Volume 6, Number 6. November-December, 2009
WFAE Newsletter

WFAE Affiliate News
WFAE Chair Report. Following the process that was initiated at the WFAE conference in Mexico, back in March, the Board has accepted the nomination of Hill Hiroki Kobayashi as the new Vice-Chair of the WFAE.
    Hill is a relative newcomer to the WFAE community, much as I was back in 1996 when I began as Chair. Together we will be working towards an active involvement for him in the running of the organisation over the coming year. I am excited by this development not only for the relief that it provides me in terms of workload but also for the injection of fresh ideas and energy that he brings. Hill is a well qualified individual and is further supported by very knowledgeable and experienced members within his local affiliate, the Japanese Association for Soundscape Ecology.
    Meanwhile the Affiliate Membership Committee is preparing the WFAE database for the imminent distribution of the next Soundscape Journal. The guest editors from the Australian Forum have been collating the materials for the journal and it is expected to go to the printer in November.
    The planning for next year's conference in Finland is continuing apace. So as we speed towards the end of the year there is much to look forward to. Nigel Frayne.

Report: American Society for Acoustic Ecology (ASAE): Midwest Society for Acoustic Ecology Chapter. The World Listening Project's "Acoustic Mirror of the World" provides a tactile experience of recorded soundscapes from around the world. The installation is running at the Little Black Pearl Art & Design Center, in Chicago. It was recently located to this wonderful new location after a 4-month run in the "Synesthetic Plan of Chicago" exhibition at the Chicago Cultural Center, to mark the 100-year anniversary of Daniel Burnham's 1909 "Plan of Chicago."
    The World Listening Project invites you to submit your field recordings to make the "AMW" into a genuine point of access and contemplation of soundscapes around the world. Our intention is to feature a set of six one-minute recordings to be played until enough recordings are collected in order feature a new set. We hope this could happen as often as once every one or two weeks.
    The World Listening Project would also like to feature any submission that runs in the installation on its website. Your audio submissions may be sent to Eric Leonardson <info@mwsae.org> via the file sharing service of your choice (yousendit.com, etc.). Please read the guidelines (PDF) on to the MSAE discussion group files. It explains what kind of recording will work. [In a nutshell, the "Acoustic Mirror of the World" is activated by a stereo pair of two low-frequency drivers. Recordings that work best are those possessing significant amounts of low-frequency energy.] Pictures of the "Acoustic Mirror of the World" can be seen on our Flickr Site.

Vice-Chair Report. Hello, I am Hill Hiroki Kobayashi, the newly appointed vice-chair. I was born in Japan and have lived in Hiroshima, Singapore, and the United States.
    Prior to attending graduate school, I worked in a corporation in the hope of finding a sense of purpose. I yearned to find words and ways in which to express my interests. Despite my efforts, I was ready to give up and forget about my true interests, as they seemed to be pointless.
    A turning point came when an acquaintance introduced me to the WFAE 2006 conference held at HIROSAKI University where I heard Schafer speak about "soundscape." Hearing his presentation, I realized for the first time that it was okay to express whatever I held within, and that realization was a saving grace for me. I was able to see that there are other people in different fields who also felt the same way. This was my first introduction to this society.
    I believe that there are others just like me, who are attracted to the soundscape field, in the hope of finding answers to something. I hope to convey to those people the message that whatever ideas they have are accepted as is, in a way that overcomes barriers of language and fields of expertise. I look forward to serving as vice-chair.

Editors Note: Hill Hiroki Kobayashi is a Research Fellow with the Japan Society of Promotion of Science and is a Ph.D. Candidate at the Cyber Interface Lab, The University of Tokyo. Mr. Kobayashi can be reached at vice-chair@wfae.net

Report: Canadian Association for Sound Ecology (CASE). Check it out! The new CASE web-site -  is a work in progress and you're welcome to give us feedback.  Included is the first of 6 previously unpublished essays by R. Murray Schafer, an audio file of his presentation at the 2007 Haliburton retreat, links to several Canadian soundmaps, and more exciting things to come!  Also, the CASE Annual General Meeting is scheduled for November, with several new members from different regions coming on board.

One Man's Noise (CBC). When Tim Wilson fled the city for the quiet of a tiny fishing village, he found that he couldn’t escape from noise. He reflects on the ecology, metaphysics and rich inner meanings of sound. Read excerpt from One Man's Noise, by Tim Wilson.

Hyena giggles no laughing matter By Jason Palmer
Science and technology reporter, BBC News. Researchers have begun to unravel the information and social content present in the hyena's famed laugh, which they say is only used in times of conflict. Read Full Article.

Sun's "Ring of Fire" Stoked by Sound Waves By Stefan Lovgren for National Geographic News. It has been a burning mystery for decades: Why is a thin, irregular region of the sun's atmosphere known as the chromosphere much hotter than the star's visible surface? The answer, scientists recently proposed, could be stellar sound. Read Full Article.

Hybrids: No noise is good noise for lawyers. (Today's Trucking) Hybrid trucks and cars reduce emissions pollution coming out of exhaust pipes, but it's the low levels of noise pollution that has at least one New York lawyer sending warning shots across the industry's bow. Read Full Article.

Hybrid Cars May Include Fake Vroom for Safety. (New York Times) For decades, automakers have been on a quest to make cars quieter: an auto that purrs, and glides almost silently in traffic They have finally succeeded. Plug-in hybrid and electric cars, it turns out, not only reduce air pollution, they cut noise pollution as well with their whisper-quiet motors. But that has created a different problem. They aren’t noisy enough. Read Full Article.

Questions and answers about Acoustic Ecology (BBC) Dr John Levack Drever, Unit for Sound Practice Research, Goldsmiths, University of London, discusses "What is acoustic ecology?" The recurring theme that the expansive field of acoustic ecology is grounded is the notion of soundscape. Akin to its sister term landscape, soundscape is concerned with ties to the environment, but extending beyond landscape’s predilection to surfaces it encompasses the dimension of the environment that is sounding and audible. In fact acoustic ecology is used synonymously with soundscape studies. Read Full Article.

Humans Can Learn to "See" With Sound, Study Says
by Kate Ravilious for National Geographic News. Inspired by a blind man who also navigates using sound, a team of Spanish scientists has found evidence that suggests most humans can learn to echolocate. Read Full Article

Men, convertible drivers at higher risk for hearing loss. (CNN) From motorcycles to lawnmowers, life is full of noise, but new research shows that it presents a bigger danger for some people than others. Read Full Article.

Even golfers suffer noise pollution (Scotsman) Even on the golf course, where in days gone by you could usually be assured of a bit of peace and quiet. Read Full Article.

GhosTrain: Station No. 5. (Australian Broadcasting Corporation). A five-part acoustic journey inside the Redfern Locomotive & Eveleigh Carriage Works, in Sydney, which has been re-purposed as an arts and cultural space. Sound artist Nigel Helyer made the Carriage Works the subject of a creative production during an Australia Council residency at the ABC. Listen.

RESOURCES: Video - Web - Print

Video: Sound in Context. Sound in Context is a short documentary exploring the unique practice of sound within the visual arts world. Through conversations with a number of key art institutions/galleries, artists and curators working with sound in the UK and abroad, Sound in Context allows practitioners to discuss some of the issues of presenting and exhibiting sound in the gallery and contemporary art domain.
    Sound as a medium is time-based and is sensitive to space, perception/experience and environment, and has become intertwined with disciplines of sculpture, architecture, installation, film and media art. The ephemeral, invisible nature of sound poses a number of challenges within cultural practice and presentation. Situated between practices of music and art, sound overflows boundaries of the gallery, disrupts the line between stage and audience, moves beyond categorizations, and merges models of economy and culture industry. Sound in Context explores the place and future of sound within an expanded arts milieu, while opening up reflections for sound artists engaging in the art world, and visual artists engaging with sound in their work. This film includes interviews with: Seth Cluett (artist), Benedict Drew (artist/curator), Barry Esson (director, Arika), Anne Hilde Neset (deputy editor, The Wire), Hans Ulrich Obrist (co-director, Serpentine Gallery), Mike Stubbs (director, FACT), David Toop (writer/curator), Richard Whitelaw (programme director, Sonic Arts Network)
    Produced by: Jonathan Webb and Ashley Wong. Thanks to: The Jerwood Space, Goldsmiths' University of London, Sonic Arts Network, Nicolas Sauret, Arika, FACT Liverpool, Serpentine Gallery, The Wire and Arika. Total runtime: 30min, 2009. This film is archived on the VIMEO web site.

Web Site. The music of geography: Ohio is a piano. By Andy Woodruff. The author of this project discovered that the state of Ohio in the US Mid-West has 88 counties just as a keyboard has 88 keys. As a result he developed this interactive site. A full detailed description of this project is available on Woodruff's Cartogrammar-Blog.    

This web site allows the user to do a number of tasks including:
  • ASSIGN NOTES: Each piano key, from the low end to the high end, is mapped to a particular county depending on a data attribute. This affects what you see and hear in the following actions.
  • PLAY A SONG: See what the geography of an example song excerpt looks like. Counties darken as they are played, and the red bulls eye tracks the average location of counties (notes) in the song.
  • PLAY THE DATA: Play through the 'scale' of an attribute (from low to high).
  • PLAY A METRO AREA: Hear the chord that a metropolitan area (as defined by the Census) comprises.
  • PLAY A ROUTE: Choose two county seats and, based on Google Maps, listen to the sequence of counties in a route between them. Just to make it more interesting, these routes use the 'avoid highways' option.
New Book: Poetic Inquiry. Poet, soundscape artist-researcher, doctoral candidate and CASE, WFAE board member, Andrea Dancer, has published an article on "The Soundscape in Poetry" in a new text entitled "Poetic  Inquiry: Vibrant Voices in the Social Sciences" (Sense Publishers, 2009). The article explores the idea that "if the sounds at play in poetry are attuned to local topography, then that attunement is potentially embodied by the poet..." (34). Support for this argument draws from multi-disciplinary theoretical perspectives drawn from neuro-biology (Edelman, 2006), social-spatial theory (Lefebvre, 1991), biophony (Krause, 1992), poet-essayists (Turner and Aviram, 1992), and, of course, R. Murray Shafer’s wealth of writings on the soundscape. 

Acoustic Ecology and the Experimental Music Tradition
By David Dunn
New Music Box: The Web Magazine from the American Music Center
Published: January 9, 2008
Access Article

"Every so often over the past decade, I have had a recurrent experience where upon being invited to lecture and present this kind of work at an institution, I find myself advertised as an "acoustic ecologist." While I never argue with this characterization—I'm usually unsure of the specific rationale for its use—I have never applied the original meaning of the term Acoustic Ecology to myself, been affiliated with its originators, nor used it to describe what I do (with one notable exception where it was used to highlight some of the issues addressed by this essay). All the while, I remain deeply sympathetic to it. Perhaps there is some confusion afoot in the worlds of art and music about what the term means, but there's also a vague intuition of its appropriateness for describing a much more expansive domain of intellectual activity than would have ever been claimed by its original practitioners. This essay is an attempt to put some of these conflicting assumptions into perspective while also clarifying some of my own insights into related issues." David Dunn


Event: November 12-15, 2009 Listening Institute
In partnership with the Center for Documentary Studies at Duke University
Durham, North Carolina, USA
Registration is $375 and includes the opening reception, lunches, coffee breaks, closing brunch included.)
~~~ The Third Coast Festival (thirdcoastfestival.org) is teaming up with the Center for Documentary Studies at Duke to present the first-ever Listening Institute - a weekend-long gathering of radio/audio producers involving careful listening to documentary work of all stripes, critical discourse, and a few workshops presenting the essentials of radio production. And more.
    We'll feature work made by attendees and other selections curated by the Third Coast Festival. But don't feel that you need to be directly involved with public radio production to attend or contribute to this - we're looking for participants from across the audio-lovin' spectrum. Read More.

Call Deadline: November 30, 2009
Call for contributions for edited collection on Noise, Audition, Aurality: Histories of the Sonic World(s) of Europe, circa 1500-1945
~~~ Contributions are invited for a proposed collection of essays exploring the soundscapes of Europe from c.1500 to 1945. The collection seeks to develop existing and open up new areas of interdisciplinary scholarship from a range of fields including (but not limited to) musicology, urban geography, history, the history of architecture, literary studies, cultural studies, psychoanalysis, psychology and anthropology, and will build on existing work in acoustic ecology, the sociology of noise and histories and historiographies of noise, audition and aurality. We will favor contributions that deal with historically- informed topics in the following areas (although this is by no means an exclusive list):

  • The noise-sound-music nexus
  • Urban/rural soundscapes
  • Public/private soundscapes
  • The acoustic ecology of communities
  • Legal histories of noise
  • Noise, music and the body
  • Listening and the erotic
  • Political economies of noise
  • Noise, music and landscape
  • Theories of hearing and listening
  • Historical acousmêtres
  • Historiographies of noise, audition and aurality
  • Technologies of sound reproduction and their histories

Prospective contributors should send a 250-word abstract and a short biography to Ian Biddle (i.d.biddle@ncl.ac.uk) by no later than November 30, 2009. If your contribution is chosen, we will require your finished chapter by April 19,2010. If you have any queries please also contact Dr Ian Biddle and Dr Kirsten Gibson (both Newcastle University, UK). at the email address above.

Event: December 12-14, 2009
The Third International Conference On Music Therapy
VIMHANS Hospital, New Delhi, India
~~~ This is the Third International Conference to be organized by NADA Centre for Music Therapy, Chennai. The earlier two conferences, held in Chennai, were well-attended by international participants drawn from various parts of the world such as Canada, Israel, Japan, Netherlands, Sri Lanka, UK, and USA, besides participants from India. The theme of this conference has been carefully selected to bring to the fore the tremendous possibilities that exist in making music therapy as a cost-effective system of complementary medicine. Many participants from abroad have shown their individual solidarity with NADA Centre for Music Therapy in this Mission of Making Music as a Medicine.
    All academics and researchers, who are interested in the subject of medicine, music and music therapy, are welcome to participate. We specially invite the students and scholars of the following disciplines to derive benefit from this rare opportunity: general medicine, alternative medicine, music, psychology (post bachelors & practitioners), neurology, rehabilitation workers, nursing staff, social scientists, behavior specialists, special educators etc. as we feel that this nascent subject needs a multi-disciplinary approach and team-work for its development in India.
    All queries relating to the Conference may be addressed to the Coordinators, Mr. Gyan Deep (9873974049) or Ms. Simrita Chaudhry (9871198723) or on email address (academicinfo@vimhans.com, reg.edu.psych@vimhans.com, events@vimhans.com).

Call Deadline: January 15, 2010
INTER-NOISE 2010 39th International Congress and Exposition on Noise Control Engineering
Lisbon, Portugal

~~~ INTER-NOISE 2010, the 39th International Congress and Exposition on Noise Control Engineering, will be held in Lisbon, Portugal, from 13-16 June, 2010. The Congress is sponsored by the International Institute of Noise Control Engineering (I-INCE), and is co-organized by the Portuguese Acoustical Society (SPA) and the Spanish Acoustical Society (SEA). The Congress venue will be the modern Lisbon Congress Centre, located on the north bank of the River Tagus in a new rehabilitated tourist waterfront area, full of amazing gardens and esplanades.
   Papers related to the technical areas listed there are especially welcome for presentation at the INTER-NOISE 2010 Congress. The deadline for the receipt of the abstracts is January 15th, 2010. Notification of the paper’s acceptance will be sent to authors on March 1st, 2010. Manuscripts for publication in the conference proceedings are due on April 1st, 2010. Full details available online.

Event: January 13-16, 2010
Hawaii International Conference on Arts & Humanities
Honolulu, Hawaii USA
~~~The HICAH conference will be held from January 13 (Wednesday) to January 16 (Saturday), 2010 at the Waikiki Beach Marriott Resort & Spa and the Hilton Waikiki Prince Kuhio Hotel in Honolulu, Hawaii. The conference will provide many opportunities for academicians and professionals from arts and humanities related fields to interact with members inside and outside their own particular disciplines. Web Site.

Event: June 16-19, 2010 International Conference of the World Forum for Acoustic Ecology, Koli, Finland
"Ideologies and Ethics in the Uses and Abuses of Sound"
~~~ The 2010 WFAE conference will be held at Koli in Eastern Finland. Koli is a plausible site for reflecting upon ideologies, ethics and soundscapes, since it was amongst the key places of the national romantic artist pilgrims in the late 19th century Finland. The Finnish Society for Acoustic Ecology (FSAE) invites researchers and artists from all disciplines to join this forum of discussion. Learn More.

On-Going Call For Sounds: Sound Is Art
~~~ Margaret Noble has started a new ezine that in some ways functions as a museum of unique sound recordings. It is called, 'Sound Is Art!'. It is currently hosted on her website as a blog but her plan is to get a more appropriate domain name soon. She is interested in sound submissions from those who would like to contribute. Visit site: http://margaretnoble.net/blog/

On-Going Call For Work: Submissions for Letters on Sounds, Luvsound's new Journal
~~~ Luvsound is now accepting submissions of new writing on sound for a forthcoming online (and possibly short-run print) journal called Letters on Sounds.
     We're interested especially in writing on the practice of making, listening, and living with sound from artists who work primarily with sound. Please do not submit album reviews or other similar work.
     Letters on Sounds hopes to be a platform for people working in new ways with sound, especially as that might relate to a particular community, to share their approaches and experiences with others of a like mind.
     To submit, please send a short email to erik@luvsound.org with a two to ten sentence description of your piece, as well as a brief biographical statement. Luvsound is a arts co-op and record label based in New Orleans and Brooklyn.



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Issues of this publication dating back to 2004 are archived online. Back copies of Soundscape, The Journal of Acoustic Ecology are also available.

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Set: 11.01.08