Leah Barclay | Sonic Environments 2016
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Sonic Environments 2016

15 Jul Sonic Environments 2016

In July 2016, the Australasian Computer Music Association joined forces with the Australian Forum for Acoustic Ecology and NIME 2016 (New Interfaces for Musical Expression) to host an interdisciplinary conference at the Queensland Conservatorium on the theme of Sonic Environments. Leah Barclay is the co-chair of the conference and curator of the installation and concert programs.

Drawing inspiration from contemporary acoustic ecology, Sonic Environments invited composers, performers, academics, field recordists, acoustic ecologists and technologists to present research and creative works exploring the ecological, social and cultural contexts of our sonic environments. This conference aims to expand our current understandings of acoustic ecology and the role of sound and technology in understanding rapidly changing environments across the world. The conference theme encourages interdisciplinary perspectives on sound and aims to explore the possibilities of emerging technologies ranging from augmented reality sound walks and generative ecological compositions to networked performance connecting communities and immersive sound in virtual reality.

The program featured over 100 artists and presenters showcasing new work from Australia, New Zealand, Europe, USA, Mexico, Brazil, Japan, South Korea and Vanuatu. Sonic Environments opened with a dynamic keynote panel on July 10 featuring international leaders in the field who will each presented short provocations on the conference theme. Panelists included Sabine Breitsameter (Germany), Sabine Feisst (USA), Stephan Moore (USA), Andrew Skeoch (Australia), Vanessa Tomlinson (Australia) and Ian Whalley (New Zealand).

In addition to three streams of paper presentations, the program featured immersive performances, interactive installations and augmented reality sound walks exploring South Bank Parklands. The Queensland Conservatorium Research Centre hosted a featured installation program including virtual reality experiences freediving with whales and exploring the sounds of Southwest Deserts of North America. The performance program included several world premieres by Australian composers in addition to featuring some of the most innovative art-science collaborations currently happening in Australia. The opening concert will featured David Burraston from The WIRED Lab performing a live mix of ‘Rainwire’ – an interdisciplinary project that encompasses the investigation of rainfall and its application as a medium for artistic, cultural and scientific exchange.

Throughout the Conservatorium you could find installations including “XIRMINJA NAHPY BERRY” – an immersion into the sonic environments of flooded tropical rainforests in the Brazilian Central Amazon region by Pablo Sanz, a Spanish-born artist, composer and sound recordist. Other featured events included two book launches, Sonic Rupture: a practice-led approach to urban soundscape design’ by Jordan Lacey and Environmental Sound Artists, an incisive and imaginative look at the international environmental sound art movement published by Oxford University Press and featuring QCRC members.

For a taste of Sonic Environments, explore this playlist released by Making Waves that has been curated to coincide with the theme of our conference.

Follow Sonic Environments on Twitter and Facebook for updates during the event and future interdisciplinary research in acoustic ecology at sonic art at the Queensland Conservatorium. Visit www.sonicenvironments.org for further information. 

Sonic environments