activity of plants and fungi has been central to much of Prime’s work. Through the medium of sound, listeners are able to enter and interact with the transient world of plant reactions.
Douglas Quin is a sound recordist and composer whose works Oropendola (1994) and Forests: A Book of Hours (1999) blend acoustic and electronic musical improvisation with “unadulterated and unedited field recordings, processed soundscapes, electroacoustic instruments, human voice and hybridized sounds that comprise both living voices and e
Douglas Quin is a sound recordist and composer whose works Oropendola (1994) and Forests: A Book of Hours (1999) blend acoustic and electronic musical improvisation with “unadulterated and unedited field recordings, processed soundscapes, electroacoustic instruments, human voice and hybridized sounds that comprise both l
Paulo Raposo is a sound artist, curator, radio producer and occasionally film-maker based in Lisbon, Portugal.
Ivan (or Janez) Regen (known also as Johann Regen) (1868 – 1947) was a Slovenian biologist, best known for his studies in the field of bioacoustics. Regen was born in the hamlet of Lajše in Trata (today part of Gorenja Vas, Slovenia) and became interested in insect sounds as a child.
Oliver Ressler is an artist and filmmaker who produces installations, projects in public space, and films on issues such as economics, democracy, migration, the climate crisis, forms of resistance and social alternatives.
Lasse-Marc Riek (born 1975 in Germany) uses field recording as a means to capture and explore acoustic ecology, bio-acoustics and soundscapes. Since 1997, he has operated internationally, staging exhibitions and concerts, releasing recordings, and delivering lectures and workshops.
Denise Risch is a marine mammal ecologist and bioacoustician. She is based at the Scottish Association for Marine Science. She is interested in the study of underwater sounds and aquatic soundscapes.
Dylan Robinson is a xwélmexw scholar and artist (Stó:lō/Skwah). He was the Canada Research Chair in Indigenous Arts at Queen’s University on Haudenosaunee and Anishinaabe lands.
Jon Rose (born in the UK, 1951) is an Australian violinist. A polymath, he is at much at home creating large environmental multi-media works as he is playing the violin on a concert stage. Most celebrated is the worldwide Fence project.
David Rothenberg (born 1962) is a composer and environmental philosopher, best known for his musical collaboration with birds, whales and bugs, particularly. Beside that he has performed and recorded on clarinet with Jan Bang, Scanner, Peter Gabriel, Ray Phiri, Markus Reuter, Pauline Oliveros, and the Karnataka College of Percussion.
Enrique Salmón is head of the American Indian Studies Program at Cal State University East Bay in Hayward, California. He has been a Scholar in Residence at the Heard Museum and a program officer for the Greater Southwest and Northern Mexico regions for the Christensen Fund.
Philip Samartzis (born 1963, Melbourne) is a sound artist, scholar and curator with a specific interest in the social and environmental conditions informing remote wilderness regions and their communities.
Alma Sauret, graduated from Grenoble Art School (ESAD-GV) with a Master’s degree, in her plastic explorations, links her instrumental practice to her theoretical researches on music and language.
R. Murray Schafer was a Canadian composer and founder of acoustic ecology. He was born in Sarnia, Ontario but was raised in Toronto. Schafer entered the Royal Conservatory of Music and the University of Toronto in 1952 to study with John Weinzweig.
Gabi Schaffner works as a trans-disciplinary artist within the realms of radio art, composition and performance. Her artistic practice is determined by the methods of poetic ethnography in connection with fluxus-like mise-en-scènes, radio-making and sound art performances. Much of her work originates from journeys.
Claude Schryer (1959, Ottawa, he/him) believes the arts, in the context of decolonization, can play a much more impactful role in shaping our collective future and has dedicated the rest of his life to this vocation. He is a franco-ontarian sound and media artist and arts administrator of european ancestry.
German sound creator Frank Schulte has played in various international ensembles for improvised and composed sound art. He has published numerous publications on sound carriers and in various radio and television programs. He works with performance artists, dancer, actors and lyricists.
Hillel Schwartz is a cultural historian, poet, and translator currently writing on notions and experiences of “emergency” since 1760. As an historian, he is best known for Making Noise: From Babel to the Big Bang, and Beyond (Zone, 2011, 2016) and The Culture of the Copy: Striking Likenesses, Unreasonable Facsimiles (Zone, 1996, 2014).
Tony Schwartz (1923-2008) was an American sound ingineer, radio and televisiton director and educator. He created more than 20,000 radio and television spots for products, political candidates and non-profit public interest groups.
Robertina Šebjanič (Slovenia) is an artist whose work explores the biological, chemical, (geo)political and cultural realities of aquatic environments and the impact of humanity on other organisms. Her projects call for the development of empathetic strategies aimed at recognising the rights of other (non-human) enteties.
Carsten Seiffarth (Born 1963 in Berlin) is a curator and producer in the field of music and sound art.
Tim Shaw is an artist and musician interested in the relationships between site, sound and technology. His practice is concerned with the many ways people listen, specifically how listening environments can be constructed or explored using a diverse range of techniques and technologies.
Paul Howe Shepard, Jr. (1925 - 1996) was an American environmentalist and author best known for introducing the "Pleistocene paradigm" to deep ecology. He lectured and taught biology at Knox College, Smith College, Dartmouth College, and Claremont College in a career that spanned more than 40 years.
Denise Ferreira da Silva (born in 1963 in Brazil) is a philosopher and academic based in Vancouver. Her writing and artistic practice addresses the ethical questions of the global present and targets the metaphysical and onto-epistemological dimensions of modern thought.
Daniela Silvestrin is an independent curator, cultural researcher, and organiser-facilitator with a background in law, history of art, and curatorial studies. Her research is situated at the intersection between digital media, critical theory and speculative art.
Peter Sinclair is a sound artist and researcher in audio art. He began his career as an artist building musical machines that he presented in exhibitions and on stage, either solo or in collaboration with other musicians.
Henryk Skolimowski (1930 – 2018) was a Polish philosopher, known as a founder of eco-philosophy. Since the seventies of the 20th century, when he proclaimed his eco-philosophical manifesto, ecophilosophy has been developed in one of the mostly drawing attention philosophical field.
Grant Smith is a British artist and writer working on sound, transmission, text, domestic and social projects in Loughborough Junction, South London. Smith co-founded the Soundcamp cooperative with Kirsty Collander-Brown and Maria Papadomanolaki in 2013 soundtent.org.
Karolina Sobecka is an artist and researcher whose work is centered on the relationship between environmental concerns and science and technology development. Her current projects explore the histories of ecology and their legacies in the contemporary formulations of carbon governance.
Sonambiente was a sound art festival held twice in Berlin (9 August - 8 September 1996), (1 June - 16 July 2006) and in 2021. The 1996 edition was part of the Academy of Arts' tricentennial celebration and presented the most comprehensive survey to date of contemporary international sound art.
The Journal of Sonic Studies. The main purpose of Murray Schafer’s work was to study the dynamic interaction between the sonic environment, the socio-cultural milieu, and the individual listener as well as the (conscious and unconscious) effects sound has on human behavior.
The international residency and exchange project Sonotopia – the Sonic Explorers will turn former Bonn prize winners into traveling researchers and sound art ambassadors. To open up the world for one’s self or to open up one’s self to the world – both processes commence with listening.
“Sound & Science: Digital Histories” is an online database for the history of acoustics. It serves as a multimedia resource for historians of science, culture, and technology, along with students and other researchers.
Soundcamp are an arts cooperative based in London, Crete and The Hague, working on transmission ecologies from DIY broadcasting devices to public sound and radio projects.
Carsten Stabenow (born 1972) works as freelance curator, producer, communication designer, and artist at the intersection of artistic production and mediation.
David Stalling (born in Bochum, Germany) has been working as a composer, improviser, sound and installation artist in Ireland since the early 1990s. His works have been performed and exhibited nationally and internationally.
Bernard Stiegler (1952 – 2020) was a French philosopher and a head of the Institut de recherche et d'innovation (IRI), which he founded in 2006 at the Centre Georges-Pompidou. He was also a co-founder of the political and cultural group, Ars Industrialis (2005), and philosophy school pharmakon.fr at Épineuil-le-Fleuriel (2010).
Dr Joel Stern is a Vice Chancellor's Postdoctoral Fellow in DSC|School - Media & Communication, and a researcher, curator, and artist living in Naarm / Melbourne, Australia.
Akio Suzuki (born 1941 in Pyongyang, North Korea) is musician and soundartist. Since his infamous “Throwing Objects Down a Staircase” event at Nagoya Station in 1963 and the self-study events which followed, where he explored the processes of “projection” and “following” in the natural world, Suzuki has pursued listening as a practice.
Hollis Taylor is a composer and bioacoustic researcher who blurs the lines between human music as classical, jazz, and folk and bioacoustics. Taylor was born in the USA and has been a Sydney resident since 2002. Her PhD from the University of Western Sydney is on the song of the Australian pied butcherbird.
Emily Thompson is a historian of technology who studies early twentieth-century America. Her research explores the cultural history of sound, music, noise, and listening, and she focuses on how these phenomena and activities intersect with technologies like the phonograph, motion pictures, and architecture.
Jol Thoms (born Toronto) is an artist and researcher based in London, UK, where he is a lecturer on the MA Art & Ecology at Goldsmiths University and a faculty member of Critical Ecologies.
Davide Tidoni is an Italian artist and researcher working from the boundaries of physical, perceptual, and affective dimensions of sound. His work addresses questions regarding interactions with acoustic space, intersubjectivity, and impermanence.
Walter Tilgner is a biologist and bioacoustician, born 1934 in Olomouc, Czechoslovakia. In 1945, after the banishment from there the son of a master carpenter was raised on a farm near Hünfeld Germany.