Positive Sound Design in Urban Soundscapes – Chicago Tribune

This week, Chicago Tribune Architecture Critic, Blair Kamin and I had a good chat about the positive role of sound in the design and experience of urban spaces. While noise problems at O’Hare Airport and Wrigley Field gain attention, we focused ways that sound reduces stress and enhance. Instead of the negative role, I mentioned specific examples of places in Chicago where I, and other MSAE members, have led soundwalks within Millennium Park.

Blair Kamin wrote, “Sound can alleviate, as well as accentuate, stress. It can delight us as well as drive us crazy. Sound should be a part of the recipe for cooking up great cities. Yet concocting that recipe is as much art as science.”

Read Kamin’s article “Soundscape of the city is about more than decibels.”

Lurie Garden in Millennium Park
The Lurie Garden in Chicago’s Millennium Park has hedges that block street noise and allow for sounds of nature to be heard inside it. (Chris Walker / Chicago Tribune)

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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2011 Sound Art Theories Symposium at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago

Saturday & Sunday, November 5 & 6

Sponsored by the SAIC Sound department, the symposium brings together 14 scholars from the United States, Canada, and Europe engaging a wide range of topics, disciplines, and attitudes brought to bear on sound as art and art as sound.

School of the Art Institute of Chicago
280 South Columbus Drive
Chicago, IL 60603

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