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Posts Tagged ‘Music made by Plants’

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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The May 2012 issue of The Wire Magazine #339 features a chart compiled by Zepelim. To celebrate the Springtime, a chart of “Music to Grow Plants”.  This chart is the sum of sounds presented in Zepelim’s forthcoming episode dedicated to our connection to plants through bioelectronic punctuations of energy as well as in a more mystical/pseudo-scientific way.  The tracklist is composed of music made by codification of plant DNA, talking to plants, bioelectronic sensorial music, field recordings with contact mics, solar powered music, plant comunication and music inspired by plants.

 Music to Grow Plants By 15

Molly Roth
Plant Talk/Sound Advice (Plant Talk Productions)

Michael Prime
One Hour As Peyote (Mycophile Records)

Mileece
Fern Formations (Lo Recordings)

Mamoru Fujieda
Patterns of Plants (Tzadik)

Jeph Jerman
Contact mics affixed to plants in the rain connected to amps inside studio (AARC)

Miya Masaoka
Improv21: Plants Make Music! (via RadiOM.org)

Lily Greenham
Lingual Music (Paradigm Discs)

Michael Theroux
Plant Tones: Music From The World Of Plants
(Borderland Sciences Research Foundation)

Quayola/Mira Calix/Oliver Coates
Natures (via quayola.com)

Craig Colorusso
Sun Boxes (Paper Garden Records)

Mort Garson
Mother Earth’s Plantasia (Homewood Records)

Dr. Linda Long
Music of the Plants (Molecular Music)

Edward Williams
The Sex Life Of The Fern – Spores, Fertilization And Growth – Pine Cones And The Petrified Forest
(Trunk Records)

Rudy Vallée and His Connecticut Yankees                                                                                                                                            Orchids In The Moonlight (Victor)

Christian Marclay
Pandora’s Box (Atavistic)

In Search Of Other Voices

Carlo Patrão

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