Report, photos, and audio by Christopher Preissing
On Saturday, July 18 (World Listening Day 2015), Dan Godston led a soundwalk at Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore’s Miller Trail. In spite of predictions for extremely hot and humid temperatures, nine hearty listeners braved the heat on what turned out to be a beautiful warm and breezy day.
Starting at the Paul H. Douglas Center for Environmental Education, Dan introduced R. Murray Schafer and his seminal book, Soundscape: Our Sonic Environment and the Tuning of the World, and in keeping with this year’s H2O theme, Rachel Carson’s The Edge of the Sea, and Jerry Dennis’ The Living Great Lakes. National Park Service Ranger Steve Rodriguez hosted the event on behalf of the IDNL, and provided materials with which the soundwalkers created text and visual images based on passages from the books. We have been collaborating with IDNL on programs at the Douglas Center annually since 2010!
To introduce the soundwalk Dan described two types of engagement: the first consisting of active listening, the second including active engagement with the environment. On top of a small dune through which the trail passes, we stopped to make sound by hand with leaves, wood, and the sand at our feet. Following that acoustic interaction with the environment, we walked over the wood bridge that spans the marsh.
Audio recording of the soundwalk:
The “H2O” theme for World Listening Day 2015 drew attention to water as a metaphor and reality; essential for life and now becoming the greatest commodity of the 21st century. At the end of the bridge, Dan had left two containers for pond water and branches with which to make sound and feel the water. In both instances soundwalkers participated joyfully, and reported these interactions as an important component of the experience. “When we were making sounds it felt very childlike, which brought to mind a lot of what kids’ play is just making sound for the joy of making sound.”
Sound walkers described listening without the other senses as “a good way to keep your focus;” that “there’s competition between the senses” as well as “for what you want to listen to;” and that “it was sensory overload.” Some additional comments include: “Cottonwood trees can be very loud.” “It’s very squeaky when you walk.” “I never paid attention but different trees make different sounds. I wondered how the birds and the insects take cues from that and how it affects what they do.” There was also a brief discussion around how our ears and brains actively filter various sounds in the environment, whereas microphones hear everything.
11am Saturday, July 18: Join members of the Midwest Society for Acoustic Ecology celebrating World Listening Day. Dan Godston, MSAE member and co-founder of the World Listening Project, leads a soundwalk starting at the Paul H. Douglas Center for Environmental Education. Tips on listening to the symphony of sounds of nature and humans will be shared. This year’s World Listening Day theme is “H2O.” Water is essential for all life. Without it our soundscapes and life disappear.
This day is open house at the Douglas Center. Following our soundwalk, local artist Marsha Browne will be leading a “Landscapes of Miller Woods” drawing project. You are invited to stay and participate.
The Paul H. Douglas Center for Environmental Education is located in the western portion of the national lakeshore at 100 North Lake Street, about one mile north of U.S. Highway 12. For more information on this or other programs at Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore, call 219-395-1882 or check the park’s website at www.nps.gov/indu.
Save the June-Aug 2015 flyer to learn about this summer’s activities at the Douglas Center in the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore.
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.
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.
Join us for a public soundwalk in Miller Woods for World Listening Day 2014. This year’s theme is “Listen To You!”
Midwest Society for Acoustic Ecology (MSAE) member Monica Ryan will open your senses to the soundscapes of the oak savannah and wetlands marsh in the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore, with its surrounding mix of wildlife habitat and steel industry.
In some places along the walk mosquitoes may be present and abundant. Wearing long sleeves and pants will help avoid bites. This event is free to public and supported by the U.S. National Park Service.
Join us on Saturday, June 16 for a themed hike in the nature preserves of the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore. We are partnering with the United Urban Network, The Field Museum, Chicago Wilderness, and Calumet Stewardship Initiative to lead a family-oriented “soundwalk” in Miller Woods for “Leave No Child Inside” month. Our event helps children of all ages to experience the audible side of nature, the vital and all-encompassing natural soundscape.
Other groups will lead themed hikes starting at 9 AM. These lead up our soundwalk at 2 to 3 PM, the final event of the day. Our soundwalk begins at the Paul H. Douglas Center for Environmental Education, 100 N Lake Street Gary, IN 46403 (map).
Miller Woods is located in the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore.
Commuter train transportation from Chicago and Northern Indiana to Miller Station: www.nictd.com/
MSAE is delighted to be partnering with Dave Aftandilian, ASAE member and Assistant Professor of Anthropology at Texas Christian University and Gavin Van Horn, Regional Director, Center for Humans and Nature . Together, they are collaborating on The City Creatures Project. The City Creatures Project will be embarking on a day of discovery and inspired listening at the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore on Saturday, May 26th. The soundwalk will be part of a writers’ and artists’ retreat, and is intended to help writers and artists themselves think about animals in new ways, by using other senses than sight. Their all-day workshop will be a private event but they have graciously invited the public to attend the sound walk portion from 11:00am-12:15pm that day.
This project is unique in its scope and includes a book and blog about human-animal relations in the city of Chicago. In the description of the project, Dave and Gavin write:
“Cities offer unique and underexplored opportunities for encountering the “wild” in the midst of our backyards. This book builds on the premise that scientific research is necessary but not sufficient to inform and shape public opinion and action in relation to the natural world. People must feel connected in order to develop the skills of attentiveness and caring, and the first step in helping people feel connected is educating them about who’s out there with whom they can be connected. The book’s primary focus will be on urban natural history, as a way of celebrating the city and making its unheralded creatures more visible…”
Eric Leonardson will be leading the walk in Miller Woods on Sat May 26 (public sound walk) 11:00am-12:15pm
Miller Woods, Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore, Paul H. Douglas Center for Environmental Education, 100 N Lake Street Gary, IN 46403 (map)
For those who are traveling to the Paul H. Douglas Center for Environmental Education from Chicago and other places in northern Indiana, the South Shore train is convenient, timely, and affordable. Disembark at Miller Station (map). A 15-minute walk north takes you to the Paul Douglas Center.
The American Society for Acoustic Ecology is pleased to announce:
“Listening for the Future”
July 9th, 10th & 11th, 2010
This is the first ever national gathering of the ASAE membership and the general public hosted by the Midwest Society for Acoustic Ecology and the World Listening Project.Listening for the Future will take place from July 9-11, 2010. We think it’s going to be a fantastic three days, with plenty of information and inspiration to go around, and hope you will join us at this landmark event. Please be sure to register your participation in these events.
Friday, July 9 – Citizen Sound (5-7PM FREE) opens with a wine and cheese reception, introductions to each of the ASAE chapters, and presentations by leaders in Chicago’s cultural and advocacy scene at Columbia College, 33 E. Congress Parkway, basement lobby and room # LL11. Featured keynote speakers are Lou Mallozzi, Executive Director of Experimental Sound Studio and architect Graham Balkany of the Gropius in Chicago Coalition. A media lounge, where guests can sample CDs and peruse publications by participants, performers and ASAE members, will be open all night. Following dinner, we’ll be treated to a concert (8:30-10:30PM – $10) featuring ASAE member composers: Edmund Mooney, Viv Corringham, Andrea Polli, and Eric Leonardson with Michelle Nagai.
Saturday, July 10 – Head “out of town” for an afternoon soundwalk (2-4PM FREE) in Miller Woods, at the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore. After the dunes soundwalk, it’s back to the city for another group dinner (6:30-8:15) followed by a Chicago nightlife soundwalk (8:30-10PM FREE) in Wicker Park. This day’s events should provide plenty of opportunities for informal conversation and networking among members.
Sunday, July 11– ASAE members lead a workshop for children (2-3PM FREE) and families near Gallery 400, on the University of Illinois at Chicago campus. ASAE members from New York, San Francisco, the Midwest, Southwest and beyond will present a concert at Gallery 400, 3:30-5:30PM at 400 S. Peoria Street (MC 034), featuring: Andrea Williams, Chicago Phonography, Andrea Callard, and Jamie Davis. This event will also be streamed live. The evening concludes with a live radio performance on “Something Else” at 10 PM-12AM on WLUW 88.7FM, featuring Eric Leonardson, Michelle Nagai, Andrea Polli, Andrea Williams, Edmund Mooney, Viv Corringham, Jamie Davis, Chicago Phonography, and Andrea Callard.
During the course of these events, the ASAE‘s governing body and leaders from all the regional chapters will be meeting to brainstorm for the future of the organization. We will be soliciting input from you – our members – as we embark on this important work. Please plan to share any ideas, concerns or questions about the organization that you might have.
All events, including both concerts, the ‘Citizen Sound’ symposium, the soundwalks and the workshop are free for ASAE members (current for 2010). All meals are pay-your-own, but we’ll be making advance reservations so will ask you to register. Transportation between venues, including the Dunes soundwalk, will be via public transit. These costs are not covered by the ASAE, but we will plan to meet and travel as a group to the Dunes soundwalk.
The suggested registration fee ($50 standard, $35 for students/seniors/artists) includes membership in the American Society for Acoustic Ecology (ASAE). Though membership is not required for symposium events, we do welcome your participation in future ASAE programs by becoming a member today.
Concert tickets are available at the door thirty minutes before concert time for $10 each (free for members). The soundwalks and workshop are free of charge.
Listening for the Future Organizing Committee:
Eric Leonardson, Chair
Listening for the Future participants in Chicago plan to meet Saturday morning at Millennium Station of the South Shore Line, to travel together as a group to Miller Station.
Vocalo.org 89.5FMis pleased to support the Midwest Society for Acoustic Ecology as a media sponsor for the Indiana Dunes Sound Walk.
A brief presentation by members of the American Society for Acoustic Ecology will be given at the Douglas Center before the soundwalk in Miller Woods. The soundwalk concludes with a discussion for participants.
The Paul H. Douglas Center is approximately a 10 to 15-minute walk from the Miller station on the South Shore Line.
Trains depart from downtown Chicago three times in the morning, arriving in time to attend the soundwalk. (Travel time: approximately 1 hour and 8 minutes.) To view the weekend train schedule between the Millennium Park station, 151 E. Randolph Street, downtown and Miller station visit http://www.nictd.com