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WFAE: UP FRONT: President’s Report by Eric Leonardson

Eric Leonardson
Invisible Places | Sounding Cities, a WFAE endorsed symposium on sound, urbanism, and sense of place, was a wonderful success. It took place July 18-20 in the charming city of Viseu, Portugal. We are grateful for the support of the Mayor of Viseu - Câmara Municipal de Viseu, the annual Jardins Efémeros (Ephemeral Gardens) arts festival, and Escola Superior de Educação de Viseu. Keynote speeches by Jean-Paul Thibaud, Brandon Labelle, and Salome Voegelin explored an integrated, holistic approach to understanding and resolving current and future concerns in urban planning, architecture, and sound as a public art form. Francisco López was the featured artist, providing an impressive outdoor concert performance and excellent master class. This, and the keynotes were video-streamed live for the benefit of those who could not personally attend. Exquisite sound installations and audio art works were integrated into the public spaces of Viseu, made available as the Sounding Cities complement to the symposium. I want to thank Raquel Castro and Sandra Oliveira for their dedicated efforts in organizing this conference. Visit Invisible Places | Sounding Cities to download and read the papers presented.

Possible New Affiliate Organization:
Near the conclusion of the symposium, I was among the 23 people who met and discussed starting a new WFAE Affiliate in Portugal. There are challenges but everyone left with a positive disposition, interested in going forward. Whether it begins as an informal group, with fewer costs and less red tape, or as a formal, legally recognized organization, Carlos Augusto says the Portuguese affiliate will be created in the near future.

New Committee:
Based on a vibrant discussion on the Acoustic-Ecology listserv, about the best ways to archive audio libraries and collections, ASAE member Craig Eley contacted me about starting a WFAE Committee on Best Practices for Metadata. The WFAE Board approved and the call for participants was sent on August 12. It received a robust response. The committee has grown to include 30 people from a mix of backgrounds: students, archivists at well-known cultural institutions, WFAE members, researchers, and media artists. The committee aims to discuss and propose some working guidelines for the rest of our community. If you have questions about the committee, please contact me at

Up-Coming Conference:
The WFAE recently endorsed the Balance-Unbalance 2015 conference on electronic art and climate change, from March 27–29, 2015 at Arizona State University. The submission deadline is November 1, 2014. Paraphrasing the words of artist, scholar, and conference founder Ricardo Dal Farra, with prospects of cataclysmic change looming near, this transdisciplinary conference envisions the arts as a catalyst for reimagining our current environments.

Administrative Changes:
At the end of 2014 Gary Ferrington retires as WFAE Secretary. Christopher DeLaurenti is the new WFAE Secretary starting in December. Gary is now transitioning Chris into this position. I have known Chris for many years and believe he is highly qualified to serve in this role, which has kindly and generously agreed to serve. He is a longstanding ASAE member with a passion for sound and listening. He is internationally recognized as a leading composer, phonographer, and author. He has published articles and editorials in our journal, Soundscape Journal for Acoustic Ecology. Chris teaches at the College of William and Mary in Virginia, where now lives. There, he hopes someday to start a regional chapter of the ASAE. Chris was a leading member of the Seattle Phonographers Union, editor for Seattle-based journal, The Tentacle, and founded the ASAE Pacific Northwest Society for Acoustic Ecology chapter.

Along with establishing the online presence and communication for the WFAE and the early years of the ASAE, Gary undertook one of the most important and time-consuming efforts of our organization: publishing this newsletter. Soundscape Journal Editor-in-Chief, Phylis Johnson recommended Jon Pluskota, an engineer, producer, and new faculty member at the University of Southern Mississippi as the new online editor of WFAE Quarterly News. Jon and Gary are communicating about transitioning him in as the WFAE's new Online News Editor. As Jon and Gary make the editorial transition, I encourage readers to keep current of WFAE activities by accessing the WFAE Facebook Page for news and events. And please, let's all thank Gary immensely for the 18 years of dedicated and diligent service he has devoted to the WFAE.

Become Involved:
As mentioned in my previous report, the WFAE welcomes everyone's input to help coordinate and inform the world about the exciting and diverse activities concerning, sound, listening, and the environment. For information on forming an affiliate please visit the Affiliate Organization page and contact us. Remember, the WFAE operates simply by virtue of the fact that members of its affiliates devote their time and energy to making it work. To learn about the abundant, diverse, and inspired activities of our members, I hope you will visit the WFAE News section of this newsletter.

Special Tribute To Steven Miller (ASAE Founding Member)
Dear Steven, It is with great sadness I write on learning of this new stage in your life with ALS. It was only last year we saw each other, with our many friends and colleagues at the Music and Ecologies of Sound symposium in Saint Denis. It was shock to learn only several months later of this tragic development. I’ve been thinking of you often, finding myself at a loss for words. I have to say thank you, as a fellow artist and member of the American Society for Acoustic Ecology. It was March 2009 when we first met, at the WFAE conference in Mexico City, and only few months after I joined the ASAE. I know you helped start it in 2004 with Jim Cummings, Glenn Bach, Dave Aftandilian, Gary Ferrington, and Michelle Nagai. You wrote and edited many important and informative articles, including the 2002 Soundscape: The Journal for Acoustic Ecology, publishing in various journals and your own blog, right up until 2013. As a teacher, I am sure you have touched and improved the lives of countless students and fellow instructors. I am happy you have such a caring and beautiful wife and daughter: both to be proud of, and who must give you great joy. I imagine you have a great family who are also with you at this difficult time. Steven, we owe you our thanks for the invaluable contributions you bring to our lives and futures through your thoughtful words and insight about sound and art. I hope my words and thoughts of appreciation and thanks bring some peace to you. Sincerely yours, Eric.

Many of Steven's excellent papers, articles, interviews, and monographs on sound and acoustic ecology are online. His web site is:

Gary FerringtonHeader Photo: Summer's Evening by Gary Ferrington, Senior Instructor Emeritus, Instructional Systems Technology, College of Education, University of Oregon. Ferrington is the current WFAE Secretary and online editor for the organization's newsletter and web site. He is also an advocate for new contemporary classical music and is a freelance writer for Oregon ArtsWatch.