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” from Lagos-based sound artist, Emeka Ogboh.

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.

Sounds of a Changing Climate


At a time when the world is experiencing unprecedented ecological threats, the Balance-Unbalance International Conference is a global initiative designed to harness the talents of innovators working at the forefront of the arts, science and technology to explore transdisciplinary approaches to sustainability. The 2013 Balance-Unbalance Conference recently took place from 31 May to 2 June within the UNESCO Noosa Biosphere Reserve on the Sunshine Coast of Australia. The three-day event brought together a dynamic and diverse range of participants from 24 countries, including artists, scientists, activists, philosophers, sociologists, architects and engineers.

Balance-Unbalance was founded by Argentinean/Canadian artist and academic Dr. Ricardo Dal Farra in 2010 with the main goal to develop the role of the arts and artists in dealing with environmental challenges. After successful events in Montreal and South America, this was the first time the conference was hosted in the Asia-Pacific region. Features of the program included over 120 presenters, three keynote panels, 12 Pecha Kucha presentations, 60 papers, 25 performances and installations and 30 panels and trans-disciplinary activities. Although the program covered a wide spectrum of disciplines, there was a strong representation of both creative works and academic presentations that explored sonic art, listening and acoustic ecology.

The goal of Balance-Unbalance is not just in hosting events, but bringing like-minded individuals together to collaborate and take action. Ricardo Dal Farra is an acclaimed composer, so it’s not surprising that one of the first major outcomes from Balance-Unbalance was related to music. Dal Farra is particularly drawn to the work of Jacques Attali and his seminal book Noise: The Political Economy of Music, where he explores music as not just simply a reflection of culture but a “harbinger of change”.  The ‘Art!⋈Climate’ competition was initiated at Balance-Unbalance 2011 in Montreal and is devoted to the power of organised sound. Developed in partnership with the Red Cross/Red Crescent Climate Centre, ‘Art!⋈Climate’ is a competition for sound art related to “the effects of climate change and the world environmental crisis”.

The 2013 competition called for entries addressing two themes; one broad category including anything related to climate change and extreme weather events, and another concentrating on mosquito-borne diseases like malaria and dengue, which are affected by climate factors. The Red Cross was interested in functional creative resources to publish on the Climate Centre’s website and use for workshops, training materials and educational games. Therefore the winners of the competition would become part of a catalogue at the Red Cross/Red Crescent Climate Action Centre.

There was 72 compositions submitted from across the world and the inaugural winners were announced at Balance-Unbalance 2013. The winning works were selected by a jury of internationally recognized electroacoustic music composers and new media artists including Joel Chadabe (USA) and Leigh Landy (UK). In addition to the official ceremony, the winning compositions were programmed in a multi-channel listening space at Balance-Unbalance that allowed delegates to experience the works throughout the conference. The winning artists included Ian Clothier (New Zealand), Damián Paúl Espina (Argentina) Nigel Helyer (Australia), Una Lee (South Korea), Katharina Vogt (Austria) and Richard Garrett (UK).

The ‘Art!⋈Climate’ project showcased the possibilities of combining a large-scale humanitarian organisation with artistic practice. In addition to creating a database of functional creative resources, ‘Art!⋈Climate’ attracted global attention and encouraged a dialogue around the role of sound and creativity in responding to climate change. This project highlights the role of Balance-Unbalance and certainly sets a high standard for initiatives to follow.

Balance-Unbalance 2013 explored how artists can participate in the challenges of our ecological crisis. The event inspired creative thinking and transdisciplinary action to create perceptual, intellectual and pragmatic changes. Balance-Unbalance is not just a conference, but the catalyst for new ideas, collaborations and most importantly actions in shaping our collective futures.

Leah Barclay, Tony Fry, Fee Plumley, Nina Czegledy, Ricardo Dal Farra, Ramon Guardans and Andrea Polli at Balance-Unbalance 2013

Leah Barclay, Tony Fry, Fee Plumley, Nina Czegledy, Ricardo Dal Farra, Ramon Guardans and Andrea Polli at Balance-Unbalance 2013

Call for Proposals: The Global Composition

Deadline for submissions extended to March 30, 2012


We are looking forward to your artistic, scholarly or scientific proposals for our event:

The Global Composition
Conference on Sound, Media and the Environment
Darmstadt/Media Campus Dieburg (Hochschule Darmstadt), July 25-28, 2012



Deadline for submission: March 30, 2012
Notification: April 20, 2012

Proposals are invited for roundtable discussions, workshops, papers/posters, applied and artistic contributions, relating, but not limited to the conference’s main focus. The conference’s official language will be English.

Providing a specially positioned “Next Generation”-thread, the conference is very interested, to create a forum for young scholars, scientists, artists as well as for students, and encourages them to send in their proposals. Please send abstracts for roundtable discussions, papers/posters, workshops & proposals for compositions or other artistic contributions by March 1, 2012.

As keynote presenters we expect Bill Fontana, R. Murray Schafer, Hildegard Westerkamp et al.

The conference venue is located near the Frankfurt airport in beautiful historic surroundings, with attractive landscapes, very good wine, culinary highlights, and good conditions for exchange and conviviality. All this makes, too, a central starting point for your summerbreak, be it locally, nationally or internationally.

We hope to welcome you in summer on our Media Campus Dieburg of Hochschule Darmstadt.

Sabine Breitsameter

The conference is supported by the “Understanding Canada”-programme/Canadian Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade and the Embassy of Canada Berlin, in collaboration with Darmstädter Ferienkurse/Darmstadt Summercourse, Cork Institute of Technology/School of Music, Ireland and endorsed by the World Forum for Acoustic Ecology.

Project Direction:
Sabine Breitsameter
Professor for Sound and Media Culture
Media Arts and Sciences
Claudia Soeller-Eckert
Professor for Basics of Media Design
& Interactive Media Design

Postal address:
Hochschule Darmstadt
Faculty of Media
Haardtring 100
64295 Darmstadt

Visitors’ address:
Max-Planck-Str. 2
D-64807 Dieburg