Tuesday 9th January
Mary Cairncross Scenic Reserve, Rainforest Discovery Centre,
Workshop 1: Sonic Explorers - Remote Sensing Soundscapes
Sonic Explorers takes students on a journey discovering the world of acoustic ecology with new technologies, science and creativity. Participants will explore rainforest soundscapes and learn how we can monitor environmental changes through sound. Sonic Explorers will select recording locations and set up live streams in the rainforest. We will listen to other rainforest live streams on a sound map and create graphic scores of our rainforest sound walks.
Bookings link here
Workshop 2: Sonic Explorers - Record the World
Age: 8 - 17
Time: 12noon - 2pm
In this workshop, students learn about the new technology and exciting science behind acoustic ecology and ecoacoustics. We will go on a environmental field recording expedition in the rainforest with special microphones designed to mimic human ears.
Bookings link here.
Sonic Explorers have been working with the River Listening project in Queensland, Australia. River Listening is a research collaboration between independent artist Dr. Leah Barclay and the Australian Rivers Institute to explore new methods for acoustically monitoring four Queensland river systems: the Brisbane River, the Mary River, the Noosa River and the Logan River. The project has involved the establishment of site-specific listening labs to experiment with hydrophonic recording and sound diffusion to measure aquatic biodiversity. Sonic Explorers have been running workshops and listening lab with young people across Queensland. The new sound maps will be released in 2015.
In 2014, The Australian Rivers Institute (ARI) and Dr. Leah Barclay were awarded a prestigious Synapse grant to support the development of River Listening. Synapse is an initiative of the Australia Council for the Arts and the Australia Network for Art and Technology (ANAT) that supports collaborations between artists and scientists in Australia.
This September 19 – 24, the world of art, science and technology come together in Albuquerque, New Mexico for a six day, international conference, kicking off a season-long exhibition and public programs.
516 ARTS and partners present ISEA2012 Albuquerque: Machine Wilderness, the 18th International Symposium on Electronic Art, exploring the discourse of global proportions on the subject of art, technology and nature. The ISEA2012 title “Machine Wilderness” references the New Mexico region as an area of rapid growth and technology within vast expanses of open land, and presents visions of a more humane interaction between technology and wilderness in which “machines” can take many forms to support life on Earth.
sonic explorers founder Leah Barclay will be facilitating sonic explorers workshops at ISEA 2012 in addition to presenting a paper on outcomes of her doctoral research. Barclay will also be speaking on a panel with Ricardo Dal Farra, Andrés Burbano, Nina Czegledy & Roger Malina about artists responding to ecological crisis.
Over 100 artists and 400 presenters are coming from 30 countries to present and/or exhibit at ISEA2012. The International Symposia on Electronic Art have become the most important academic gatherings on electronic art world-wide, bringing together the worlds of art and science. The next conferences will be in Sydney, Australia and then in Dubai. Don't miss this expansive, international event in the United States for the first time in six years.
Founded in the Netherlands in 1990, ISEA International (formerly Inter-Society for the Electronic Arts) is an international non-profit organization fostering interdisciplinary academic discourse and exchange among culturally diverse organizations and individuals working with art, science and technology.
The Sunshine Coast sonic explorers workshops were assisted by Sophie Jung, a talented music technology student from the Queensland Conservatorium of Music in Brisbane. Sophie has written some reflections on the workshops for the sonic explorers blog:
Even though the weather was rainy throughout, Sonic Explorers Workshops (from 23rd to 28th of June) finished successfully with the participation of over forty young people. It was my first time participating in the TreeLine 2012 project. Therefore, everything was new for me - daily commuting from Brisbane to the Sunshine Coast by train, working with a group of kids, recording the underwater sounds as well as the sounds of the forest, and creating soundscape music. All were new but now all have become like old, long-standing lessons to me. To have an opportunity to work with Leah Barclay was a great experience. In this short review, I share with you what I have learned from Leah, the participants and the forest.
First of all, Leah’s ideas of ‘Sonic Explorers’ and ‘Sound Map’ were excellent. Indeed, all the participants were explorers looking for the sounds in the Maroochy Regional Bushland Botanic Garden. The sounds from the garden as well as young people’s music using the captured sounds were preserved and marked on the Sonic Explorers sound map (www.sonicexplorers.org). These historical recording data will let us know about the sonic environmental changes as years go by.
It was my great pleasure to watch the young students find joy while they recorded the sounds of nature and created their own music. Before we went out for recording, Leah explained the project and the concept of the soundscape. During the short presentation, the students shared about their favorite sounds. Interestingly, ‘silence’ was one of their favourites. While recording, they were very enthusiastic to record the sounds around them and there was no hesitation about the recording tools. All of them were amazed by the underwater sounds recorded with the hydrophone microphone. We were fortunate to record some insects under water using the microphone. After the recording, Leah proficiently led students to collaborate in creating their own music. The interactive process was very impressive, and I was surprised how actively the students chose their best recordings and sample sounds in Logic Pro. Although they had no experience of creating, it did not hinder their creativity.
As the botanic garden has thick rainforest, the environment has unique sonic characteristics with the variety of birds, the fresh sounds of wind in the canopy and rain drops on the leaves. All the sounds were vey beautiful, relaxing and pleasant to listen to, and I enjoyed them very much. Also, I found myself able to fully and easily concentrate on listening to the natural sounds while I was at Ephemeral Wetlands in the forest, where the Tree Songs Installation (1st of July) took place. It is such a perfect place to concentrate on the sounds of nature, because it has a narrow walking path with tall trees on both sides, with thick leaves covering the path, and a small creek running alongside. Therefore, we could listen to the layers of sound of rustlings, foot steps, water, wind, and birds near and far.
For the final performance, Leah and I installed our compositions on the trees using small speakers placed at ear level, taking into account the size and position of the trees. We considered the tree lines, the distance between the tress, ear-level and stereo positions of the trees. The audience were blindfolded and guided along the path by Leah. As their eyes were blindfolded, they could carefully listen to the sounds around them. It was amazing that the birds in the forest sometimes responded with singing to the music we installed. All the sounds from the speakers and from the forest mingled with each other very naturally. Also, the audience (over fifty people on that day) seemed to enjoy the sonic exploring a lot. I have learned that when I take the time to listen, nature gives back more awesome sounds than I expected.
The sonic explorers workshops will be assisted by Sophie Jung, a talented music technology student from the Queensland Conservatorium of Music in Brisbane. Sophie is an aspiring sound artist & composer and has written an introduction article to sound for the sonic explorers blog:
“Sounds are pressure waves travelling through a medium like air and water. If there is air, sounds are ‘here, there and everywhere’ with or without our consciousness. Sounds generally are characterized by pitch, loudness and timbre. For pitch, humans normally can perceive from the lowest of 20 Hz to the highest of 20 kHz frequencies. The ultrasounds above 20 kHz are inaudible to humans, however, some animals like bats and dolphins can even use them. I particularly prefer low frequencies like bass sounds, which are sometimes more felt than heard. Interestingly, babies feel comfortable when they hear the low sounds from a vacuum cleaner, because it reminds them of the time and place when they were in their mother’s womb. If a sound source increases in loudness, it is perceived as approaching. Changing the amplitude of a sound source is a simple but effective way in a sound production process to differentiate the distances of the sound sources. Also, reverberation, the ratio of direct to reflected sound, is an important factor related to the space that the sound is in. When we hear a sound, the particular place such as a living room, bath room, train or on the street will affect this. We can also comprehend that some sounds are dark or warm, while other sounds are bright, harsh or mellow. These are examples of the timbral characteristics of sounds.
I think it is important for young people to explore the sound world. If they take time to actively listen to the sounds around them, they will be surprised by the variety of sounds and the different sound characteristics. It will be meaningful for young people to take the opportunity to engage in sound workshops, which can help them to learn how to appreciate the various qualities of sounds. To experience the sonic world around them can also be a good part of their emotional development.
Before I began to study music technology at the Conservatorium, I wanted to know more about the techniques of how to manipulate sounds for my music compositions. Through the recording and mixing experiences, I have gained very practical knowledge of how to control the sounds that I work with. The technology gives me wings to create new sounds using the existing sounds, and they help me to find continuous joy while I create my compositions. If a sound is an egg, with technologies and your preferences, you can scramble, boil, or fry it, or even make a pavlova.”