Conscient Podcast: blog – of dreams and pitfalls

1 January, 2023

I published e101 tension – how do you feel now? today. The first of 52 episodes in the Sounding Modernity series.  This one about sounds of tension and the art of finding a balance point. I composed it as a pilot episode back in September 2022 with the intention of exploring somatic and embodied listening. It’s basically a sketch but I thought it would be a good way to start this 4th season of the conscient podcast because it asks an open ended question that will come back again and again through this project, e.g. how do you feel now?


As I wrote this blog, I recalled a dream I had on December 17, 2022 :

I had a vivid dream last night about receiving criticism of my ‘sounding modernity’ conscient podcast season, which I’m launching tomorrow with episode 00. The feedback was mostly negative and critical of the project, pointing out its failings and pretensions, etc. They were very precise and sometimes satirical and quite funny. It was bewildering. When I woke up I wondered where this advice was coming from …  Obviously, it comes from somewhere within me, but it felt like an external voice was giving me guidance about my work and warning me of it’s pitfalls but also encouraging, and  preparing me, to face unanswerable questions and sharp critique. I was very thankful to have had this ‘heads up’ and I have made a couple of minor adjustments to the project as a result of this dream.  The series of weekly 5 minute episodes will indeed be exploring complex issues, most of which I don’t fully understand, therefore I will inevitably fail and fumble my way along. I think my dream spirit was warning me to listen carefully and stay humble and open as I undertake this next phase of my learning journey…

Claude Schryer, on LinkedIn and Facebook


One of the adjustments I made was to remind myself of some of my learnings from the Gesturing Towards Decolonial Futures (GTDF) website, including:

  • holding space for difficult conversations and silences without relationships falling apart
  • learning and unlearning, disarming and de-centering, dethroning and de-arrogantizing, detoxifying and decluttering, mourning, grieving and healing, digesting and metabolizing 
  • loosening my attachment to my self image.

I also reviewed the GTDF’s ‘most common traps in depth education’ and reminded myself to be mindful of performance camouflage (ensuring self-transparency and self-witnessing of errors and missteps), proselytizing (trying to convince others that something is important and imposing my views) and virtue signaling (pretension and transactional relationships).


I received valuable feedback about my dream from friends and colleagues, notably this one  :

I think you are wise to be open and humble but also to remember that the first response to change is often resistance. What you are working on situates itself in unfamiliar territory for many and much of the work of it is to persevere in the belief that this practice has wisdom in it and you are acting as a conduit for that.


With my dream in mind, I shared with my wife Sabrina on December 26, 2022 that my greatest fear with this project was that my ‘trusted inner voice’ would be overtaken by my craving for validation (as noted above). 

This happened with the last episode of season 3, e99 winter diary revisited, which I felt good about but turned out to be mostly an exercise in vanity and nostalgia. I’m open to sharing this because conscient is a learning journey where anything can and should be questioned.

This learning led me to take a break from podcast production in March 2022 and engage in an unlearning process, including doing the exercises in Vanessa Andreotti’s Hospicing Modernity book, taking the GTDF’s Facing Human Wrongs course twice, deepening my daily qi gong practice, letting go of addictions, such as technology, validation, hope, etc.

My hope was that there was some value in ‘putting myself out there’, supported by newly acquired self-knowledge and self-control tools, and to trust that my experience as a listener and sound artist might have some value to others who are on a similar path. 


I’ll end this blog with a statement that concludes every episode note: 

  • I am grateful and accountable to the earth and the human labour that provided me with the privilege of producing this episode (including all the toxic materials and extractive processes behind the computers, recorders, transportation and infrastructure that make this podcast possible).

The post blog – of dreams and pitfalls appeared first on conscient. conscient is a bilingual blog and podcast (French or English) by audio artist Claude Schryer that explores how arts and culture contribute to environmental awareness and action.


About the Conscient Podcast from Claude Schryer

The conscient podcast / balado conscient is a series of conversations about art, conscience and the ecological crisis. This podcast is bilingual (in either English or French). The language of the guest determines the language of the podcast. Episode notes are translated but not individual interviews.

I started the conscient project in 2020 as a personal learning journey and knowledge sharing exercise. It has been rewarding, and sometimes surprising.

The term “conscient” is defined as “being aware of one’s surroundings, thoughts and motivations”. My touchstone for the podcast is episode 1, e01 terrified, based on an essay I wrote in May 2019, where I share my anxiety about the climate crisis and my belief that arts and culture can play a critical role in raising public awareness about environmental issues. The conscient podcast / balado conscient follows up on my (2016-2019) project: 175, 3-minute audio and video field recordings that explore mindful listening.

Season 1 (May to October 2020) explored how the arts contribute to environmental awareness and action. I produced 3 episodes in French and 15 in English. The episodes cover a wide range of content, including activism, impact measurement, gaming, arts funding, cross-sectoral collaborations, social justice, artistic practices, etc. Episodes 8 to 17 were recorded while I was at the Creative Climate Leadership USA course in Arizona in March 2020 (led by Julie”s Bicycle). Episode 18 is a compilation of highlights from these conversations.

Season 2 (March 2021 ) explores the concept of reality and is about accepting reality, working through ecological grief and charting a path forward. The first episode of season 2 (e19 reality) mixes quotations from 28 authors with field recordings from simplesoundscapes and from my 1998 soundscape composition, Au dernier vivant les biens. One of my findings from this episode is that “I now see, and more importantly, I now feel in my bones, “the state of things as they actually exist”, without social filters or unsustainable stories blocking the way”. e19 reality touches upon 7 topics: our perception of reality, the possibility of human extinction, ecological anxiety and ecological grief, hope, arts, storytelling and the wisdom of indigenous cultures. The rest of season 2 features interviews with thought leaders about their responses and reactions to e19 reality.

my professional services

I’ve been retired from the Canada Council for the Arts since September 15, 2020 where I served as a senior strategic advisor in arts granting (2016-2020) and manager of the Inter-Arts Office (1999-2015). My focus in (quasi) retirement is environmental issues within my area of expertise in arts and culture, in particular in acoustic ecology. I”m open to become involved in projects that align with my values and that move forward environmental concerns. Feel free to email me for a conversation :

View the original:

Powered by WPeMatico