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The ultimate question I’m asking is how can we move away from soundwalk as a kind of framed aesthetic experience or artistic experience and turn it into an existential practice or basically something that is just ingrained in our everyday life and we don’t have to frame it anymore. It’s just basically part of our way of living.
Can you give an example of that?
An academic example would be the concepts developed by Steven Feld, acoustemology, where basically listening, a kind of sonic way of being in the world is part of your culture, part of existence. You don’t tell yourself, okay, I will listen to the world more carefully from now for another hour, and then I can just return back to my everyday life but you basically just keep listening, right? A kind of sonic sensitivity is one of the most important ways of understanding the world as opposed to being pushed to the background and only lifted up during those kinds of frame situations such as a soundwalk.
I’ve been sound walking in an analytical way, so I’ll try to make sense of the sounds and where they are and what they’re about but there’s also an absorption factor where you allow the sounds to speak to you in their own language, right? As opposed to sort of rationally figuring them out. So, if we stop here and listen, what are you hearing?
I hear a coexistence of culture and nature and at the same time a kind of friction between two realms that in fact are just one realm and we kind of try to maybe separate them. We talked a little bit about this positionality and we hear the whistle of the train. From one perspective, we heard some people here referring to that sound as being very calming and reassuring, but if you think of indigenous people, that sound might mean a completely different thing. It’s a form of bordering and creating, some kind of a division, of cutting the land and deciding how the land is to be traversed and utilized. So it definitely has a violent connotation if we look from that perspective and if we listen from that perspective. I think that this is some kind of sensitivity that I’m aiming at, also, while teaching, to be able to also take that thought into consideration when we try to value or kind of assign value to different sounds. I think Dylan Robinson is talking about oscillation. I think he calls it to be able to constantly oscillate, to move from one way of understanding sound to another. And basically by doing that it destabilizing certain certainties that characterizes our way of listening and, and by doing that, becoming open to those other understandings and perceptions…
And asking questions. You know, we were on a panel together a few days ago (Stetson University) when we were asking the question, how can listening help the world that is in crisis? and it’s an open-ended question because with listening everybody has their own way of listening, but there are certainly deeper ways of listening that we can learn and unlearn as we work our way through these issues.
Exactly and that we’ve been talking a lot about hope. We’ve been talking a lot about how this openness is almost inherently good. I have that feeling. People talk about if we open up our listening and if we invite other perspectives, then we are doing something good. But I think that opening comes with certain responsibilities too, right? I like to think of it in a way that the more open we become to those different perspectives, the more troubled, actually, we should become more concerned rather than content and calm, so there’s this disruptive aspect to listening that Hildegard Westerkamp has been writing about, but as we open ourselves, as we include other perspectives, we at the same time disrupted something, right? That we at the same time should be calling ourselves to action and becoming more responsible. So, there’s some kind of an obligation I think that should follow that act of opening and deepening our listening.
I agree. Thank you for this moment. We will listen again.
This episode with artist Jacek Smolicki was recorded on Friday March 24th, 2023 at 8.44 am at the Atlantic Center for the Arts in New Smyrna Beach, Florida.
It’s a soundwalk about soundwalking but also about the role of acoustic ecology in the ecological crisis.
After completing our first 5 minute conversation (e113 part 1) we heard a passing train and continued our conversation, which is this episode (part 2).
I encourage listeners to do your own soundwalks. There are many guides and methods. One of my favorites is Soundwalking by Hildegard Westerkamp but also Jacek’s new book Soundwalking through space, time and technologies.
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 to the Children and Youth Artists’ Grief Deck! Artists’ Literacies Institute.
Jacek Smolicki (born during martial law in Kraków) is a cross-disciplinary artist, designer, researcher and educator. His work brings temporal, existential and critical dimensions to listening, recording and archiving practices and technologies in diverse contexts.
Besides working with historical archives, media, and heritage, Smolicki develops other modes of sensing, recording, and mediating stories and signals from specific sites, scales, and temporalities. His work is manifested through soundwalks, soundscape compositions, diverse forms of writing, site-responsive performances, experimental para-archives, and audio-visual installations.
He has performed, published, and exhibited internationally (e.g. In-Sonora Madrid, Moscow International Biennale for Young Art, AudioArt Kraków, Ars Electronica, Linz, and Historical Museum of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Sarajevo). His broad scope of site-responsive artistic and research work includes projects concerned with the soundscapes of the Swedish Arctic Circle, the Canadian Pacific Coast, the world’s tallest wooden radio mast in Gliwice, the UFO testimonies from the Archive for the Unexplained in Sweden, the Jewish Ghetto in Kraków, the former sites of the Yugoslav Wars, Madrid’s busking culture, and Alfred Nobel’s factory complex in Stockholm, among many other places.
In 2017 he completed his PhD in Media and Communications from the School of Arts and Communication at Malmö University where he was a member of Living Archives, a research project funded by the Swedish Research Council.
Between 2020-2023 Smolicki pursues an international postdoctorate funded by the Swedish Research Council. Located at Linköping University in Sweden, Simon Fraser University in Vancouver, Canada, and Harvard, USA, his research explores the history and prospects of field recording and soundwalking practices from the perspective of arts, environmental humanities, and philosophy of technology.
In 2022/2023 he is a Fulbright Visiting Scholar at Harvard.
He is also an associate scholar at the Informatics and Media Hub for Digital Existence at Uppsala University. From January 2020 he is a member of BioMe, a research project that investigates ethical implications of AI technologies on everyday life realms. Smolicki explores sonic capture cultures and the impact of AI technologies on human and other-than-human voices.
He is a co-founder of Walking Festival of Sound, a transdisciplinary and nomadic event exploring the critical and reflective role of walking through and listening to our everyday surroundings.
Since 2008 Smolicki has been working on On-Going Project, a systematic experimentation with various recording techniques and technologies leading to a multifaceted para-archive of contemporary everyday life, culture, and environment. The On-Going Project includes Minuting, a record of public soundscapes performed daily ever since July 2010, for which he received the main prize at the Society for Artistic Research conference in 2022.
For info see https://www.smolicki.com/index.html.
The post e113 soundwalk (part 2) – how can we deepen our listening? 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 http://simplesoundscapes.ca (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 :
View the original: https://www.conscient.ca/e113-soundwalk-part-2-how-can-we-deepen-our-listening/