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Harvard University Ex-centric Music Studies Conference

Next February 2nd, I’ll be doing a presentation entitled “Botanical Rhythms: A field guide to plant music” at the conference Ex-centric Music Studies at Harvard University. This presentation is included in the panel “Relocating research: the core of practice” chaired by Vijay Iyer. The conference will explore subjects, methods, and modes of presentation that have been deemed ‘peripheral’ to music studies, and aims to offer participants an opportunity to present projects that might exceed the bounds of academic convention.

Friday, February 2 at 7:00 PM – 9:00 PM EST
Holden Chapel, Harvard Yard, Cambridge (MA)

 

Botanical Rhythms: A field guide to plant music

ABSTRACT – Plants are the most abundant life form visible to us. Despite their ubiquitous presence, most of the time, we still fail to notice them. The botanists Wandersee and Schussler call it plant blindness, an extremely prevalent condition characterized by the inability to see or notice the plants in one’s own environment. Molly Roth And JimOur bias towards animals, or zoochauvinism, has been shown to have negative implications on funding towards plant conservation. Authors argue that artistic practices that engage plants in a sensorial and meaningful way can potentially generate emotional responses and concern towards plant life. This presentation reviews musical and sound art practices that incorporate plants and discusses the ethics of plant life as a performative participant. Starting in the early 70s, Music to Grow Plants By became a small footnote in the history of recorded music. However, it showed how the veiled nature of plants became attached to personal narratives, tastes and social values. In parallel, avant-garde movements interested in amplifying the noises of everyday life started to appropriate the sounding materiality of plants through contact microphones. John Cage’s amplified cactus became an icon of indeterminacy music. Plant-based generative music attempts to take a step forward into the inner life of plants by translating their biological activity.

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Creative chains linking plants, technology, music and touch can be found in site-specific installations and performances by artists like Mileece, Miya Masaoka, Michael Prime, Leslie Garcia and the collective Data Garden.

The recent blooming of plant bioacoustics studies and acoustic ecology have inspired artists to sonically explore plant matter combining artistic and scientific points of view. In the midst of a strong movement to revitalize the role of plants in the field of humanities, concerns related to plants ethics and performance with plants are being debated. The sonification and acoustic amplification of plant life evoke both a sense of connection and the realization of an ontological fracture. However, the act of listening to plant life can be an act of acknowledgment, a possibility for emotional identification and empathy, rendering plant life visible.

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Harvard Graduate Music Conference
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Megapolis Audio Festival 2017 Poster Detail

This year’s edition of Megapolis Audio Festival will be held on the weekend of September 16th and 17th as part of Philadelphia’s Fringe Festival. Megapolis is dedicated to sound art, featuring works and performances from musicians, filmmakers, educators, urban planners, scientists, and radio producers.

Carlo Patrao - Misophonia, Megapolis Audio Festival

Zepelim’s radio piece about Misophonia will be played at PhillyCam, alongside other digital works. Radio will be one of the main focuses of the festival with discussions about radio art with Joan Schuman from Earlid, the politics of storytelling with Karen Werner, live performances from Radio Wonderland, and radio in translation with Eleanor McDowall’s Radio Atlas.

Description:
Portuguese radio artist Carlo Patrao tackles the recently discovered and little understood chronic condition known as Misophonia. The condition is characterized by highly negative emotional responses to auditory triggers like chewing, breathing, sniffling, coughing, or slurping. This radio collage explores and utilizes this range of intrusive bodily sounds and discourse around it, while transforming those very sounds into music and performance art.

 

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On August 19th to August 20th, KCRWs Independent Producer Project kicked off its 5th edition of the 24-hour radio race. Radio producers from all over the world had one day to write, record, and edit a nonfiction radio story. We produced a story about Coney Island’s iconic landmark The Wonder Wheel and the journey of its owner Deno D. Vourderis, a Greek immigrant who bought and restored the ferris wheel in the early 80s. This piece is narrated by his grandson Deno John Vourderis, who continues the family tradition of maintaining and running the wheel with his father and brother. This story was made possible with the help of Amanda Deutch from Coney Island History Project, a non-profit organization dedicated to record, archive, and celebrate the oral history of Coney Island.

 

The only thing about America that interests me is Coney Island.
Sigmund Freud

Credits:
Produced by Carlo Patrão and Erica Buettner
Music by Dana Boulé.
Thanks to Deno John Vourderis and Amanda Deutch

 

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Kay Kyser And His Orchestra ‎– Dreamland (1947)

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The September edition of The Wire magazine (issue 403) features the chart “15 For The Log Lady“, inspired by the Twin Peaks Log Lady character portrayed by Catherine E. Coulson. This tracklist is made up of musical compositions that use logs, wood, timber, and trees as a primary source of sound.

15 For The Log Lady

Kate Carr – The creaking door of the abandoned concrete factory, Ólafsfjörður, Iceland (Helen Scarsdale Agency)

Anton Mobin – Floating Wood  (Green Field)

Bartholomäus Traubeck – Years (Bandcamp)

Limpe Fuchs – Holztrauer  (Play Loud!)

Jay-Dea Lopez – One tree in a forest: A field recording (soundslikenoise.org)

Junko & Thomas Tilly – Wild Protest N 48 54.339´/e 005 23.224´ (Vent Des Forêts)

Peter Brötzmann & Han Bennink – Aufen Nr. 4  (FMP)

Owl Project – Iloger (Soundcloud)

Bob Verschueren – Sequoia (Sequoia sempervirens) (Fuga Libera)

Laurie Anderson – Handphone table. Remembering Sound (MOMA)

Hazard – The Logfires (Ash International)

Greg Davis & Jeph Jerman – Matinee, New Plymouth (Autumn)

Wilmot MacDonald – The Lumberman’s Aphabet  (Smithsonian Folkways)

Annea Lockwood – Buoyant (Recital)

Mladen Kovacevic – Anplagd (Horopter Film Production)

 

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