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Sustain RBL Radio: Harmonizing Sound and Sustainability

Tune in every 4th Wednesday of the month at 18.00h for new episodes at https://rbl.media/en/programs/sustain

Merging electronic music and sustainability. Explore global electronic soundscapes, beats, and live performances while hearing from artists, researchers, and activists driving positive change. Each episode of Sustain features a curated selection of electronic music from diverse cultures and genres. From pulsating basslines to ethereal melodies, our show celebrates the power of music to unite people while highlighting its connection to sustainable living. Tune in to experience the fusion of digital sounds and environmental consciousness, creating a unique audio landscape.

Episode 3  – Sound is political. Sound is change. 24.01.2024

When we talk about sustainability, what often comes to mind is climate change, CO2 emissions, wind turbines and solar panels. And of course these are important. But also important are questions of justice, power, and politics – who makes decisions? Who wins and who loses in a more sustainable world? And what are the promises and perils of technical solutions? Today I talk through some of these questions with Verónica Mota. Verónica is a Sound Artist, Musician, Writer & Academic Researching Emancipation & Philosophy of Technology. Born in Mexico City and now based in Berlin, they explore sound as a fundamental inherent human experience and works conceptually researching the political and social impact sound art has.

Links and references

Antonio Negri & Michael Hardt: "Empire" (2000).

Octavia E. Butler: "Parabel of the Sower" (1993).

Donna Haraway: "Simians, Cyborgs, and Women : The Reinvention of Nature" (2013).

Chela Sandoval: "Methodology of the Oppressed" (2000).

 

Isaac Asimov - Geschichten aus der Zukunft - Arte HD

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oFKhheiCTKM

 

Veronica Mota music

https://www.instagram.com/777antigona/

https://linktr.ee/veronicamotaberlin

“NIHIL” https://camembertelectrique.bandcamp.com/album/nihil

UTOPIE & WIDERSTAND https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PIgzulaEwa8/

Episode 2 – Can you hear the Earth breathing? 27.12.2023

In the 1950s, Charles Keeling started measuring carbon dioxide concentrations in the atmosphere at the Moana Loa Observatory in Hawaii. These measurements showed for the first time how the planet itself is breathing as forests in the Northern hemisphere grow leaves in the Spring absorbing CO2, then release it back into the atmosphere in the Fall when leaves drop off the trees. In this episode we talk about ‘Can you hear the Earth breathing?’ a composition and performance translates this climate data into sound, that brings to life these sustainability cycles and the natural (and un-natural) systems that lie beneath the production and absorption of carbon dioxide. The performance includes both sonified data representing CO2 concentration along with field recordings, modular synthesizers, samplers, biofeedback pads connected to plants, FX pedals, and looping feedback. We talk with Lisa the data artist on the project as well as Erbse, a movement artist collaborating on the project and discuss data sonification, translating sustainability concepts and data for audiences, creating space for improvisation, decentering the human, and more.

 

Performance videos

First solo performance at ACUD Macht Neu, Berlin School of Sound, Berlin 2022 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KHjAWOhPSDk&ab_channel=aliveBLN

First performance with Erbse at ACUD Macht Neu, Berlin Modular Society, Berlin April 2023 https://youtu.be/Pp9wYbpaQAU

Second performance with Erbse at Liebig12, Berlin with sustain.berlin October 2023 https://youtu.be/r3zS9dDX-Gg?si=C-7zxidcaXmD4WgH

 

Links and references

Lisa Knolle - https://www.instagram.com/lisas_learnings/

Erbse - https://www.instagram.com/ochjoa/

‘Can you hear the Earth breathing?’ background https://www.drusnoise.com/can-you-hear-the-earth-breathing

Sustain.fm research https://www.sustain.fm/research

 

CO2 data used in ‘Can you hear the Earth breathing?’:

C. D. Keeling, S. C. Piper, R. B. Bacastow, M. Wahlen, T. P. Whorf, M. Heimann, and H. A. Meijer, “Exchanges of atmospheric CO2 and 13CO2 with the terrestrial biosphere and oceans from 1978 to 2000”. I. Global aspects, SIO Reference Series, No. 01-06, Scripps Institution of Oceanography, San Diego, 88 pages, 2001

https://keelingcurve.ucsd.edu/

 

More on data sonification

Å, Stjerna, Before Sound: Transversal Processes in Site-Specific Sonic Practice, University of Gothenburg. Faculty of Fine, Applied and Performing Arts, 2018.

Hermann, T., Hunt, A., and Neuhoff, J.G. (2011). The Sonification Handbook. Logos Publishing House, Berlin. Download free PDF at https://sonification.de/handbook/download/TheSonificationHandbook-HermannHuntNeuhoff-2011.pdf

 

Williams, S. (2022). Can you hear the Earth breathing? Translation and disclosure in sound art data sonification in Pauletto, S., Delle Monche, S., and Selfridge, R. 2nd Conference on the Sonification of Health and Environmental Data (SoniHED 2022, pp. 44-48). https://www.dropbox.com/scl/fi/bwgn58sl6iggymksxo41u/Williams_SoniHED.pdf?rlkey=05ragquau26wova3ucn7vzqzy&dl=0

 

Kudos to Tim Wedde who created the py_midicsv library that we used https://github.com/timwedde/py_midicsv

 

New Materialism: https://newmaterialism.eu/almanac/a/agency.html

Alexis Shotwell: Against Purity. Living Ethically in Compromised Times (2016)

Jane Bennett: Vibrant Matter. A political ecology of things (2010)

Further reading:

Petra Kuppers: Eco Soma. Pain and Joy in Speculative Performance Encounters (2022)

Anna Tsing: The Mushroom at the End of the World: On the Possibility of Life in Capitalist Ruins (2015)

Episode 1 – Reimagining the World - 22.11.2023

In this episode we dig into how sound and music can fit together with sustainability transitions – how can we change whole parts of our society to become more sustainable? Earlier this year, I had the chance to compose and perform with some colleagues to open the International Sustainability Transitions conference in Utrecht, Netherlands. I also played a live sustainable techno set at the conference party at De Helling and performed a sound art composition based on turning climate data into sound.  It was quite the week and we had a lot of fun bringing sustainability to life through music in a few different ways.  This episode dives deep into how sound and music can represent, challenge, and inspire new imagination for the future through interviews and excerpts from the live performance.

 

Featuring interviews with, and live performances by, Josephine Chambers and Joost Vervoort from Utrecht University, Noor Noor from the UN Environment Programme World Conservation Monitoring Centre, and Dan Lockton from Eindhoven University of Technology.

 

Links

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