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BALANCE-UNBALANCE 2015 Conference On Electronic Art & Climate

The next iteration of Balance-Unbalance happens March 27–29, 2015 at Arizona State University. The purpose of BunB is to promote novel forms of creativity to help solve environmental problems. This international conference focuses on water, climate, and place.

Proposal submission deadline: November 1, 2014

Notification of presenters: December 31, 2014

For conference details visit the BunB Call for Proposals.

Conference founder, Argentinian-born artist and scholar Ricardo Dal Farra, writes:

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Proceedings of Invisible Places | Sounding Cities 2014

POSTER INVISIBLE PLACES_lowIt is now possible to download the 812-page proceedings from the 2014 Invisible Places | Sounding Cities symposium at

A city is a place of diversities. Its rhythms are sometimes contrapuntal, sometimes synchronous. We live in a city of multiple destinations and routes—spaces populated by sounds, smells, gestures, visions, exchanges, encounters, and feelings. We have a better a city experience with all the senses awakened. However, modern cities have been designed, built and determined by visual aesthetics. A strict regime of the visual limits the innately diverse ways we sense and communicate with our home and the world.

Invisible Places | Sounding Cities has two goals: a symposium on sound, urbanism and sense of place endorsed by the World Forum for Acoustic Ecology and an exhibition of artistic events that aims to bring art and science to the streets. It is integrated in Jardins Efémeros edition IV.—From the Foreword by Raquel Castro

Invisible Places | Sounding Cities took place July 18-20 in Viseu, Portugal. In addition to WFAE endorsement, the Mayor of Viseu – Câmara Municipal de Viseu, the annual Jardins Efémeros (Ephemeral Gardens) arts festival, and Escola Superior de Educação de Viseu, among others. Keynote speakers were Jean-Paul Thibaud, Brandon Labelle, and Salome Voegelin who 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. 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.

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Report: January 25th Soundwalk and Performance at Brushwood Center

Brushwood Center Soundwalk

Cabin on the Des Plaines River in Ryerson Woods, one site for sounds and scenes of the river

With moderate snowfall and cold, nearly 60 people participated in a soundwalk led by Dan Godston, John Barrett, and Eric Leonardson, followed by a concert by Chicago Phonography. Performers included Todd Carter, Chad Clark, Ed Herrmann, Monica Ryan, with members of Chicago Wildsounds, Roni Jachowski, Matt Connor and Lisa Kenny. The site of the soundwalk was the Edward L. Ryerson Conservation Area in the Ryerson Forest Preserve in Riverwoods, Illinois. A rewarding discussion followed both the soundwalk and performance inside the Brushwood Center for environmental education, art, and science in Ryerson Woods.

Soundwalk in Ryerson Woods

Eric Leonardson asked participants to write about their experiences. “Reflecting on and publishing about MSAE activities helps advance acoustic ecology. It’s interesting to learn how different people sense things and apply this to their experience, and in their work. For example, some of the artists-in-residence at Ragdale participated in the soundwalk. One said she focused her listening by closing her eyes as she walked and stood by the river. That heightened her awareness of the sounds all around, and the many footsteps crunching in the new snow. She imagined this must be what a cow hears when standing within its herd. Last night she told me she used her description in the novel she’s writing.”

Author and Ragdale artist-in-residence, Danielle Sosin wrote: “While on a winter sound walk in Ryerson woods, I used my eyes as little as possible, squinting, letting in just enough vision to see the heels of the person in front of me. It was cold, windy, with crunching ice underfoot, rattling leaves, and creaking branches. The experience made me realize how much I rely on vision over sound. With limited sight, my hearing became both more acute and clearly directional. It felt wild, and more animal to rely on my ears. When we stopped near a small river, I stood, eyes closed, as my ears picked up the positions of people milling around me, quietly passing, stopping, shifting weight, and I thought, ‘This is what it feels like to be part of herd.’”

Chicago Phonography performs in Brushwood Center

Chad Clark, MSAE and Chicago Phonography member, also mentions the sound of the leaves, “My attention was drawn to the subtle crackling of the slow flowing creek working its way through a cover of ice and frozen leaves.”

Chicago composer and MSAE member, Ed Herrmann, reported that “the morning of January 25 was cold, and fresh snow was falling on the several inches already covering the ground. Even so, more than 30 people joined Chicago Phonography on a sound walk at Ryerson Woods. It was quiet. Footsteps crunching in snow and some planes flying over were the primary sounds above the distant drone of traffic, but an occasional bird or squirrel also made its presence briefly known. A few people reported seeing or hearing a deer. My personal favorite sound was a large tree branch creaking as it swayed in the wind. As we approached the Des Plaines River we heard water rushing over rocks and ducks splashing and quacking. We took a different trail back and found a large group of small birds chattering near one of the park buildings. More people had arrived during the walk and the audience for the performance was around 50 people. Chicago Phonography was joined by members of Chicago Wildsounds from De Paul University for a performance in which each participant independently played recordings of environmental sounds ranging from birds, animals, weather, and water to urban, industrial and domestic. Following the performance many members of the audience stayed to ask questions and share observations. A good time and good listening for all.”

Chicago Wildsounds member, Lisa Kenny, had an expansive and restorative experience. “I expected a smaller and more intimate group, but I was greeted with a much bigger crowd; the intimacy, however, was still present. It really reminded me of not only how important and informative the work and effort MSAE and CWS put forth, but also how cherished the element of sound is, no matter who is listening.”

MSAE member Roni Jachowski, also of Chicago Wildsounds, reported that “experiencing a place through its unique sound is a reality that connects us to nature and each other. During our soundwalk with MSAE and the World Listening Project at Brushwood Forest Preserve, I was actively connected to my community and my environment through the simple acts of walking quietly and listening purposefully.”

Members of Chicago Phonography and Midwest Society for Acoustic Ecology, left to right, Chad Clark, Dan Godston, Ed Herrmann, Eric Leonardson, Monica Ryan, and Todd Carter.

“Thanks to everyone who came to our soundwalk on Sunday. We had an unexpectedly large crowd! We also want to thank Midwest Society for Acoustic Ecology, World Listening Project, Chicago Phonography and Borderbend Arts Collective for helping organize and perform.”—Brushwood Center

On January 19, Barbara Brotman’s weekly column in the Chicago Tribune was titled, “Sound experts make art of the noise all around us.” Featuring an interview and online video of Eric Leonardson discussing soundscapes and phonography, her article vastly increased our media outreach and helped attract a larger than average public.

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Chicago Wildsounds Presents “Rooted in Sound: A Night of Soundscapes” – Thursday, March 5

Rooted in Sound - fb

Chicago Wildsounds presents “Rooted in Sound: A Night of Soundscapes”

5:30pm Thursday, March 5

DePaul Art Museum

935 W Fullerton
Chicago, IL 60614

Chicago Wildsounds writes:

We will be combining a lecture by Dr. Bryan Pijanowski, one of today’s leading acoustic ecologists, and sound performances by Zach Moore and Owen Davis.Dr. Bryan Pijanowski is the Director and Professor of the Human-Environment Modeling and Analysis Laboratory (HEMA) in the Department of Forestry and Natural Resources at Purdue University. His lab combines ecology, engineering, social science and the arts to its research which is the inspiration behind Chicago Wildsounds. Dr. Pijanowski has traveled to some of the world’s wildest places to record, study and conserve their sounds. In this lecture, Dr. Pijanowski will describe his work in the field of acoustic ecology, human-environment modeling and the unique places it has taken him.

Zach Moore and Owen Davis are both composition students in the School of Music at DePaul University. Moore and Davis have incorporated CWS field recordings into original works to be premiered at the event. In addition to their compositions, there will be a sound improv session to bring the night to a close.

This will also be a great opportunity to check out the collaborative sound installation between CWS and artists Dolores Wilbur and Victoria Deloria, along with the other environmental related art exhibited in “Rooted in Soil”.

This is a lecture and performance you will not want to miss!



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2014 Year-in-Review

MSAE 2014 year-in-review, plus what’s ahead in 2015.

We hope this New Year has started off well as we take time to reflect and take note of our activities and prospects. Happily, the MSAE had an extremely productive 2014. Highlights of the year and into 2015 include:

  • Eric Leonardson led a soundwalk and Chicago Phonography performance at Brushwood Center in Ryerson Woods on January 25, 2015. Performers included Todd Carter, Chad Clark, Ed Herrmann, Monica Ryan, and Chicago Wildsounds members Roni Jachowski, Matt Connor, and Lisa Kenny. Nearly 60 people participated in the soundwalk including many Ragdale artists-in-residence. Chicago Tribune columnist Barbara Brotman published an interview with Leonardson about the event on Monday, January 19. Nearly 60 people participated in the event.10620420_10153058263222002_6015118064643793497_o
  • Chicago Wildsounds is new and exciting acoustic ecology student group at DePaul University. We look forward to their upcoming public event “Rooted in Sound: A Night of Soundscapes,” at 5:30pm on Thursday, March 5, 2015 at the DePaul Art Museum. Please visit our website for details.
  • The American Society for Acoustic Ecology (ASAE) will lead a pre-conference Acoustic Ecology Recording Workshop for Balance-Unbalance 2015: Water, Climate and Place, Reimagining Environments. In the conference Eric Leonardson and Andrea Polli will lead a panel entitled Eco-sensing in Higher Education Curriculum. Panel Participants are Linda Keane (The School of the Art Institute of Chicago), Leah Barclay (UNESCO Biosphere Soundscapes project), Christopher Preissing (Independent Artist), Lindsay French (The School of the Art Institute of Chicago), Meredith Hoy (Arizona State University), Leonardson and Polli. Leonardson will also present his paper, Our Sonic Playground: A Model for Active Engagement in Urban Soundscapes.

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Awards Anounced for Mixage Fou 80-Second Sound Competition – Saturday, January 24

flyer_RECMSAE C0-Chairs and US Coordinators of the Mixage Fou 80-Second Sound Competition, Eric Leonardson and Christopher Preissing, announced the winners of its 6th edition on Saturday, January 24, 2015, during Festival •REC at Gaîté Lyrique, Paris.

About Mixage Fou: Literally translated as “Crazy Mix” this annual event invites participants from France and elsewhere to propose a new genre of “crazy” audio creation. Because here everything is permitted, we can at will transform the initial sounds, take only a few, create a narrative, painting a soundscape design, or an unlikely instrument … For the 6th edition, Mixage Fou assembled a sound bank of outstanding recordings created in partnership with the Midwest Society for Acoustic Ecology in the American Midwest and its representatives in Chicago, Eric Leonardson and Christopher Preissing. Mixage Fou happens in partnership with with Phonurgia Nova, France Culture, and La Seminae du Son.

The first place winner is Bilel Aroua, a 30-year-old sound designer from Hammamet, Tunisia. Listen to his mix and the other submissions at

Watch the January 24, 2015 award presentation recorded live at festival •REC at Gaîté Lyrique.

Artists: Julien Belon, Roland Cahen, Collective Sound Checks, One Life Remains, Vianney Aubé, Haithem Bellil and streaming from Chicago with Eric Leonardson. Presentation by Juliette Laurent and Thierry Dilger.10409390_10155304601670105_4408041767106425415_n ateliers partner


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In The Media: “Sound experts make art of the noise all around us” by Barbara Brotman

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Soundwalk and Performace at Brushwood Center – Sunday, January 25

march thaw image from brushwoodcenter

Listen to the song of the Chickadee while walking in Ryerson Woods

Join us for a soundwalk at the Brushwood Center at Ryerson Woods with a performance by Chicago Phonography.

1-3 p.m. on Sunday, January 25, 2015.


Brushwood Center
21850 N. Riverwoods Rd.
Riverwoods, IL 60015


  • 1 p.m.: We walk through the Brushwood Gallery, listening to the interior soundscape of the Brushwood Center. Then we walk down a trail in the Ryerson Conservation Area, enjoying the winter soundscape. We walk into the Ryerson Woods’ Welcome Center, and then walk back to the Brushwood Center where we have a post-soundwalk discussion with hot chocolate.
  • 2 p.m.: Chicago Phonography performance

This event is free and open to the public, and co-presented with the World Listening Project.

Click here for directions to the Brushwood Center. For more info please email

Listen to past performances by Chicago Phonography on Soundcloud

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Final hours for fundraising to complete In Pursuit of Silence

A fundraising campaign to complete ‘In Pursuit of Silence,’ a film directed by Patrick Shen ends today: Friday, November 7, 2014.

Please see a short video and more details about the project at

Leah Barclay suggested watching this for a better sense of how the director attends to sound

On Facebook:


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2nd competition art! ⋈ climate

Sound Art Miniatures


Red Cross/Red Crescent Climate Centre

Climate and Development Knowledge Network

International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED)

Overseas Development Institute (ODI)

More information:

The proposals should be focused on the following theme:

CATEGORY A: “Sea Level Rise”

CATEGORY B: “Zero poverty. Zero emissions. Within a generation” 

Special opportunity: Even if the final deadline to submit sound miniatures for this contest is February 1st of 2015, among the submissions received by midnight November 16th of 2014 – Buenos Aires time, two pieces (one from each category) will be selected and then announced and shared on December 7, in the context of the upcoming UN Climate Conference (UNFCCC COP, Lima, Peru), during the Development and Climate Days event.

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Mixage Fou Chicago Sound Bank Call for Submissions – Deadline – September 27

Mixage Fou and the Midwest Society for Acoustic Ecology invite you to participate in the
6th Annual Mixage Fou (Crazy Mix) Sound Bank and the 6th annual Mixage Fou International 80 Second Sound Competition.

Mixage FouThis call is in two parts:

Mixage Fou Chicago Sound Bank: Urban Wilderness

What is “wild” about life in the city? How does nature in the city sound? What sounds define a city’s identity? The MSAE invites you to submit original field recordings that reflect and reveal the diverse soundscapes of Chicago and vicinity. Materials submitted to the Sound Bank must be covered by a Creative Commons license as they may be used by participants of the International Sound Competition part of the call (see below). Recordings should be as high quality as possible and suitable for processing as source materials. Deadline for submission is September 27. Download the complete call for additional details.

Mixage Fou International 80-Second Sound Competition

Beginning on October 4 all sounds in the Mixage Fou Sound Bank (sounds from Chicago and from around the world) will be available for the creation of original sound pieces in the following categories: stereo, binaural (headphone 3D sound), surround 5.1, surround Auro 3D 9.1 (height consideration). All creative digital and analog sound techniques are allowed, but only sounds from the Sound Bank may be used. Works may be music compositions, sound narration, soundscapes, crazy mixes, etc. The duration is limited to 80 seconds. Sound compositions should be uploaded directly to The deadline for submission of original sound pieces is November 16. Download the complete call for additional details.

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