World Listening Day 2016: Sounds Lost and Found

WLD2016logo-3You are invited to participate in World Listening Day 2016, an annual global event held on July 18.
The purposes of World Listening Day are to:
  • Celebrate the listening practices of the world and the ecology of its acoustic environments;
  • Raise awareness about the growing number of individual and group efforts that creatively explore Acoustic Ecology based on the pioneering efforts of the World Soundscape Project, World Forum for Acoustic Ecology, La Semaine du Son, and Deep Listening Institute, among many others;
  • Design and implement educational initiatives that explore these concepts and practices.
This year’s theme for World Listening Day is “Sounds Lost and Found.”

World Listening Day 2016’s theme, “Sounds Lost and Found,” calls on reminiscing, listening and observing what changes in our soundscapes have occurred in recent decades—be it language, nature, technology, music or even silence itself. For “Sounds Lost and Found,” we invite you to dig into crates of vinyl and cassettes, dive into digital archives, and engage deeply with memories and unheard languages to rediscover or identify these “lost sounds.” In doing so, “Sounds Lost and Found” hopes to spotlight the need for effective and accessible conservatory efforts to be implemented to preserve some of these sounds—whether those efforts include archival projects, changing our daily practices or supporting the preservation of indigenous languages and engaging with the keepers of and archiving fading oral traditions where that seems impossible. We can protect and celebrate sounds whose vitality can be vulnerable and fragile.

World Listening Project, Midwest Society for Acoustic Ecology and Biosphere Soundscapes invite you to participate in World Listening Day 2016 on Monday, July 18, and through the week of July 16th-22nd.
Some suggestions on how you can participate and organize include:
  • Soundwalks or listening events in your local community, with a particular focus on natural and human evolution, human activity in nature and industry, technology and machines
  • Field recording trips or workshops
  • Site-specific performance events
  • Concerts curating compositions inspired by the theme, “Sounds Lost and Found” (contact us to connect with composers and sound artists)
  • Personal experiences of attentive listening or field recording
  • Educational events that relate to acoustic ecology, field recording, or a similar topic
  • Public talks or lectures about listening and acoustic ecology including participation in the #SoundCon x World Listening Day “Sounds Lost and Found” virtual symposium on July 17-18.

Use the hashtag #WLD2016 to connect with other local and global groups participating in the World Listening Day 2016: Sounds Lost and Found and get involved.

Our planet continues to change due to human involvement and interventions. People evolve. Cities morph. Technologies advance. We can hear the planet changing. Our soundscapes reflect evolution; whether created by humans, machines or nature, the shifting presence and absence of sounds is affected by human activity in natural and industrial worlds.

Cities’ sonic identities are continually fluctuating as residential and commercial infrastructures develop. The resultant social dynamics of industrialization and gentrification sponsor variegated relationships between people and the public and private places they occupy.

Humans’ complex interactions with nature have encroached upon Earth’s autonomy and her anonymity. Phenomena such as pollution, deforestation and global warming are manifestations of natural processes; they are the aftershocks of industrial pursuits. Swaths of land have been decimated, dismantling animal ecosystems for human consumption and destruction. This reckless, shortsighted mode of interacting with non-human life has forced the retreat and extinction of many species, eliminating their sounds until there is silence.

Technological advances over the past several centuries, particularly in recent decades, have been astronomical. Of late, machines and media become obsolete before we have even become proficient in using them. These advances have impacted the acoustics of commercial and residential spaces with newer versions of devices designed with quietness in mind Sounds produced by older models are noticeably more obtrusive. Most of these advancements can be seen as positive, though some sounds we were accustomed to or fond of have become less prevalent or been silenced in our relentless push toward progress ad infinitum.

Some Questions of Inquiry
  • How do our environmental, social and technological perceptions and understandings of change exist within the spectrum of sound?
  • How do our understandings of listening and sounds morph as human intention and activity changes relationships between humans, the built environment, and nature?

This theme ultimately encourages awareness, a deep aural attention to our surroundings through the recognition of the variables that define the acoustic ecology of our lived environment, and a recognition that sounds of the past are different from sounds of the present or future.

“Places and traces” by Viv Corringham

Reading Aimilia’s fascinating writings based on Spaces Speak, Are You Listening – a book I found very interesting – I thought I’d write a little bit about the work that I do.

I am particularly interested in people’s sense of place and their relationship with very familiar places.  Much of my work has developed in response to this, especially my ongoing sound project Shadow-walks. This began in 2003 and has occurred in 19 places in USA, Canada, Asia and Europe. It involves three main elements: walking with others, listening to environmental sound, and my own improvised singing.

There are well-known traditional links between walking, singing and the sense of place, such as the Aboriginal song-lines or the Kaluli song paths. Anthropologist Steven Feld studied the Kaluli people of Bosavi, Papua New Guinea and has described their practice of song paths, the poetic song texts that take listeners on a journey through a local area. The philosophy of song paths is that knowing where you are is knowing who you are. Feld’s writings were an important influence in the development of my work.

I became very interested in everyday sounds, inspired by working with composer Pauline Oliveros and learning her method of “Deep Listening”. My fascination with environmental sounds and musical improvisation led me to consider methods of exploring places and interacting with them vocally. My first attempts, in 2002, were called “Vocal Strolls” and became a regular show on London’s Resonance FM radio for a time. Vocal Strolls consisted of wandering through the city while listening to the environment and responding with improvised singing.

Shadow-walks began with the intention of incorporating other people’s experience of place into my work. James Joyce wrote that places remember events and I found this idea very interesting—that everything that happens leaves traces that we might be able to sense. So that if a person walks through certain places repeatedly along the same route, perhaps the ground retains traces of that person’s history and memories. Shadow-walks is an attempt to make a person’s traces, their shadow, audible.

The process of a Shadow-walk is straightforward. I arrive in a new place and ask to be taken on a special walk, one that has been repeated many times and has meaning or significance for that person. While walking together, I record our conversations and environmental sounds. This is followed by a solo walk in which I attempt to sense my previous companion’s traces on the walk and to make them audible through improvised singing in the location. These recordings are then selected and edited to become the final work, the Shadow-walk. Shadow-walks have been shared in various ways: as audio-walks, radio pieces, at listening posts around a town and, most frequently, as sound installations in art galleries. It is very important to me that they are presented in some way in the place where they were made, to the people who shared their special walks with me.

2013 World Listening Day

You are invited to participate in the 2013 World Listening Day. World Listening Day has been happening annually on July 18, since 2010, and the fourth annual World Listening Day happens on Thursday, July 18. The purposes of World Listening Day are:

  • to celebrate the practice of listening as it relates to the world around us, environmental awareness, and acoustic ecology;
  • to raise awareness about issues related to the World Soundscape Project, World Forum for Acoustic Ecology, World Listening Project, and individual and group efforts to creatively explore phonography;
  • and to design and implement educational initiatives which explore these concepts and practices.

World Listening Day is co-organized by the World Listening Project (WLP) and the Midwest Society for Acoustic Ecology (MSAE). July 18 was chosen as the date because it is the birthday of the Canadian composer R. Murray Schafer, who is celebrating his 80th birthday this year. Schafer is one of the founders of the Acoustic Ecology movement; the World Soundscape Project, which Schafer founded in 1971, is an important organization which has inspired a lot of activity in this field. The culmination of the World Soundscape Project’s pioneering research into the sound environment is described in his seminal book, The Tuning of the World. Published in 1977, it gained international attention and defined many new terms and concepts in sound and ecology popularly used to this day.

WLP and MSAE invite you to participate in the 2013 World Listening Day, which will happen on Thursday, July 18. Other WLD events will be happening during the week of July 14th-20th. Here are several possibilities. You can—

  • organize a soundwalk or a listening party when people play field recordings.
  • organize a performance event that involves field recordings and other artistic expressions that explore our soundscape and how we can listen to our sonic environment.
  • participate in a private / solitary way, by paying attention to your soundscape.
  • facilitate an educational event that relates to acoustic ecology, field recordings, or a similar topic.
  • Contact organizations that are participating in World Listening Day, to see if you can get involved that way.

The level of participation that happened during the first several World Listening Days was wonderful, and we look forward to the kind of participation we’ll be having this year. If you would like to participate in the 2013 World Listening Day, please email worldlistening@gmail.com, and be sure to include “World Listening Day” in the subject line.  You could also download the 2013 World Listening Day participation form here. Thanks!

Download Korean WLD participation form(한글버전 WLD 지원서), Korean WLD Invitation letter(한글버전 WLD 초대장).

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