Listening After Nature: Field Recording, Ecology, Critical Practice – Book Launch
By Mark Peter Wright
16 June 2022, 18:00 – 20:00 BST, Online
Part of CRiSAP’s Un-Earthed Festival of listening and environment
To celebrate the launch of Mark Peter Wright‘s new publication ‘Listening After Nature‘ we are pleased to present an evening of readings, responses and discussion exploring the themes of the book and its core questions.
Invited respondents Rui Chaves and Salomé Voegelin will each reflect on the chapters of the book: Recoding the Field; Constructing Nature; Stretching Site and Following the Flow. The event will be introduced by CRiSAP Director Cathy Lane and a panel discussion will follow. The book can be purchased at a discounted price on the evening of the event.
“… the book holds open the question of “what is field recording”, asking what is not heard as much as what is, and providing playful and serious possibilities for “listening-with” practices adequate to a time of climate change and mass extinction.” – Marina Peterson, Associate Professor of Anthropology, University of Texas at Austin.
” … In the sonic contact zones of shrimps and stars, foley and documentary, signal and voice, this book shows us how listening is a position of power, and equally, of immense responsibility...” Sasha Englemann, Lecturer in GeoHumaities, Royal Holloway University of London
Listening After Nature examines the constructions and erasures that haunt field recording practice and discourse. Analyzing archival and contemporary soundworks through a combination of post-colonial, ecological and sound studies scholarship, Mark Peter Wright recodes the Field; troubles conceptions of Nature; expands site-specificity; and unearths hidden technocultures. What exists beyond the signal? How is agency performed and negotiated between humans and nonhumans? What exactly is a field recording and what are its pedagogical potentials?
These questions are operated by a methodology of listening that incorporates the spaces of audition, as well as Wright’s own practice-based reflections. In doing so, Listening After Nature posits a range of novel interventions. One example is the “Noisy-Nonself,” a conceptual figuration with which to comprehend the presence of reticent recordists. “Contact Zones and Elsewhere Fields” offers another unique contribution by reimagining the relationship between the field and studio. In the final chapter, Wright explores the microphone by tracing its critical and creative connections to natural resource extraction and contemporary practice.
Listening After Nature auditions water and waste, infrastructures and animals, technologies and recordists, data and stars. It grapples with the thresholds of sensory perception and anchors itself to the question: what am I not hearing? In doing so, it challenges Western universalisms that code the field whilst offering vibrant practice-based possibilities.
Mark Peter Wright
CRiSAP Member Mark Peter Wright is an artist-researcher working at the intersection of sound, ecology and contemporary art. His practice investigates relations of capture and mediation between humans and nonhumans, sites and technologies, observers and subjects. Ongoing questions include how does environmental sound convey complex geopolitical meaning? How can technology and media be practiced with an eco-critical sensitivity and how might listening operate beyond the human?
As an associate lecturer on the BA and MA Sound Arts courses he has significant experience in designing and leading teaching via lectures, workshops and seminars. He is interested in stress testing listening as a critical, imaginative and interpretive methodology, both in and out of the field; how it can become an operative mode of meaning-making and knowledge production. He supervises projects across all levels of teaching and learning, including undergraduate, postgraduate and doctoral degrees. He has delivered extensive public events and workshops for organizations and institutes in the UK and abroad. Public conference speaking experience includes presenting research papers at Harvard University (USA), University of Copenhagen (DK), Critical Media Lab (CH), University of Stavanger (NO) and Wellcome Collection (UK). Peer reviewed articles include writing for Interference Journal, Leonardo Music Journal, Evental Aesthetics Journal, Sensate Journal and the Journal of Sonic Studies.
As a practitioner he has exhibited and performed widely in solo and group exhibitions at IMT Gallery, Platform A, MIMA, New York Public Library, The Showroom, Museum of Contemporary Art Rome, Café Oto, Catalyst Arts, GV Art, Royal Academy of the Arts, TATE and Trinity House Square Dublin. In addition to his own practice-based research Wright collaborates extensively. With Helena Hunter he works under the name Matterlurgy, combining art, science and technology projects across exhibitions, performance and experimental co-labs. With Prof. Salomé Voegelin he co-convenes Points of Listening, a series of public events exploring listening and sound-making as a collaborative and artful form of pedagogy. With Prof. Angus Carlyle he works on projects and performances that explore the relations of listening and recording, nature and aesthetics, site and studio.
Rui Chaves (Santiago do Cacém, 1983) is a sound artist and performer. Rui did his undergrad studies in Som e Imagem at the Escola Superior de Artes e Design Caldas da Rainha, and had a formative experience in a dance organisation called c-e-m: centro em movimento. He received a scholarship from Fundação Calouste Gulbenkian to undertake a Master in Sonic Arts.
In October 2013, he finished a PhD at the SARC (Queen’s University Belfast) with funding from Fundação Ciência e Tecnologia. This practice-based research explored a “relational” and “post-medium” approach, through a practice inspired by different forms of contemporary performance. This praxis foregrounds a discussion of presence — both physical and authorial — in the process of making sound art: an endeavour that is informed by a contemporary critical inquiry and exploration of the thematics of body, place, text and technology. This conceptual framework reflects an on-going interdisciplinary sound based artistic practice: site-specific interventions; video art; mixed-media installation; and community art projects. Currently, he focuses on the development of a postcolonial historiography that describes contemporary sound practices produced in the Global South . Between 2015-2018, he was a postdoctoral researcher at NuSom: Research Centre on Sonology (University of São Paulo), having developed an online art archive of Brazilian sound Art (www.nendu.net).
CRiSAP Member Salomé Voegelin is an artist, writer and researcher engaged in listening as a socio-political practice of sound. Her work and writing deal with sound, the world sound makes: its aesthetic, social and political realities that are hidden by the persuasiveness of a visual point of view. She is the author of Listening to Noise and Silence (2010), Sonic Possible Worlds (2014), and The Political Possibility of Sound (2018). All three books, published by Bloomsbury, develop a critical listening to sound art and the everyday acoustic environment via phenomenology and possible world theory, and articulate the social and political agency of sound. Together with Thomas Gardner she edited Colloquium: Sound Art – Music, (ZeroBooks, 2016). This volume of essays, texts, interviews and conversation explores the relationship between music and sound art, its current performance and historical language.
Voegelin’s work brings the philosophy of sound to a participatory engagement: She co-convenes Points of Listening with Mark Peter Wright. This series of monthly events runs since 2014 and engages in collective listening and communal sound making. Her textual phonography blog www.soundwords.tumblr.com is the template for a participatory and public listening, writing and score making and has been practiced for example at Around Sound Art Hong Kong 2013, at Liquid Architecture Melbourne, 2014, Sound Reason IV Delhi 2016, for the Connecting Columns 1 – 10 March 2017 Srishti Outpost at Mill Hall – Collateral Venue, Kochi-Muziris Biennale, and most recently at Alberta University, Edmonton, Canada, 2018.
As an artist Voegelin works collaboratively with David Mollin, Mollin+Voegelin, in a practice that engages words, things and sound and focusses on invisible connections, transient behaviour and unseen rituals. Most recently two new installations were shown at La Tabacalera Gallery in Madrid, Spain as part of FASE 6 and currently they are working on a site specific Art and Architecture commission in Bern, Switzerland.
Voegelin is a Professor of Sound at London College of Communication (University of the Arts London, UK). She is the PI of the AHRC (Arts and Humanities Research Council) funded project Listening across Disciplines, which seeks to establish listening as a reliable and legitimate methodology across the arts and humanities, science, social science and technology.
Un-Earthed, a festival of listening and environment, is a critical celebration of our relationships with the environments that we share with other people and other species. Read more.
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