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Summer Soundwalk Series: Eric Leonardson and Negin Almassi

September 14 @ 6:30 pm - 7:30 pm

Join MSAE and Eric Leonardson for “Hear Here: Singing Insects Soundwalk” at West Ridge Nature Preserve.

The Singing Insects Monitoring Program is a community science effort to familiarize people with common sounds of singing insects in the Chicago region, including grasshoppers, cicadas, katydids, and crickets. Building on Dr. Carl Strang’s work documenting the many species within these four types across 22 counties, the purpose of the project is to collect local baseline data and help people keep their ears perked for unusual and common insect calls each summer. Data collected is publicly available to anyone who wishes to use it, and walks are conducted informally site by site. Key to this is listening. To enjoy and to learn how to identify these insects by their “songs,” Eric Leonardson prepares us for a soundwalk through engaging “Ear Cleaning” exercises with directions from naturalist Negin Almassi.

Eric Leonardson, a Chicago-based audio artist, is co-founder and President of the Midwest Society for Acoustic Ecology and Vice-President of the World Forum for Acoustic Ecology. He is a Professor Adjunct in Art and Technology/Sound Practices at SAIC. As a performer, composer, sound designer, and inventor, he performs internationally and promotes acoustic ecology, connecting communities through sound, listening, and the environment.

Negin Almassi, a local naturalist, teaches people how to identify insects by their song for the Singing Insects Monitoring Program, a community science effort involves recording songs of insects. She serves as the Resource Management Training Specialist for the Forest Preserves of Cook County. Negin also plays kamancheh, a spiked fiddle originating from Southwest Asia, in University of Chicago’s Middle East Music Ensemble.

In partnership with Night Out In The Parks and the Chicago Park District, our program consists of a series of guided soundwalks, workshops and training sessions that engage multi-generational communities in their own neighborhoods. Participants will listen to and for cultural and natural features of the landscape. Rivers, streets, residential and commercial dwellings, traffic patterns, human and animal sounds all feature in these soundscapes. Are plants tuning in, contributing, or responding to all this sound? How do we listen culturally, collaboratively, and more carefully?


September 14
6:30 pm - 7:30 pm