The soundscapes of the world are changing. How does this affect us as humans?

A concert project about the lost art of listening and the vanishing soundscapes of our world. An artistic project under development...

Sound is more than a consequence of life, it upholds our world

A concert project of free improv, video, active listening, and soundscapes

A soundscape is the combined sonic expression of a specific area created by the lifeforms which inhabit it and the weather which shapes and affects it. Just like a landscape conveys visual information about an area, a soundscape gives us an auditory experience of all lifeforms found in that area, both the once we can see and the once that are hidden from view. But in addition to being the auditory result of an area, a soundscape also contributes in upholding life and the biological diversity of that very area.

We humans treat sound often as either entertainment or as a protective screen against noise, but sound in nature plays a much richer role: in addition to communication, it is also necessary for navigation, for migration, for mating, for hunting, for protection.

In a biotope insects, birds, animals, plants, and other organisms are linked together in complex and mutually dependent relationships. And sound plays a big part in upholding these relationships.
The richer the biodiversity of an area, the more robust and thriving is the biotope, and the more complex is its soundscape. Biological diversity is, in the words of David Attenborough, the life insurance of our planet – a grat variety of species means a wide variety in genes which again allows for better adaptability to change. 

One of the most important reasons why biological diversity is lost today is the destruction of habitats through human activity, pollution, the introduction of foreign species with the intent to increase production through breeding, and climate change.

The loss of our planets´ biodiversity is the silent mass extinction of our time.

 

Our acoustic relationship to our surroundings is more profound than we might think

In the project Vanishing Soundscapes we wish to raise awareness of the alarming loss of biological diversity happening in our world and the effect this has on the world's soundscapes. Sound connects us to our surroundings and plays a vital part in human life as well as in nature.

We are more affected by our sonic surroundings than we know. Because our sense of hearing is intimately linked to our nervous system sound can function both as an auditory trigger of our stress response and as a soothing and healing influence. 

When overwhelmed with the sound pollution of our industrialized world we tend to turn, not towards silence, but towards the soundscapes of nature to find back to balance.

These are the soundscapes which we are now slowly eradicating from our world.

WHO WE ARE

Miriam Hlavaty

Piano/text/artistic idea

The listening Experience

Victoria Johnson

Violin/electric violin/electronics

victoriajohnson.no

 

 

Peter Knudsen

Video artist 

https://peterknudsen.no

Bernt Isak Wærstad

Sound design artist 

https://berntisak.com

 

Victoria Johnson og Bernt Isak Wærstad: An electro-accoustic reinterpretation of Bach´s 2nd violin sonata. Kråkereiret rock club. Moss 2021

Out into this. Mugetuft @-1. Copenhagen (Peter Knudsen)

Previous works

Child for solo cello. A work commissioned for the Akerselva Chamber Music Festival in 2020

How do we choose to value a child today?

As endless potential and an opportunity for new ideas in a world that desperately needs to think in new ways?

Or as a handy symbol to be used as leverage to score political points?

In every child lies gently folded a myriad of butterfly effects; the possibility to see old problems with new eyes, to create a new world. And at the same time: there is nothing more vulnerable than a child in a world that prefers shock value to the slow focus of exploration and tenderness. This composition is based on material from two other works: the Sarabande from J.S. Bachs cello suite nr 5, and That younge Child from a Ceremony of Carols by Benjamin Britten. One was written by a composer who himself lost 10 children. The other is about a child whose birth was forever linked with his death. 

Every child is a focal point where the great possibilities they embody meet with the equally significant risk of loss. An emotional span which in this work is mirrored by great leaps in register, and an attempt to bridge these.

Child for solo cello was commissioned by cellist Marit Johansen for the Akerselva Chamber music festival in 2020

Some relevant blog posts about listening and soundscapes: