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WFAE: UP FRONT President’s Report by Eric Leonardson

Eric LeonardsonBalance-Unbalance 2015 Water, Climate, Place – Reimagining Environments

At the time of this writing I am excited to have returned from the WFAE-endorsed Balance-Unbalance 2015 conference on electronic art, water, climate, and place, held from March 27–29, 2015 at Arizona State University (ASU). Drawing together art, science, and technology, this conference positioned itself to be a positive antidote in this time of unprecedented global environmental challenges. As stated in its conference theme, “‘Water, Climate, Place: Re-Imagining Environments’ is aimed to provoke discussion and reflection on how the climate is changing and what our future might hold. It does so by directing trans-disciplinary thought and action as tools for positive change.”

Two days of pre-conference workshops (March 25–26) included Designing Resilient Communities with AECOM corporation’s Chief Sustainability Officer Gary Lawrence, and a pre-conference Acoustic Ecology Workshop and overnight field trip to the Beaver Creek Biosphere Reserve, organized by the American Society for Acoustic Ecology. Among the featured keynotes were Gary Lawrence, American composers Alvin Curran and Annea Lockwood, and Pablo Suarez, associate director for research and innovation at the Red Cross-Red Crescent Climate Centre.

The conference venue of ASU is home to an impressive array of schools for art, design, engineering, media, music, and sustainability, the Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts, Schools of Music, Art and Arts, Media and Engineering, Julie Ann Wrigley Global Institute of Sustainability, and Barrett, The Honors College, ASU. Here our transdisciplinary conference envisions the arts as a catalyst for reimagining our current environments. Conference co-organizer, ASAE member, and ASU Professor Garth Paine reports on the musical offerings.

Soundscape: The Journal of Acoustic Ecology

The 2014 edition, Volume 14 of Soundscape: The Journal of Acoustic Ecology is expected to be published this spring. It focuses on Canadian perspectives on environment and sound. This issue explores a collective ethos based in research and practice, and the local and global identity to this ethos. Canadian Association for Sound Ecology members Andrea Dancer, Eric Powell, and Randolph Jordan are this issue’s editors. We anticipate that the transition from the Canadian winter into spring will draw our listening to rich sounds freezing lakes and melting ice, expansive silences, icebergs in the north, and mild oceans in the west.

Later this year the Fall/Winter 2015, Volume 15 is planned for publication in November, says Editor-in-Chief, Professor Dr. Phylis Johnson. American Society for Acoustic Ecology member Jay Needham will issue the Call For Papers. Its theme is “Sounds emergent: diverse ecologies.” Your 100-200-word proposal should be sent to Jay Needham by May 1, 2015. Please visit our Calendar and WFAE News pages for the complete call.

Listening Ahead

After this report publishes, more news will come forth through April, May, and June as many partnerships, affiliate activities, podcasts, print publications, and conferences are in their discussion and planning stages. Patrick Shen’s In Pursuit of Silence film should near its completion, as well as our 2014 Soundscape: The Journal of Acoustic Ecology. Environmental projects are underway, including the Biosphere Soundscapes project at Fonoteca Nacional in Mexico, and Silence The Horns. The new WFAE Portuguese affiliate will form in due course. The 2015 annual World Listening Day happens on July 18th. My own concert and lecture tour in June may help coalesce interest and activity in acoustic ecology in Central Europe, and elsewhere. So, much more needs mentioning. To follow and stay informed of all these developments, and share your news with our network, please join our email discussion list, “Like” our Facebook Page, and become a member.

Header Photo: "Opening Spring" from Hattiesburg, Mississippi (USA) by Kim Pluskota, Artist & Designer.