noise in the anthropocene

Noise in the Anthropocene

Online SeminarMay 17 and 18, 2021

The concept of Anthropocene, popularized in 2000 by Paul Crutzen (Nobel laureate in Chemistry, 1995), has been an influential framework to understand environmental issues as symptoms of a new geological epoch – a period fundamentally marked by the material presence of human beings on Earth. Commonly mentioned issues related to the Anthropocene include changes in the water cycle, acidification of oceans, and extreme meteorological phenomena. Noise, on the other hand, is only rarely mentioned. In a 2011 report, the World Health Organization/Europe announced that the disease burden caused by environmental noise was second only to air pollution. According to the study, at least one million healthy life years were lost every year from traffic-related noise in western Europe. But noise pollution affects other living organisms as well: the dramatic increase in transportation networks and natural resource extraction makes noise a problem of planetary proportions. Grinding away (day and night through air, land, and sea), transportation and resource extraction make up the soundscape of the Anthropocene.

This virtual seminar brought together artists and scholars from diverse academic fields to highlight how noise can provide a dynamic, polyphonic, and multi-species understanding of our environment. 

Organizers: The seminar was organized by Leonardo Cardoso (Department of Performance Studies, Texas A&M University), with co-organizer Ana Širović (Department of Marine Biology, Texas A&M University Galveston). 

Noise in the Anthropocene was sponsored by the
Melbern G. Glasscock Center for Humanities Research.


May 17, 10 am−12 pm (CST): On Land 

"Too much noise goin' on": Listening to the World Soundscape Project’s Vancouver archive 
Jonathan Prior (Cardiff University)
abstract audio
Atmospheric Listening: From Noise Pollution to Climate Change 
Marina Peterson (University of Texas at Austin) abstract audio
Analysis of Wind Farm Noise in the Xavier Community, Western Coastline of Ceará State, Brazil
Adryane Gorayeb (Federal University of Ceará), Christian Brannstrom (Texas A&M University), Lígia de Nazaré Aguiar Silva, and Nicolly dos Santos Leite (Federal University of Ceará) abstract audio

May 17, 1 pm−3 pm (CST): At Sea 

Ocean ambient sound trends across the northern hemisphere
Ana Širović (Texas A&M University Galveston)
Sonic mutations and logistics on the Tejo Estuary
Margarida Mendes (Goldsmiths University of London)
Are diving birds tuning in to the underwater soundscape?
Magnus Wahlberg (University of Southern Denmark)

May 18, 10 am−12 pm (CST): Hidden Sounds  

The ecological significance of the noise
Almo Farina (Urbino University) and Timothy C. Mullet (Kenai Fjords National Park, U.S. National Park Service, Alaska)

Ecological cadences: the city as a sonic refugium
Sandra Jasper (Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin)

Sounding Soil
Marcus Meader (Zurich University of the Arts)

Christian Brannstorm 

Dr. Brannstrom’s research focuses on social and political aspects of renewable energy and unconventional fossil fuels in Texas.  He also studies geographical dimensions of wind-power expansion in Brazil, where he has partnered with geographers at the Universidade Federal do Ceará.  He regularly hosts visiting scholars interested in theoretical and empirical dimensions of environmental governance.  His work has been supported by the National Science Foundation, the National Geographic Society, Texas Sea Grant, the TAMU Glasscock Center for Humanities Research, and Brazilian funding agencies.

Almo Farina

Dr. Farina is professor of ecology in the Department of Pure and Applied Sciences at the University of Urbino. He has investigated the soundscape of birds as an energetic, informative dimension utilized by these species to maintain contact with vital resources. Farina is working on the development of new metrics (Acoustic Complexity Index, ACI) to evaluate the complexity of bird sounds inside communities, developing a new theory on ecoacoustic events. 

Adryane Gorayeb

Dr. Gorayeb is an Associate Professor of the Department of Geography of the Federal University of Ceará (UFC-Brazil), Coordinator of the Laboratory of GIS and Participatory Cartography and Coordinator of the Graduate Program in Geography of UFC. 

Sandra Jasper

Sandra Jasper is Assistant Professor for Geography of Gender in Human-Environment-Systems at the Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin. Her research interests are in urban nature, soundscapes, and feminist theory. She is co-editor of The Botanical City (jovis, 2020) and co-author and co-producer of the documentary film Natura Urbana: The Brachen of Berlin (2017, UK/Germany, 72 mins). She is currently completing her first monograph on the experimental spaces of West Berlin for which she received a Graham Foundation grant. 

Marcus Maeder

Marcus Maeder is a researcher at the Institute for Computer Music and Sound Technology of the Zurich University of the Arts. His fields of activity lie in ecoacoustics, data sonification, and artistic investigations of ecological processes and phenomena that are related to climate change and global warming. Maeder studied Fine Arts in Lucerne, Philosophy in Hagen, and is currently working on his Ph.D. in Environmental Systems Sciences at ETH Zurich. 

Margarida Mendes

Margarida Mendes‘s research explores the overlap between cybernetics, ecology and experimental film, investigating the dynamic transformations of the environment and its impact on societal structures and cultural production. She is a consultant for environmental NGOs working on marine policy and deep sea mining and has directed several educational platforms. She is a PhD candidate at the Centre for Research Architecture, Visual Cultures Department, Goldsmiths University of London with the project “Deep Sea Imaginings” and is a frequent collaborator of the online channel for exploratory video and documentary reporting Inhabitants.

Timothy Mullet

Dr. Timothy Mullet is the Ecologist for Kenai Fjords National Park. Dr. Mullet has focused his work in ecoacoustics for over 10 years with an emphasis on understanding ecological patterns and the impacts of anthropogenic noise on Alaska's wilderness. His published works range from mapping soundscapes and noise in south-central Alaska to the award-winning Acoustic Habitat Hypothesis. He lives happily nestled among the coastal mountains in Seward, Alaska with his wife Amanda.

Marina Peterson

Marina Peterson is associate professor of anthropology at the University of Texas at Austin. Her work traces modalities of matter, sensory attunements, and emergent socialities, exploring diverse and innovative ways of encountering and presenting the ethnographic. Her recently published book, Atmospheric Noise: The Indefinite Urbanism of Los Angeles (2021, Duke UP), engages mobilizations around airport noise to address ways in which noise amplifies modes of sensing and making sense of the atmospheric. 

Jonathan Prior

Dr Jonathan Prior is a lecturer in Human Geography at Cardiff University. His research and publications take an interdisciplinary approach, spanning environmental philosophy, sound studies, and landscape research. His first book, Between Nature and Culture: The Aesthetics of Modified Environments, co-authored with Emily Brady and Isis Brook, was published in 2018 by Rowman & Littlefield.

Ana Širović

Dr. Širović holds a BA in creative studies with biology emphasis from the University of California Santa Barbara and a PhD in oceanography from the Scripps Institution of Oceanography at the University of California San Diego. After her PhD, she worked as a postdoctoral researcher with Dr. David Demer at the Southwest Fisheries Science Center. Subsequently, she spent two and a half years as marine biology faculty at Alaska Pacific University in Anchorage, Alaska, before returning to Scripps where she spent eight years as a Research Oceanographer at the Marine Physical Lab. She joined TAMUG in 2018.

Magnus Wahlberg

Magnus Wahlberg is daily leader and associate professor at the Marine Biological Research Center, University of Southern Denmark. He studies hearing and sound production of aquatic animals, such as fish, marine birds, seals and whales. He both studies specimen in captivity as well as wild animals, using a range of methods such as psychophysics, playback, drone and hydrophone array recordings. His work is supported by Danish council for independent research | Natural Sciences, Carlsberg Foundation, the European Union Horizon 2020 program, the Office of Naval Research, and Living Marine Resources.

Click here to register for the seminar. After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting. 


    website created by Leonardo Cardoso