How to open a dialogue between our sonic environment, scientific datas and musical approaches?
Environmental sounding is the online presentation of the artworks created during the Acoustic Ecology seminar and Sound & Environment course of Marcus Maeder in autumn 2020.
The works were inspired by scientific measurements, field recordings and musical approaches exploring environmental questions and impressions from a sonic perspective. How the soundscape can give us scientific knowledge but also artistic perspectives? How to translate impressions from the field? What are the political possibilities of environmental listening?
From ambient music to sound mapping in Zurich, the works bring an artistic approach to a scientific way to listen to our soundscape. During the opening, you will be able to listen to some sounds of the larger soundmap of Glattpark, sound art compositions and sonification processes.
Join the opening for a common online listening session.
We’re very happy that our project Sounding Soil is amongst the 2020 nominations for the STARTS Prize, granted by Ars Electronica and the European Commision.
STARTS is a prize of the European Commission honoring Innovation in Technology, Industry and Society stimulated by the Arts. The prize is awarded at the Ars Electronica Festival in Linz (A).
“Science, technology and arts (STARTS for short) limn a nexus at which insightful observers have identified extraordinarily high potential for innovation. And innovation is precisely what’s called for if we’re to master the social, ecological and economic challenges that Europe will be facing in the near future. In this STARTS Prize initiative, the European Commission’s focus is on projects and people that can make meaningful contributions to this effort.
Here, art is assigned the role of catalyst that propagates scientific and technological knowledge and skills among the general public and triggers innovative processes. Accordingly, STARTS is emphasizing, on one hand, artistic works that influence or change the way we look at technology, and, on the other hand, very promising forms of collaboration between the private sector and the world of art and culture. A prizewinning project will be singled out for recognition in both categories.” (quoted from the STARTS site)
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ALL ENVIRONMENTAL LISTENING SESSIONS ARE CANCELLED. BUT THE GOOD NEWS IS: THEY’RE ONLINE! PLEASE CHECK “TEACHING” IN THE MENU ABOVE.
With the Environmental Listening Sessions, we want to initiate regular deep listening sessions and aesthetic reflection on the environment. The monthly event aims to explore the acoustic, musical and aesthetic dimensions of environmental experiences and investigate the manifold artistic engagement with the natural and anthropogenically shaped environment, as well as the environmental problems associated with it.
Music and the arts in general have a major influence on the way we experience and understand nature – what significance it has for us and what place humans occupy in it. To this day, the arts determine our emotional and normative relationship to the environment. What significance do noises and sounds have in the environment, how do artistically produced soundscapes represent the environment? In this respect, it seems important to question current musical and sound artistic creation on whether it is capable of establishing new, alternative perspectives and relationships to the natural and technically shaped environment.
The two-hour, monthly and public programme will consist of a short introduction to the subject (record, installation, concert), acousmatic presentations and a subsequent discussion.
Wie tönt es im Boden? Wie klingt der Wald in einem trockenen Sommer? Ökoakustiker wie der Schweizer Klangforscher Marcus Maeder beschreiben mithilfe von Tonaufnahmen die Natur völlig neu. Der Klang wird zum Gradmesser eines Ökosystems. «Einstein» zeigt, welche Chancen die Ökoakustik eröffnet.
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The installation “Perimeter Pfynwald” is an acoustic-artistic representation of the ecosystem of a mountain forest in Switzerland. The Pfynwald forest in Valais is already severely exposed to effects of climate change. Due to the mass elevation effect of the Alps, the climatic conditions in the Valais are already very dry. The ever-longer periods of drought and heat are severely damaging the forest: the Scots pines, which make up a large part of the Pfynwald forest, are dying and are being displaced by more robust tree species, including neophytes. It is a climate-induced vegetation change in progress, the progression of which makes it unclear whether the Pfynwald will change from pine to oak and robinia forest in the coming decades or the perimeter will turn into a steppe landscape and the forest in the heart of the Pfyn Nature Park will disappear completely.
The Pfynwald ecosystem can be experienced in the installation in a way that would not normally be possible outdoors in the forest. In the course of the FHNW’s “Ecodata-Ecomedia-Ecoaesthetics” research project, Marcus Maeder distributed several autonomous audio recording devices in the forest, which during the heat summer of 2018 automatically recorded the environmental sounds in the forest, the underwater world in a pond and the sounds of the fauna in the forest floor. In the installation, a soundscape consisting of a temporal and spatial compression can be heard: The recording devices were placed several kilometres apart in the Pfynwald forest and recorded environmental sound at intervals of 10 minutes. In the installation “Perimeter Pfynwald”, different biotopes that lie far apart in a landscape can be heard simultaneously. On the other hand, the interval recordings create a timelapse sound track that reproduces events in the environment in a shorter time than would normally be heard.
A further element of the installation consists of the sonification of environmental measurement data collected by the Swiss Federal Institute for Forest, Snow and Landscape Research (WSL) in Pfynwald as part of its research on forests and climate change. “Perimeter Pfynwald” integrates two microclimatic parameters as artificial sound sources: Measurement data of the air temperature and humidity in the forest control the sound synthesis on the computer of the installation. The result is a sound that is supposed to sound like a voice of the forest. This voice consists of a deep and a high tone – the depth represents the humidity, the height the temperature.
In the installation “Perimeter
Pfynwald” it becomes possible to experience how drought and heat have an
acoustic effect on the forest in the course of climate change: it becomes
quiet. The more intensively the heat and drought period develops in summer
2018, the less can be heard in the individual biotopes: The noise of the nearby
river becomes quieter because it carries less water; mountain streams dry up.
The fauna retreats, is less active and therefore quieter. The air humidity
decreases, the temperature increases, which results in the sound synthesis of
the forest voice, that the deeper sound becomes deeper and deeper, the higher
one higher and higher, until they lie outside the audible range and the voice
The installation “Perimeter
Pfynwald” is a modular and expandable artistic-acoustic observatory in
which ecosystems of any size can be examined and represented.
Programming: Thomas Peter
Environmental data Pfynwald: Swiss
Federal Research Station WSL
Processing and analysis of acoustic
data: Martin Rüegg
Perimeter Pfynwald” is part of
the research project “Ecodata-Ecomedia-Ecoaesthetics”, funded and
Swiss National Science Foundation
Institute of Aesthetic Practice and
Academy of Art and Design FHNW
Zurich University of the Arts ZHdK,
Institute for Computer Music and Sound Technology
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