Thursday, August 22, 2013

35th meeting, Wednesday, August 28th, 2013

MoKS presents:
Wednesday, August 28th
Eesti Rahva Muuseum, Tartu

July 18th, 2013 was recognised as the 4th annual World Listening Day, a global project co-organised  by the World Listening Project (WLP) and the Midwest Society for Acoustic Ecology (MSAE). The purposes of World Listening Day (as stated on the WLP website) are:

  • to celebrate the practice of listening as it relates to the world around us, environmental awareness, and acoustic ecology;
  • to raise awareness about issues related to the World Soundscape Project, World Forum for Acoustic Ecology, World Listening Project, and individual and group efforts to creatively explore phonography;
  • and to design and implement educational initiatives which explore these concepts and practices.
July 18 was chosen as the date because it is the birthday of the Canadian composer R. Murray Schafer, who celebrated his 80th birthday this year. Schafer is one of the founders of the Acoustic Ecology movement; the World Soundscape Project, which Schafer founded in 1971, is an important organization which has inspired a lot of activity in this field. The culmination of the World Soundscape Project’s pioneering research into the sound environment is described in his seminal book, The Tuning of the World. Published in 1977, it gained international attention and defined many new terms and concepts in sound and ecology popularly used to this day.

For this month's helikoosolek, we will be exploring a selection of the exercises in one of Shafer's later publications, 1991's A Sound Education: 100 Exercises in Listening and Sound-Making. An extract from the book's introduction:
The subject we are concerned with is sound, and the task is to suggest ways teachers might help students listen more effectively. [...] Obviously we listen in different ways to different things, and there is much evidence to suggest that not only individuals but societies listen differently. For instance, there is a difference between what we might call focused listening and peripheral listening. Why do we focus on certain sounds and merely overhear others? Are some sounds discriminated against culturally so that they are not heard at all? [...]  Are some sounds filtered out or rendered inconspicuous by others? And how does the changing acoustic environment affect the kinds of sounds we choose to listen to or ignore? [...]  I believe that the way to improve the world's soundscape is quite simple. we must learn how to listen. it seems to be a habit we have forgotten. we must sensitize the ear to the miraculous world of sound around us. [...]  How could I put all this in the most cogent manner for teachers and individuals who might be interested in such a program? I decided the simplest form would be the best: a collection of exercises - I would call them Ear Cleaning Exercises. [...]  I have gathered them loosely so that those at the beginning are concerned with aural perception and imagination, while those in the middle deal with the making of sounds, and those at the end deal with sound in society. [...] Take them: they're yours.

R Murray Shafer
Indian River, August 1991.
We will explore these exercises in or around our usual base at ERM. Please come prepared to spend some time outdoors, and bring pens/pencils and paper. An initial selection of the exercises in the book will be made, but participants are also very welcome (and encouraged) to suggest their own choices if they have access to the book.

helikoosolek:tartu is a regular gathering for the exploration of sound in all forms.  The meetings comprise presentations, concerts, workshops, discussions, and field trips pertaining to sound and its consideration in art, music, architecture, ecology, philosophy, social and cultural interaction, and any other context that presents itself. Participants are encouraged to propose activities or discussions on topics of their interest, or to present projects of their own for feedback.  Sessions take place on the last Wednesday of each month, from 6-8pm at the Eesti Rahva Muuseum.

helikoosolek:tartu is organised by MoKS and supported by Eesti Rahva Muuseum, Tartu Linnavalitsus, and Eesti Kultuurkapital.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

33rd meeting report

photo by jaak kikas

a little late coming, but we're finally getting around to posting a recording from may's helikoosolek, which featured an extended group improvisation using old radios. we think it sounds great, and we though you might like to hear it.

34th meeting report

many thanks to all who came out to the 34th meeting of helikoosolek:tartu, where we explored field recording without technology. it was a rainy evening, so we sought a location with some cover, and choose the newly-renovated tartu train station. we only managed to snatcha  few minutes in the waiting area before they closed for the evening, but the covered train platforms provided the perfect environment (loud with the falling rain on metal roofing) for the rest of our meeting.

our outcome included drawing, writing, and paper-folding, all inspired and in response too the immediate sonic environment. here is a selection of what was produced. a few more contributions should be coming soon.

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