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Entries in ecology (3)


Great Animal Orchestra

Bernie Krause is an American musician and soundscape ecologist. He has been recording, researching and archiving soundscapes for over 40 years.
Recently I was at the Seoul Museum of Art (SeMa). Part of the Cartier Foundation’s exhibition which is on, is “Great Animal Orchestra” by Bernie Krause and United Visual Artists.
It celebrates the work of Krause’s work, adding a simple but fitting and room-filling spectrogram to the recorded soundscapes, emerging the listener in sound, and being able to recognise the animals with visual cues. Here’s a 360-degrees video, if your browser can play that:
The idea is quite simple, but the soundscapes are compelling and diverse. While it can sometimes be hard to get an audience interested in sound-based works in a museum, United Visual Artists did a great job of adding a simple visual counterpart to keep those who aren’t used to only listen to sound, interested.
If you want to know more about the work of Bernie Krause, I suggest watching this TED Talk about “The voice of the natural world”.
As Krause states in this talk: “…while a picture might be worth a thousand words, a soundscape is worth a thousand pictures”.

Sonify... Earthquakes Worldwide

We often think of sonification as an algorithm that translates data into an often abstract, often digital sound. R x2 by Moscow-based media artist Dmitry Morozov a.k.a. ::vtol:: is different in that aspect. In the “Sonify…” series, we look at different ways of sonifying data. This time: Earthquakes!

R x2 is a kinetic sound sculpture collecting data on the shocks in the earth’s crust (earthquakes) and capturing all of them above 0.1 Richter magnitude scale. On an average day there are up to 200 of these quakes.

The data is converted into signals that control motors connected to a bunch of Thunder Drums acoustic drums. These Thunder Drums consist of a spring attached to the skin of the drum, so when it’s shaken the spring moves and creates a continuous resonance through the body of the instrument, not unlike the rumble of thunder. The rumble that sounds fits the character of an sonified earthquake quite well.


Five Sound Questions to Jana Winderen

Jana Winderen is an artist researching the hidden depths with the latest technology; her work reveals the complexity and strangeness of the unseen world beneath. The audio topography of the oceans and the depth of ice crevasses are brought to the surface. She is concerned with finding and revealing sounds from hidden sources, both inaudible for the human senses and sounds from places and creatures difficult to access.

The ways Jana records are quite unique. One of the works which made a big impression on me is the Heated (Live in Japan) record. A live performance using source material gathered with various types of hydrophones and microphones in Greenland, Iceland, and Norway. The record is from 2009, but I only recently picked it up, and has been a great inspiration ever since. The depth and variety of sounds are unlike anything I’ve ever heard before on a “field recording”-type of record. A mysterious world of groans, squeaks, unearthly sounds…

1. What sound from your childhood made the most impression on you?

Wind around the corner of our mountain cabin. I knew we could not get out, you had to sit inside until it calmed down, and the sound faded out.

2. How do you listen to the world around you?

 With enthusiasm and curiosity.

3. Which place in the world do you favor for its sound?

I would not favour anywhere, each place has its sound character, and I keep getting amazed by the different underwater environments I listen too, for example the variations between different depths and different oceans and lakes.  A cold climate has its character, very different from a rain forest environment…

4. How could we make sound improve our lives?

To be more aware and to be able to control our sound environments. 

5. What sound would you like to wake up to?

I once woke up on deck of a boat in a hammock by a humpback whale breathing sound. That was a good start of the day…

Thanks Jana! See answers by other artists in the Five Sound Questions section.

Jana is playing the Sonic Acts festival tonight where she will be performing Pasvikdalen (2015), a commission by the Sonic Acts festival.