Ecology

Trivially speaking, ecological awareness means realising that beings are interconnected in some way, but then we have to figure out what this interconnection actually means. At the moment, the phrase I’m using for the thing that ecological awareness names is “the symbiotic real”. What do I mean by that? I mean that ecological relationships are best described in terms of symbiosis, and symbiosis is a very interesting thing because it’s always a sort of fragile, contingent, uneasy relationship in which it’s impossible to determine which entity is the top entity. … There’s a sort of dynamic system there. (Morton 2016)

This research addressed ecology to explore a symbiotic real (Morton 2006), the potential relationships between human and non-human beings and their interconnection in space. The purpose of the case studies was to raise an ecological awareness through the experience of environmental sound and the dynamic systems (or symbiotic relations) acting in specific sites, usually neglected by humans. More specifically, the field of acoustic ecology has informed my ecological approach to aural architecture. I have found common ground with The World Soundscape Project’s (1) approach in the use of environmental sounds as a pedagogical intent to foster soundscape awareness.

My practice involved field recording (2) and soundscape composition (3) as a way to enhance environmental listening awareness. I became interested in how soundscape composition could be engaged on an activist and political level, as a way to create a strong oppositional place of conscious listening (Westerkamp 2002), to create balanced aural architecture experiences in built environments. In other words, I became interested in exploring modes of creating affective experiences of environmental sound. Therefore, I have extended relationships between ecology and affect.

Notes:

  1. The World Soundscape Project is an educational and research group dedicated to acoustic ecology, established by Raymond Murray Schafer at Simon Fraser University during the late 1960s and early 1970.
  2. My practice of field recording refers to audio recording of environmental sound, both natural or human-produced.
  3. Soundscape composition is a practice of audio composition using field recordings.

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