Cancelled – Instrumental Shifts: The Sonic Landscape

RE:VIVE and Rewire Festival collaborate for the 2nd Rewire symposium.

In response to the Rewire 2020 theme of (Re)setting, an exploration into the way humans and sound relate to changing environments, Rewire will present the Changing Sonic Landscape Symposium together with the Netherlands Institute for Sound and Vision’s RE:VIVE initiative.

Taking place on Friday 3 April, this one day academic symposium will examine the interrelationships between sound, society and the natural world, with a focus on archiving, via talks and presentations from researchers, preservationists, archivists and artists working in the fields of acoustic ecology, neuroscience, composition and more. The Sonic Landscape Symposium has been developed with support from ArtEz and Beeld en Geluid Den Haag.

Register for the symposium Here.


Session 1: Sound and the Natural World 10:00 – 12:00

Acoustic ecology investigates our relationship with the world around us, through sound. Sound enables us to better understand the fragile dynamics of the natural world – dynamics that are profoundly changing as a result of modernisation, urbanisation and exploitative human interventions into nature.

10:00 – 11:00 | Chris Watson keynote

Acclaimed BBC field recordist and composer Chris Watson will present a keynote “The Unsilent World” on the ecological changes and anomalies he has been documenting over a 40-year career in the field with a focus on the sounds of the seas and oceans. Watson will also be performing the extended spatial performance of  ‘Chernobyl’ with Hildur Guðnadóttir, happening on Friday 3 April at the Electriciteitsfabriek.

11:00 – 11:30 | Jérôme Sueur lecture

Electroacoustic researcher and associate professor at the Muséum National d’Histoire Naturelle in Paris, France, Dr. Jérôme Sueur, will then expand in more detail on how natural soundscapes are evolutionarily linked to behavioural and ecological processes.

11:30 – 12:00 | Harpo ‘t Hart artist presentation

Perhaps The Netherlands’ most defining ecosystem, the North Sea, is being impacted greatly through shipping, industry and the constant development of its coastline. If given a voice, would the North Sea protest these changes? The newly founded Embassy of the North Sea seeks to give a voice to this body of water. Composer and Embassy of the North Sea curator, Harpo ‘t Hart will speak about how this innovative initiative is working together with artists, scientists and policymakers to fundamentally reorientate our relation to the ocean.

Session 2: Sound and Society 13:00 – 15:00

Sound has a crucial role in shaping our world. For some, the world is louder than ever before; for others, it’s never been quieter. This session will investigate how humans perceive sounds within society, their relationship to place, the neurology behind listening, and how artistic practices can be used to improve our modern sonic landscape.

13:00 – 14:00 | Marcel Cobussen keynote

Professor Marcel Cobussen from the University of Leiden is in his third decade investigating the way we reflect on, evaluate, experience, and (re)design the sonic ambiance of public space. His keynote will explore how artistic contribution can have a profound social, political, and even ethical impact, and how artists “listen with” rather than “listen for”.

14:00 – 14:30 | Pamela Jordan lecture

PhD candidate at the University of Amsterdam School of Heritage and Memory Studies and licensed architect Pamela Jordan will present how she uses sound to research historic man made environments, from military installations and infrastructural ruins, to places of worship both recent and ancient. Borrowing from heritage theories, deaf space design concepts, technical sonic environment analysis, and binaural documentation, her work reveals the communicative and long-lived power of our sonic surroundings.

14:30 – 15:00 | Umberto Olcese lecture

Assistant professor in the Cognitive and Systems Neuroscience Group at the University of Amsterdam, Umberto Olcese studies our perception of sound and the multitude of factors that influence it. Why does someone living close to train-tracks sleep restfully amidst a constant cacophony yet wakes up at the sound of their crying child? Professor Olcese will discuss the active role that our brain plays in shaping how we perceive sounds, and how other factors influence this process.

Session 3 Preservation and Presentation 15:30 – 17:00

A consequence of change is that sounds are becoming extinct or replaced by new ones. While the temporality of sound is something we can take for granted, preservationists, recordists and ordinary people around the world are taking steps to capture as much as possible before they recede into silence.

15:30 – 15:50 | Sebastien Robert artist presentation

Indigenous populations around the world are no strangers to loss. When these populations are threatened by expansionism or climate change, so too are their traditions. Researcher and master student of The Hague’s ArtScience Interfaculty Sebastien Robert will present his preservation project, You’re No Bird of Paradise, capturing indigenous rituals in more empathetic way than simply recording them.

15:50 – 16:10 | Hannah Bosma lecture

It is incredibly difficult to preserve experimental electronic music, and to re-perform it later – especially in the era of escalating software updates, rendering certain equipment obsolete. Dr. Hannah Bosma from the University of Amsterdam will present her investigation into the preservation and archiving electroacoustic performance.

16:10 – 16:30 | Willem Pier-Vellinga lecture

There aren’t many documentation initiatives that can compare to Xeno-canto – a large scale citizen repository for bird songs and bird calls. Since 2005, Xeno-canto has grown to be one of the largest collections of bird songs in the world, all openly licensed with over 500,000 recordings. Xeno-canto co-found, Dr. Willem-Pier Vellinga will share the origins and growth of this invaluable database as well as experiences of field recordists from around the world.

16:30 – 17:00 | Evelien van den Broek artist presentation

To round out the symposium, composer Evelien van den Broek will discuss her current project, Biophonica, a sonic response to the man made mass extinction currently underway. Featuring recordings of animals that are extinct or endangered, van den Broek will present her motivations and artistic process behind Biophonica, which she will perform on Sunday 5 April as part of the Rewire 2020 music programme.

Register for the symposium Here

Practical info

Address: Beeld en Geluid Den Haag, Zeestraat 82
Time: 9:30 doors open, 10:00 program starts, end 17:00 (lunch will be provided)
Price: €5 students €10 non students, free for Rewire 2020 Pass holders with registration

Cover image by seliaymiwell under a CC BY-NC license