You are viewing an archived version of this website. Go to the current version

Listening to the Environment

23-24 June 2016

This first network event was staged at the London College of Communication, UAL, on the 23.+24. June 2016. The focus of the meeting was ecological, geological, architectural and spatial concerns.

Network Meeting

Organised across these two days, three sessions of debate and discussion were triggered by and focussed around 15 minutes presentations by the key and core network membership, who described, presented, evidenced, illustrated, etc. how they listen, what they hear, and how they deal with sonic material / information in their work and research, and how they evaluate, use and apply their sonic findings, and how they engage these listening / recording methodologies in teaching, communication or for the consultation with clients, patients, students, industry, etc.


The roundtable consisted of network members, core members, as well as a specially invited participating audience involving doctoral students, post-doctoral researchers, UAL and SoU staff as well as members of the general public.


The aim was to engage the group in the differing methods, channels, tools, and objectives of listening practices across the differing academic or professional fields, in order to discuss and query these processes, technology, tools, and aims. The presentation and discussions of such a variety of academic, artistic and professional contexts and objectives of listening provided a platform for comparison, exchange, re-evaluation and inspiration, and initiate a debate on the legitimacy of the heard as an artistic and scientific material, data and outcome and what knowledge it might provide.


Among the questions we hoped to consider were:

  • What sound is to different professions/ tasks/ disciplines?
  • How different disciplines listen / record sound?
  • What different professions, academic researchers, etc. hear?
  • How the listened to is evaluated, communicated and applied?
  • How listening can be taught, shared?

But many more questions arose during the seminar days.


Our aims are to investigate the possibility of a shared vocabulary, produce a glossary of terms and methods, compare technological, material, conceptual, etc. approaches of listening/recording sound as well as of its evaluation and application, and in respect to the teaching and dissemination of that auditory knowledge and sensibility. Another aim is the imaginative construction of a share listening hub, and what it would have to provide, and how it might have to be conceived, built, structured and worked with to be useful across the disciplines.

Public Engagement

Points of Listening #26: Are You Becoming Radicalized? Sound Activism between Climate, Culture and Information Space – Andrea Polli, June 23rd 2016

In the evening of the first day a Points of Listening (PoL) event opened the discussion to a general public. A full description of the event and documentation is available on the Points of Listening website. 


Radio Series on Resonance FM

The event was recorded and has been edited together with other material for broadcasts as a monthly series Listening across Disciplines on our network partner station Resonance 104.4 FM - airing every Wednesday afternoon at 3pm, repeated on Fridays at 5am (2 Nov 2016 onwards). Listen to past episodes here.


Facebook Group

Ongoing discussions and additional links are shared in ourListening Across Disciplines Facebook Group

Participants Work & Research

Context-dependent transduction in three of Raviv Ganchrow’s commissioned works

Purpose-built transducers that patch through to: locational ambience (Fray, Kontraste, AT), mineral piezoelectricity (Quarzbrecciakammer, Spectral Sounds, Innsbruck, AT), and environmental infrasound (Long-Wave Synthesis, Dark Ecology, NO, and Sonic Acts, NL).

National Anthems, Sophie Mallett 2015

Image Chris Supranowitz, 2011, University of Rochester: URnano

Title page of a leaflet for architects, issued by the German Department of Housing, 1957

public domain, no copyright owner. Provided by Sabine von Fischer.

As part of this first event the participants were led on a soundwalk around the Elephant and Castle by Chris Wood

Sound can act as rich prompt to build both aesthetic and social understandings of what is happening in the city around us. Listening for architectural, economic and human rhythms can move us beyond ideas of noise pollution and disturbance usually associated with sound in the public realm. In this soundwalk, we will explore the Elephant and Castle, an area which, at different points in its history, has acted as an entertainment district and transport hub, and now finds itself at the heart of one of the biggest regeneration projects in Europe.

We will walk with eyes open and closed, concentrating on the different sonic environments of the Elephant, before ending with a group discussion. By opening our ears, this method aims to give the city a voice, a contrast to narratives imposed from outside, through which we often understand our surroundings.

Documentation – Resonance FM series

The Network event, Listening to the Environment, was recorded and has been edited together with other material for broadcasts as a weekly series Listening across Disciplines on our network partner station Resonance 104.4 FM - airing every Wednesday afternoon at 3pm, repeated on Fridays at 5am.


Episode 1 with Raviv Ganchrow. Broadcast date: 2 Nov 2016

Raviv works with sound, listening and technology as a sinologist. In this broadcast he discusses the interdependencies between sound place and listening, aspects of which is explored in his work through installation, writing and the development of pressure forming and vibration sensing technology.


Episode 2 with Peter Cusack. Broadcast date: 9 Nov 2016

Peter's project Sounds From Dangerous Places explores soundscapes at sites of major environmental damage such as the Chernobyl exclusion zone, Kasabian oil fields and uk nuclear sites. This project is continuous and he is currently researching the regeneration of the North Aral sea in Kazakhstan. He describes the use of sound to explore documentary issues as 'sonic journalism'. In this broadcast he talks about his Favourite Sounds project which aims to discover what people find positive about their every day sound environment.


Episode 3 with Sabine von Fischer. Broadcast date: 16 Nov 2016

Sabine is an architectural historian and critic with a background in architecture and artistic practice. Her work focuses on the emergence of modern scientific acoustics, when listening by the human ear is complimented by electric measurement. In this broadcast she talks about the history of acoustics and architecture, with a particular focus on the relationship between measuring, hearing and the human body in the room.


Episode 4 with Bill Chaplin. Broadcast date: 23 Nov 2016

In this broadcast Bill talks about how he studies the sun and other sun like stars by observing their natural resonances, and explains how sound is made naturally in the outermost layer of sun like stars. This 'music of the spheres' as he calls it, is used to not only estimate the properties of the stars, to asses their size, mass and age, but also to probe the structure and dynamics of their normally hidden interiors. His listening work is opening up new stellar systems elsewhere in the galaxy for detailed forensic study and hopes to better understand the interactions we have with our own star, the sun. He also talks about his collaboration with the sound artist Caroline Devine. Her work “5 Minute Oscillation of the Sun” is played as part of this broadcast.

Episode 5 with Mark P. Wright. Broadcast date: 30 Nov 2016

Mark's research and practice examines the relationship between humans, animals, environments and their associated technologies of capture. His practice troubles the ethico-aesthetic aspects of listening found within nature documentary tropes and site specific art legacies. Though a practice of playful critical hearing he brings to debate issues of subjectivity, preservation and place within sound arts relationship to ecology and its possible modes of critical representation.


Episode 6 with Salomé Voegelin. Broadcast date: 7 Dec 2016

Listening Across Disciplines PI Salomé Voegelin is interested in listening as an artist and writer and aims to establish listening is an important socio-ecological sensibility and mode engagement which might however pluralise perception rather than find agreement; she is less interested in the veracity of data and scientific truth as much as in the fact that sound can evoke doubt in what we consider to be real and truthful, and instead can make us hear the sonic possibility of the world.

Episode 7 with Andrea Polli. Broadcast date: 14 Dec 2016

Andrea is an artist working at the intersection of art, science and technology whose practice includes sound, media installation, public interventions, curating and directing art and community projects and writing. In this broadcast she presents how her listening engages in ideas of geo-sonification and climate activism.


Episode 8 with Susan Schuppli. Broadcast date: 21 Dec 2016

In this eighth broadcast we hear from forensic architect and artists Susan Schuppli, Deputy Director Centre for Research Architecture, Goldsmiths University of London, who talks about listening to drone strikes in relation to their forensic reconstruction, belonging and war crimes.


Further Episodes of Listening Across Disciplines on Resonance FM

Listen to Episodes 9-15 documenting our second network event Bodies and Materialities.

Episodes 16-22 document our third network event Listening to Language, Culture and Artefacts and are airing weekly on Resonance FM in Spring 2017. Recordings are made available online each week. 



Key Stakeholders and Network Partners