SOUND AND ENVIRONMENT
IN ART AND SCIENCE
With Maayan Tsadka
University of Haifa, Israel
We tend to view the world mainly though the use of one main sense - that of our vision. Sound is usually something that has to do either with direct communication or with music. However, the world around us is a rich and dynamic tapestry of acoustic environments. Today, more than ever, sound is finding its way into scientific research and is not something to be left to the artists among us. The use of sound in art is becoming popular with more and more "soundwalks" and "soundscapes" being exhibited worldwide. In science, the topic of acoustic ecology is finding its way into mainstream thought. The health of ecological niches are being assessed by field recordings - how the song of birds changes over time can be used as an indication of deforestation for example. With sonification (making scientific data audible) the boundary between what is art and what is science is being blurred. The course, being offered for the first time beginning November 2019, examines the three pillars of acoustic ecology - the geophony, the biophony and the anthropophony - how each one is expressed in artistic thought and in scientific practice, and where the two disciplines meet and where they diverge. Each pillar will include a field-trip where the students will emerge themselves in the different acoustic environments.
The University of Haifa, Israel, is located in the middle of a nature reserve. As such, it is a unique environment, encompassing plants, animals, geological phenomena and diverse soundscapes. Its proximity to the forest, the city and the seaside, as well as to caves, quarries and streams, makes it the perfect place to study sound and its representations in the natural and urban environments. It holds great potential both for research and creative projects and provides fertile ground for the cooperation between the arts and the sciences.