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Sonic Environments will run from Sunday 10th July until Monday 11th July
NIME will run from Monday 11th July until Friday 15th July.

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Monday, July 11 • 11:00 - 12:30
Sonic Environments Papers 4 (stream A)

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Leah Barclay: Griffith University Queensland Conservatorium

Biosphere Soundscapes: Exploring the art and science of listening to UNESCO Biosphere Reserves

Biosphere Soundscapes is a large-scale interdisciplinary research project underpinned by the creative possibilities of acoustic ecology, ecoacoustics and rapidly emerging fields of biology concerned with the study of environmental patterns and changes through sound. This project is designed to inspire communities across the world to listen to the environment and explore the value of sound as a measure for environmental health in UNESCO biosphere reserves. The project is delivered through immersive residencies with artists and scientists, research laboratories, intensive masterclasses and a diversity of creative projects spanning four continents. Biosphere reserves are sites recognised under UNESCO’s Man and the Biosphere Program (MAB) to promote innovative approaches to sustainable development. There are currently 669 biosphere reserves in 120 countries comprising terrestrial, marine and coastal ecosystems. Each biosphere reserve is designed and managed in a different way, but all seek to reconcile the conservation of biological and cultural diversity. They differ from world heritage sites in that they encourage active community participation and are ideal locations to test and demonstrate innovative approaches to ecosystem monitoring and sustainable development.

Biosphere Soundscapes draws on the inherently interdisciplinary nature of sound to explore cultural and biological diversity through accessible audio recording technologies, interdisciplinary creativity and environmental engagement with local and global communities.

This paper introduces the framework and methodology for Biosphere Soundscapes and explore the ecological, social and cultural contexts of UNESCO Biosphere Reserves through sound. This presentation will also introduce the potential role of acoustic ecology in the Lima Action Plan (2016-2025) adopted by UNESCO at the 4th World Congress of Biosphere Reserves in Lima, Peru in March 2016. Biosphere Soundscapes sits at the intersection of art and science, with the recordings providing valuable scientific data for biodiversity analysis and incredible source material for creative works that can bring awareness to these environments through new technologies. This project is designed as a platform for artists, scientists and global communities to collaborate and expose the creative and scientific possibilities of environmental sound to a global audience.

Ian Whalley: 
University of Waikato Conservatorium of Music

Exploring Internet Environments in Sound Arts 

Contemporary environmental sound art is often linked with geographically dispersed local cultural practice and/or natural environmental sound. And recently explored in tandem, the development of telematic sound arts are dominated by linking electroacoustic music studios and/or concert halls.  Yet urbanised life often involves inhabiting bodies, local environments and digitally interconnected global environments including people, computer-based agents, and aggregates real-time informational data streams. Current eResearch suggests this new environment will increase through: connectivity, greater bandwidth and processing power; smart/embedded technology and the Internet of Things; artificial intelligence and automated decision-making; data streams and making knowledge out of information with machine learning. What role can sonic art practices play in navigating increasingly complex relationships, represented particularly in multiple aggregated information flows?

Recent work on radical embodied cognition, reacting against older computational views of intelligence using symbolic processing and absent bodies, suggests human cognition is situated and time-pressured, is environmentally relational, used for action, and that much offline cognition is body-based. Accordingly, while current data streams, such as news feeds, can be rendered visually, we partly interpret these through mood, metaphor and movement, similar to music reception.

A meeting point for telematic sound arts and networked life that practitioner might further explore is in affective composition/performance models coupled with the sonification of real-time information streams. This involves further amalgamating research on the affective dimension of electroacoustic music with real-time data sonification techniques to extend performance-based electroacoustic music languages. And this process could further be automated with the integration of emerging research that adopts machine learning techniques in the gestural mapping of sound, together with the application of intelligent-agent decision making technology used in sound arts, thus enhancing rendering efficiency.

This allows for the sonic exploration of our place in a matrix of increasingly networked and non-liner relationships with dynamic meanings through creating new knowledge. And we may find new patterns in data streams only possible through aural means, allowing us reimagine our networked presence and relationship with place.

Vanessa Tomlinson, Jocelyn Wolfe, Bruce Wolfe and Erik Griswold.
Queensland Conservatorium

The Piano Mill

It has been suggested that as many as three out of four Australians may have had a piano by the end of the nineteenth century. (Rose 2008). In fact, between 1788 to 1888, Australia possessed more pianos per head of population than any other country. But how did the parlours, pianos, and their players, translate to the Queensland bush? The Piano Mill is in part an investigation of this story that connects place and music.

The Piano Mill is a purpose built structure and musical instrument in the Granite Belt near Stanthorpe, Qld. A collaboration between architect Bruce Wolfe and composer Erik Griswold, this structure houses 16 found pianos over 2 levels. The audience listens to the “mill” from outside, unable to view the workers (16 pianists) as they interpret Griswold’s score, Alls Grist That Comes to the Mill.

The Piano Mill, examines the pioneering history of Australia through the gaze of now discarded pianos; celebrating place, community, environment and above all, listening. This was constructed as a one-off performance event, probing ideas of nostalgia, transformation of land and function and the sheer joy of creativity.

This presentation will weave together the perspective of the architect, the composer, audience members, performers, and directors, to gain a kaleidoscopic view of the event that was the Piano Mill. As a piece of architecture, a sounded building, and an integral part of a larger artistic vision, this multi-dimensional approach is necessary to gleen something of the intense joy that has gathered in and around the mill. 



Sabine Breitsameter

Professor for Sound and Media Culture, Darmstadt University of Applied Sciences
Sabine Breitsameter (Berlin/Darmstadt) researches and teaches since 2006 as Professor for Sound and Media Culture at Darmstadt University of Applied Sciences. As an expert in experimental audio media, she has worked as dramaturge, director, editor and artist within the German public radio system, and as a director of festivals, symposia and exhibitions. In 2002-2008, she co-founded the Master’s program in “Sound Studies” at the University... Read More →

avatar for Leah Barclay

Leah Barclay

Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Griffith University
Co-Chair, Sonic Environments (www.sonicenvironments.org)

Monday July 11, 2016 11:00 - 12:30
Ian Hanger Recital Hall 2.10 Queensland Conservatorium

Attendees (11)