In the early decades of the 21st century, we can hear evidence of a strange new soundscape emerging. This sonic environment is coextensive with the soundscape that acoustic ecology — the study of the relationship between humans and their environment through sound — has traditionally explored. But the new soundscape consists as much of the familiar sounds of natural, rural and urban environments as it does sounds inaudible to human ears. It extends beyond the limits of hominid perceptual capacities, into the realms of inaudible frequencies, the electromagnetic spectrum, and ever-growing repositories of raw, noisy data as vibrational sensors proliferate everywhere, endlessly. Listening-in to these inhuman environments, we might discover the traces of an incomprehensible wilderness consisting of more-than-human relations — to synthetic natures spawned in the wake of industrial modernity.
Nervous Systems, a new work by composer and sound artist Stefan Maier, explores this speculative soundscape. Drawing on his practice of expanded field recording, synthesis, and the uncanny fusion of the two, it attempts to tune into nascent forms of vitality contained within these emerging sonic environments — to unruly, nervous systems teeming with potentiality, with life.
January 26th 2024