Conscient Podcast: e69 soundwalk in the dark

e69 soundwalk in the dark is a monologue that I recorded on September 29th, 2021, from 4.56am to 5.25am, in one take, while walking around our cottage in Duhamel Québec in the dark. I talk about soundwalking, listening, reconciliation, John Cage, dancing, etc., including quotes from #conscientpodcast season 2: ‘do not listen to this episode’ and e22 westerkamp.  Note: I miscalculated the time that the sun would rise and ended up walking in the dark for the entire time ! Erratum : at minute 22 I say that I almost met John Cage in the ‘early 1980’s’ before he passed away but I meant the ‘early 1990’s’ (Cage passed away in 1992). I was hallucinating in the early morning air!

You’ll hear two excerpts from season 2 of the conscient podcast in this episode:

e22 westerkamp

(Claude Schryer)

I’m interested to know, for instance, around sound walking, you’ve recorded them, and you use them as stimulants or as proposals to people. What, what does that bring the person experiencing it? What is your intention when you create a soundwalk piece, or an electroacoustic composition with soundscapes? What are you hoping will happen in the experience of the listener?

(Hildegard Westerkamp)

I think I would like them to experience what I did. The microphone, when you first experienced listening to what the microphone hears, it’s very different to what the ear hears and when you hear that over your headphones into your own ears, there is a wake-up call there and it’s inspirational. And, when I first began the sound walking radio program here in Vancouver, which is now a long time ago in 79,  I was very interested in letting the microphone guide me through the environment and my own listening to what the microphone was picking up was then leading me through the city that and it was, yes, I had lived in it for 10 years already, but I was still somewhere in immigrant. It empowered me actually to walk into places that I wouldn’t have walked into with just my ears, just a person. So, the technology, and maybe because I am a woman, the technology gave me a sense of empowerment. I would walk into all sorts of spaces and sometimes I was asked what I was doing, and I had to get permission perhaps or not, but, for me, it was a way into the wilderness too. I think I’ve always felt that this wonder at what you hear when you really listen and the surprises that you’re met with, or the surprises that you get from what you’re recording. And because we in daily life, we often preoccupied, and we don’t always listen. The microphone gives you the opportunity to just specialize in listening and sound works without microphones can do the same thing. You have to just have the intent of that. Listening. Having always been a very busy and restless person, the microphone kind of allowed me to settle into that listening. And eventually I really didn’t want the microphone that much anymore because I felt a separation between that very private listening inside the soundscape but see where at the same time cut off from your social environment by doing that. After a while, I wanted to get rid of the microphones and then just really engaged in that listening as if my ears were a microphone…

do not listen to this episode : a special edition episode (published but not identified) 

This is a special edition of the conscient podcast called ‘don’t listen to this episode’. The idea came to me while biking. I thought, what if I stated, over and over, that people need to wake up to the reality of the climate emergency. you know, with my slow conscient podcast voice: ‘people. need. to wake up. to the reality. of the climate emergency.’  But it would be pointless because people already know that they need to wake up to the reality of the climate emergency.  Repeating it, over and over, is actually counterproductive, and boring.  People would probably tune out and all that would be left are these words that have no value whatever. But then I thought, on the other hand, what was it that John Cage once said 

If something is boring after two minutes, try it for four. If still boring, then eight. Then sixteen. Then thirty-two. Eventually one discovers that it is not boring at all. 

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(traduction)

e69 soundwalk in the dark est un monologue que j’ai enregistré le 29 septembre 2021 de 4h56 à 5h25, en une seule prise, alors que je marchais à Duhamel au Québec dans le noir. Je parle de la marche sonore, l’écoute, la réconciliation, John Cage, la danse, etc., y compris des citations de #baladoconscient, saison 2 : ‘do not listen to this episode’ et e22 westerkamp. Note : J’ai mal calculé l’heure à laquelle le soleil se levait et j’ai fini par marcher dans le noir pendant toute la sortie! Erratum : à la minute 22, je dis que j’ai failli rencontrer John Cage au “début des années 1980” peu avant sa mort, mais je voulais dire au “début des années 1990” (Cage est décédé en 1992). J’avais des hallucinations dans l’air matinal !

e22 westerkamp

(Claude Schryer)

Je suis intéressée de savoir, par exemple, autour de la marche sonore, vous les avez enregistrés, et vous les utilisez comme stimulants ou comme propositions aux gens. Qu’est-ce, qu’est-ce que cela apporte à la personne qui en fait l’expérience ? Quelle est votre intention lorsque vous créez une pièce de marche sonore, ou une composition électroacoustique avec des paysages sonores ? Qu’espérez-vous qu’il se produise dans l’expérience de l’auditeur ?

(Hildegard Westerkamp)

Je pense que j’aimerais qu’ils fassent l’expérience de ce que j’ai fait. Le microphone, lorsque vous faites l’expérience d’écouter ce que le microphone entend, c’est très différent de ce que l’oreille entend et lorsque vous entendez cela dans vos écouteurs dans vos propres oreilles, il y a un appel au réveil et c’est inspirant. Et, quand j’ai commencé le programme radio de marche sonore ici à Vancouver, ce qui est maintenant il y a longtemps en 79, j’étais très intéressé à laisser le microphone me guider à travers l’environnement et ma propre écoute de ce que le microphone captait me guidait alors à travers la ville et c’était, oui, j’y avais vécu depuis 10 ans déjà, mais j’étais toujours quelque part dans l’immigration. Cela m’a permis d’entrer dans des endroits où je ne serais pas allé avec mes seules oreilles, avec une seule personne. Donc, la technologie, et peut-être parce que je suis une femme, la technologie m’a donné un sentiment d’autonomie. Je me promenais dans toutes sortes d’espaces et parfois on me demandait ce que je faisais et je devais obtenir la permission ou non, mais pour moi, c’était aussi un moyen d’entrer dans la nature. Je pense que j’ai toujours ressenti cet émerveillement devant ce que l’on entend quand on écoute vraiment et les surprises que l’on rencontre, ou les surprises que l’on obtient de ce que l’on enregistre. Et parce que dans la vie quotidienne, nous sommes souvent préoccupés, et nous n’écoutons pas toujours. Le microphone vous donne l’opportunité de vous spécialiser dans l’écoute et les œuvres sonores sans micro peuvent faire la même chose. Il faut juste avoir l’intention de le faire. L’écoute. Ayant toujours été une personne très occupée et agitée, le microphone m’a en quelque sorte permis de m’installer dans cette écoute. Et finalement, je n’ai plus vraiment voulu du microphone parce que j’ai ressenti une séparation entre cette écoute très privée à l’intérieur du paysage sonore, mais en même temps, je me suis coupé de mon environnement social en faisant cela. Au bout d’un moment, j’ai voulu me débarrasser des microphones et m’engager dans cette écoute comme si mes oreilles étaient un microphone…

What I saw during most of my soundwalk… 

n’écoutez pas cet épisode : édition spéciale (publié mais non identifié)

Voici une édition spéciale du balado conscient intitulée “n’écoutez pas cet épisode“.  L’idée m’est venue pendant que je faisais du vélo. J’ai pensé… et si je disais, encore et encore, que les gens doivent se réveiller à la réalité de l’urgence climatique. Vous savez, avec ma voix lente du balado conscient : “les gens. doivent. se. réveiller. à la réalité. de l’urgence. climatique”.  Mais cela ne servirait à rien car les gens savent déjà qu’ils doivent se réveiller à la réalité de l’urgence climatique. Le répéter, encore et encore, est en fait contre-productif, et ennuyeux.  Les gens feraient probablement la sourde oreille et tout ce qui resterait serait ces mots qui n’ont aucune valeur. Puis j’ai pensé, d’un autre côté, à ce que John Cage a dit un jour : 

Si quelque chose est ennuyeux après deux minutes, essayez-le pendant quatre minutes. Si c’est toujours ennuyeux, alors huit. Puis seize. Puis trente-deux. Finalement, on découvre que ce n’est pas du tout ennuyeux.

The post e69 soundwalk in the dark appeared first on conscient podcast / balado conscient. conscient is a bilingual blog and podcast (French or English) by audio artist Claude Schryer that explores how arts and culture contribute to environmental awareness and action.

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About the Concient Podcast from Claude Schryer

The conscient podcast / balado conscient is a series of conversations about art, conscience and the ecological crisis. This podcast is bilingual (in either English or French). The language of the guest determines the language of the podcast. Episode notes are translated but not individual interviews.

I started the conscient project in 2020 as a personal learning journey and knowledge sharing exercise. It has been rewarding, and sometimes surprising.

The term ‘conscient’ is defined as ‘being aware of one’s surroundings, thoughts and motivations’. My touchstone for the podcast is episode 1, e01 terrified, based on an essay I wrote in May 2019, where I share my anxiety about the climate crisis and my belief that arts and culture can play a critical role in raising public awareness about environmental issues. The conscient podcast / balado conscient follows up on my http://simplesoundscapes.ca (2016–2019) project: 175, 3-minute audio and video field recordings that explore mindful listening.

Season 1 (May to October 2020) explored how the arts contribute to environmental awareness and action. I produced 3 episodes in French and 15 in English. The episodes cover a wide range of content, including activism, impact measurement, gaming, arts funding, cross-sectoral collaborations, social justice, artistic practices, etc. Episodes 8 to 17 were recorded while I was at the Creative Climate Leadership USA course in Arizona in March 2020 (led by Julie’s Bicycle). Episode 18 is a compilation of highlights from these conversations.

Season 2 (March 2021 – ) explores the concept of reality and is about accepting reality, working through ecological grief and charting a path forward. The first episode of season 2 (e19 reality) mixes quotations from 28 authors with field recordings from simplesoundscapes and from my 1998 soundscape composition, Au dernier vivant les biens. One of my findings from this episode is that ‘I now see, and more importantly, I now feel in my bones, ‘the state of things as they actually exist’, without social filters or unsustainable stories blocking the way’. e19 reality touches upon 7 topics: our perception of reality, the possibility of human extinction, ecological anxiety and ecological grief, hope, arts, storytelling and the wisdom of indigenous cultures. The rest of season 2 features interviews with thought leaders about their responses and reactions to e19 reality.

my professional services

I’ve been retired from the Canada Council for the Arts since September 15, 2020 where I served as a senior strategic advisor in arts granting (2016-2020) and manager of the Inter-Arts Office (1999-2015). My focus in (quasi) retirement is environmental issues within my area of expertise in arts and culture, in particular in acoustic ecology. I’m open to become involved in projects that align with my values and that move forward environmental concerns. Feel free to email me for a conversation : claude@conscient.ca

acknowledgement of eco-responsibility

I acknowledge that the production of the conscient podcast / balado conscient produces carbon. I try to minimize this carbon footprint by being as efficient as possible, including using GreenGeeks as my web server and acquiring carbon offsets for my equipment and travel activities from BullFrog Power and Less.

a word about privilege and bias

While recording episode 19 ‘reality’, I heard elements of ‘privilege’ in my voice that I had not noticed before. It sounded a bit like ‘ecological mansplaining’. I realize that, in spite of good intentions, I need to work my way through issues of privilege (of all kinds) and unconscious bias the way I did through ecological anxiety and grief during the fall of 2020. My re-education is ongoing.

Go to conscient.ca

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