exploring the role of sound in natural and cultural environments

Tag: Lindsey French

Night Out in the Parks Programming & Summer Soundwalks

Night Out in the Parks Programming & Summer Soundwalks

This summer we had an array of thematic soundwalks led by our wonderfully talented team of teaching artists. All soundwalks were supported by fellow NOITP program, Inferno Mobile Recording Studio.

Balance-Unbalance 2017

Balance-Unbalance 2017

As part of Balance-Unbalance 2017, MSAE founder and co-chair, Eric Leonardson led “The Advances In Eco-Sensing and the Soundscape: A Virtual Panel” discussion. The panel was made up of Linda Keane, Norman Long, Amanda Gutierrez, Lindsey French and Leah Barclay. Advances In Eco-Sensing and the […]

“Tangles and Flows: Connective Listening” Soundwalk with Lindsey French, Sunday, August 6

“Tangles and Flows: Connective Listening” Soundwalk with Lindsey French, Sunday, August 6

The Midwest Society for Acoustic Ecology presents Soundwalks – quiet events leading groups to explore their relationship as listeners in the acoustic environment. This soundwalk, “Tangles and Flows: Connective Listening” will be led by teaching artist, Lindsey French.

About the soundwalk:
You cannot move except to grow. With some exceptions, plants are immobile. As mostly sessile beings, plants nevertheless actively express themselves through growth and position, whether or not we detect these changes through human perception. Plants send promiscuous signs into the atmosphere by way of airborne chemicals. Communication often focuses on the sender, but what is possible when we consider our role as a receiver? What kind of communication is sense-based? Drawing on biological modes of communication, visitors will be invited to engage in practices of active and sensual listening. Alternating between motion and stillness, along the river and under a canopy of trees, we will attune to both sounds and sensation in practices of radical receptivity.

10:30am – 12pm
Ping Tom Memorial Park
1700 S. Wentworth Ave.*
Chicago, IL 60616

*Meet at the Pagoda located at the Chinatown Water Taxi stop. From 18th street, Turn south onto Wentworth and west onto 19th. Walk along the path from 19th under the El and past the Divvy station. The Pagoda is beside the river.

**Please bring sun protection, water and bug repellent if needed.

Night Out In The Parks 2017 Summer Soundwalk Series

Night Out In The Parks 2017 Summer Soundwalk Series

Discover Chicago’s SUMMER SOUNDSCAPES Break away from your daily routine. Renew your sense of place through mindfulness walks & listening in the parks. Join your neighbors in soundwalks led by faculty and alumni from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago and fellow teaching […]

Chicago ‘Soundwalks’ Ask You To Stop Talking And Listen To Your City  – DNAinfo Chicago

Chicago ‘Soundwalks’ Ask You To Stop Talking And Listen To Your City – DNAinfo Chicago

March 16, 2017: We are pleased to announce  DNAinfo Chicago’s Rogers Park & Edgewater correspondent, Justin Breen posted an article about MSAE founder, Eric Leonardson and our second annual ‘Soundwalks In the Parks Series.’ Breen notes that support of the Chicago Park District’s Night Out […]

MCA recap: Our Sonic Playground

Visitors gathered under the MCA’s Kern Terrace for short introduction to the evening’s activities.

 

At the beginning of the evening, on Tuesday, October 25th, visitors gathered under the Museum of Contemporary Art (MCA)’s Kern Terrace for a short introduction to the program titled Our Sonic Playground. Eric Leonardson spoke elegantly of the relationship, mediated through sound, between living beings and their environment. Folks were encouraged to actively engage through concentrated listening at the pop-up listening stations and among the black faux-marble floors, steel columns, and industrial lighting of the MCA. Paper and pencil were handed out to participants as they deployed themselves around the museum. Trace, gesture and sound patterns were to emerge in a process of multi-perceptual experience. Listening next to the sliced mobiles of Alexander Calder one might have literally drawn a distinction between sound that is omnidirectional and vision that is unidirectional. Emphasized throughout the program were exercises that led listeners to create, share, and connect with each other around content relevant to the core mission of the MSAE while remaining uninhibited to construct their own meaning from experience.

Pop-up listening stations were separated between three levels of the MCA and staged to introduce unconventional entrances into deeper listening. In short these pop-ups were an assembly of small listening systems that included inductors applied in an electromagnetic field, contact microphones submerged in thawing ice, friction mallets spontaneously stricken on smooth MCA surfaces and resonant structures, accelerometers placed on the museum’s signature staircase, and a parabolic reflector collecting and converging sound energy toward the focus of distant sources. Depending on which pop-up, sounds were diffused by either headphones or speakers. Collectively these systems generated a central question that asked how it is we interpret sound phenomena that embody specific places. Leonardson touched on this in his opening address, “Sounds are all around us, creating our environments, our sense of place and influencing our social interactions.”

In the Kanter Room a remote listening station was devised by SAIC faculty member Lindsey French with the input of students enrolled in her Sensing the Landscape course. A hand-drawn map of the city of Chicago was projected onto the wall with different points of light on the map vibrating and distorting according to an audio signal. Each of these points corresponded to live audio signals streaming from domestic interiors. These sounds were played on speakers inside the darkened and semi-isolated Kanter Room. It was transfixing to watch points of light swell and recede according to the amplitude, attack, and familial occupation of sound. Philosopher Jean-Francois Augoyard reasoned in Sonic Experience: A Guide To Everyday Sounds that sound should be understood primarily as temporality. The illuminated expansion and contraction of sound depicted on French’s map seemed to underpin Augoyard’s proposition; pointing further towards the paradox that embodies sound: that which is used to propagate it also extinguishes it. (Time).

Sounds of melting ice, one of the many “pop-up listening stations” by students in Leonardson’s “Field Recording & Phonography” class.

 

Real time animated sound map by students in Lindsey French’s “Sensing the Landscape” class at SAIC.

For the phonography performance at the end of the evening unfamiliar participants brought an array of their own collected field recordings to play back as an ensemble. In the sound ecology formulation, hi-fi soundscape is generally associated with sparse wilderness and rural landscapes and low-fi is often associated with urban and industrial soundscapes. Over the thirty minutes of this improvised performance disparate soundscapes were merged inconceivably, collapsing narrative and leaving only texture in its wake.

By continuing to provide these kinds of participatory programs the MSAE teaches us that sounds are subjective and connote ways of human knowing and best supported through multi-directional content experiences. The MSAE is serving as a “platform” that connects different users who act as content creators, distributors, consumers, critics, and collaborators. While this means the MSAE cannot guarantee the consistency of every participant’s experiences, it does open up new ways for diverse people to express themselves and engage with the institutional practices of acoustic ecology.


SAIC faculty: Lindsey French, Eric Leonardson Listening stations: Laura Campuzano, Nicholas Davis, Devin DiSanto, Guido Gambo, Tom Haigh, Peter LaRue, Neal Markowski, Kyle Nilan Phonography performance: Chad Clark, Dan Godston, Norman Long, Monica Ryan, Jessica Speer