THE ACOUSTIC COMMONS

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Resonance Extra

24 November - 29 December 2017
Fridays   12 Noon to 1pm   London time (UTC)

The Acoustic Commons relays live streams on the Locus Sonus open microphone network and elsewhere, and conversations with streamers who transmit the sounds.

Set up and maintained by a disparate group of artists, activists, naturalists, and technicians, these feeds provide real-time online links with the microphone locations at all times, revealing flows of activities, organisms and sounds from moment to moment and over the course of days and seasons.

As the network grows, it provides a wider and more detailed account of the diversity of soundscapes, linking the very local and the global. In some cases, as at Cyberforest, the streams are logged, creating an audio observatory for long term environmental monitoring. Other streams go unrecorded, sharing an ephemeral opening onto another place.

Date   24 November 2017
Site   54 Cambria Road, Loughborough Junction, London, UK
By   Grant Smith   self-noise.net

Drawing by Sam Baraitser Smith


Everyday sounds from a back yard in Loughborough Junction, South London. A small patch of trees and vegetation surrounded by gardens, buildings, roads, train tracks, not far from the centre of the city.

Ad hoc rewilding project on an accidental patch of land left over between developments, tacked on the back of the last house in a terrace. 'Unresolved patch of the planetary garden' (3rd landscape - Gilles Clément). Experimental field of the acoustic commons.

Sounds from hens, nearby schoolyard at recess, the Cambria pub, adjoining houses and backyards, a neighbour playing drums in his shed. Traffic. Planes on the approach to Heathrow International airport. Wrens, woodpigeons, goldfinches, blackbirds, crows, magpies, starlings, other birds, especially in Spring. Bees. Squirrels. Sirens. Helicopters. Domestic sounds.

Live stream on the Locus Sonus open microphone network, mainly continuous since September 2011 with a series of devices developed in collaboration with Locus Sonus and SoundCamp with input from Udo Noll at Radio Aporee and Max Baraitser Smith, using the open source streaming software Darkice by Ákos Maróy, Rafael Diniz and others.

Microphones based on the Primo EM-172 capsule (with thanks to Zach Poff).

For a period in 2015-16 the stream included an application developed by/with Christian Nold to send live decibel data to Xively, generating a graph of sound levels under the Heathrow flight path, which supplemented the live audio feed.

The current device uses streambox software 3.1 by Stef Cousot et al running on a Raspberry Pi 3 with Cirrus Logic soundcard, in a dribox with microphones installed under the overhanging lid, and synthetic fur and foam windscreens. It is powered over ethernet from a socket indoors, linked to the router via the mains wiring. The whole system runs on a solar array on the roof of the house.

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Date   01 December 2017
Site   Shiga Nature Education Park, Otanomo, Japan
By   Cyberforest

Drawing by Sam Baraitser Smith


Secondary forest at 1600m in the Shiga Highlands.

Sounds of, wind, sleet, occasional bird calls. The first snow has fallen recently, after a warm, late Autumn.

24 hour live stream since 2011. One of a cluster of microphones set up and maintained by Professor Kaoru Saito, Daisuké Shimotoku and colleagues as part of the Cyber Forest research project at the University of Tokyo.

The microphones are located within the Shiga Highland Biosphere Reserve and operated in partnership with the Shinshu University Institute of Nature Education. The project comprises real time stereo sound transmission, data logging and public engagement, including remote bird census using the open microphones, phenological research, citizen science activities and machine based audio analysis by the SABIOD big data programme at CNRS, University of Toulon. The live data includes a video link. Part of a programme streaming live data from the University of Tokyo forests since the early days of the public internet.

Shiga Highlands BSR (MAB)

Cyberforest project page



Date   08 December 2017
Site   Chittaranjan Colony, Kolkata, India
By   Sukanta Majumdar

Drawing by Sam Baraitser Smith


The microphone is by a terrace of the house.

There is a pond on one side of the house, and a playground on the other side. Beside the playground there is a temple, where they sing in the morning and in the evening. You hear kids playing football and cricket in the afternoon in the ground. Some beautiful old tress are still surviving around the pond. Lots of different types of birds live on those trees.



Sukanta Majumdar is a sound artist and recordist. He is part of the The Travelling Archive



Date   15 December 2017
Site   Pond Station, Wave Farm, Acra, New York, USA
By   Zach Poff

Drawing by Sam Baraitser Smith



Pond Station is a modular platform for monitoring the hidden activity of a freshwater pond. It has been transmitting since May 2015 when it was commissioned as a long-term sculpture at Wave Farm in Acra, NY. It floats on the water's surface, broadcasting underwater sounds through a live radio link. It operates from dawn to evening every day, using solar-charged internal batteries. Pond Station's receiver is located in the Wave Farm radio studio where resident artists and broadcasters on WGXC FM can experience the pond's natural sounds or remix and interpret them.

At sunrise, Pond Station's hydrophones (underwater microphones) reveal a photosynthetic chorus of bubbling as plants begin to produce oxygen. Insect, fish and frog vocalizations continue all day, combined with the traces of sounds in the air that excite the water too (like passing cars, singing insects or humans). Rain on the pond surface creates a dense cloud of high-frequency detail, like the coals in a cooling campfire. In the winter, life in the pond slows down to near silence as the water ices over, but the ice may crackle and hiss during its daily expansion and contraction.



Zach Poff is a digital media artist, maker and educator based in the New York area.