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.

World Listening Day 2015 & 2016 with Bernie Krause

Bernie Krause is a world-renowned American musician and ecologist. He has traveled the world recording and archiving the sounds of creatures and environments large and small. Bernie has shared a poignant video with us in response to the World Listening Day 2015 H2O theme. We follow up with an update in 2016 for World Listening Day:  Sounds Lost and Found. This video shows the impact of the California drought on the biophony in Sugarloaf Ridge State Park in the Mayacamas Mountain range that divides the Napa and Sonoma Valleys, about 60 miles north of San Francisco. The GPS coordinates are 38°26’20.05”N/122°29’56.06”W.

World Listening Day 2015 & 2016: Bernie Krause from World Listening Project on Vimeo.

“The one-minute video illustrates changes due to climate change. The following is the text
describing what’s occurring:

Basically, this short example pertains to the California drought and shows the drought’s impact on the biophony in this area (about 50 miles north of San Francisco in a place called Sugarloaf State Park…a low elevation mountain range that is the border between Napa and Sonoma Valley). This year – because of the drought – we experienced what was virtually a silent spring with no birdsong for the first time in living memory…even at what would have normally been the height of the season in mid-April…an unfortunate outcome of Rachel Carson’s prediction more than 50 years ago. What is most remarkable and weird is that nobody seemed to notice the incredible silence this year.

The video is comprised of four 15-second examples – one minute total. It powerfully illustrates how the issues of climate change and the drought have progressed in one location over the past 11 years. The first segment was recorded in 2004. The second in 2009 (five years later). Again, in 2014, and the last in 2015. The recordings were made in exactly the same spot, mid April, and with carefully calibrated and repeatable settings, same protocol, same equipment. The lower half of the spectrogram shows the signature of a nearby stream that was flowing almost normally in 2004 and 2009. The upper half is filled with several different species of birds (note how the species present in that habitat have found frequency bandwidth above that of the stream signatures). The 2004 recording was similar to the density and diversity of the previous 10 years at the same spot. In the 2009 segment, however, the bird vocalization density has dropped off a bit probably due to the spring season occurring 2 weeks earlier on average, now. But the stream is still flowing. In the 2014 segment, however, everything has changed. Three years into the most serious drought in 1200 years, the stream was no longer flowing and the bird density and diversity has dropped off to very low levels. This year shows something even more interesting; the avian diversity has shifted with new species occupying acoustic niches that the stream signatures once occupied, with several of the other species no longer present in any numbers. This confirms an earlier prediction posited in the niche hypothesis, the operation of which is predicated on vocal organisms finding unoccupied acoustic bandwidth within which to generate sound.”

Bernie Krause, World Listening Day 2015-16

 

 

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