Conscient Podcast: e115 ordinary – open your window and listen : what do you hear?

Note : Une version en français de cet article est disponible sur : Français


(Claude Schryer)

I got up this morning, or I was awoken rather by the most beautiful sound. It was a snow plow, very gently pushing the snow from the sidewalk. It was a beep and I could hear it, at a distance, and now it’s passed. 

So I decided to take out my microphone and, and record. It made me think about my friend and colleague Eric La Casa in France, who I’ve known for a long time, and is a very accomplished sound artist, and who often records quite ordinary sounds spaces – but they’re not ordinary at all – especially in the hands of a sound artist like Eric, who has a way of capturing subtle sounds and patterns of sounds and layers of sound that are very meaningful and artistically interesting. 

So I was thinking of Éric as this sound came and left, and my microphone was off, but my ears were open, and so I wanted to record what’s going on on my street this morning at about 5:00 AM and to see what’s out there without passing judgment on what’s good or bad but just spending, as Éric often does, recording, soundscapes as they are and allowing us to not only listen to them, but to feel the space and to consider the larger context of what these sounds are telling us, and in the context of this project, sounding modernity, it’s important to listen to all sounds, to be open to them constantly, and not necessarily with a lot of effort, but certainly with an openness to hearing what the spaces around us are saying in their own language and to be attentive to that, with or without microphones. In this case, I will record a bit of the street sound. 

Thanks for listening.

(sound of window opening and street sound)


Thanks to Éric La Casa for his complicity and our long friendship. 

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).

My gesture of reciprocity for this episode is a donation to Harmony House Ottawa.

The post e115 ordinary – open your window and listen : what do you hear? 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 Concient 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 – october 2020) : environmental awareness and action 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 – august 2021 ) : reality and ecological grief 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.

season 3 (october 2021 – february 2022 ) : radical listening Season 3 was about radical listening : listening deeply without passing judgment, knowing the truth and filtering out the noise and opening attention to reality and responding to what needs to be done. The format is similar the first podcast format I did in 2016 with the simplesoundscapes project, which was to ‘speak my mind’ and ‘think out loud’. I start this season with a ‘soundscape composition’, e63 a case study (part 1) and e64 a case study (part 2), a bilingual speculative fiction radio play, set in an undergraduate university history seminar course called ‘History of 2021 in Canada’. It concluded with a soundscape composition ‘Winter Diary Revisited’.

season 4 (1 january – 31 december 2023) : sounding modernity


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 :

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