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Ferrall Residency Keynote Talk: Suzanne Thorpe on Acoustic Ecology

Date: Wednesday, February 20th, 2019

Time: 12:30 pm

Duration: 1 hour

Location: Moore Lounge,
Pearsons Hall,
700 College St, Beloit, WI 53511

Contact: Yvonne Wu,, 2374

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Towards an Eco-logical Mode of Musicking

Today the word ecology is used in many ways, from indicating the health of the natural environment to referencing interconnected systems and their relations. Likewise, the term acoustic ecology has many applications, referring to sounds of a particular setting and their interactions, or the acoustic health of an environment. In my talk I will discuss how I adopt the term ecology, and its many meanings, in my music practice to create a compositional approach that I call a logic of ecology. I will detail how I use listening, through the Deep Listening practice of Pauline Oliveros and technical media, and systems thinking to compose relationally with the acoustic characteristics and behaviors of a place. I will also address how this approach to composition challenges traditional notions of composer as singular author. Along the way, I'll engage with philosophers/critical theorists Jean-Luc Nancy, Rosi Braidotti, and anthropologist Andrew Pickering to illustrate how this paradigm shift creates opportunities for human participants to experience their own material interconnectedness with their environment.
 - All are invited to bring their lunches to this common-hour event.

Suzanne Thorpe is a composer, performer, scholar and educator. She creates site-oriented sound compositions that use a variety of media and technology, and performs on the electroacoustic flute, expanded with digital and analog tools. She is also a Deep Listening instructor, having studied in depth with American Composer and Deep Listening Founder Pauline Oliveros. Thorpe's compositions draws upon traditions of acoustic ecology, soundscape, land art, and improvisation, and her research intersects with new materialism, systems theory, and environmental ethics. She has performed and exhibited her work internationally, and has been awarded the Frog Peak Collective Award for innovative research in technology, along with grants from Harvestworks Digital Media Foundation, New Music USA, and the MAP Fund. Having earned her MFA at Mills College in Electronic Music & Media, Thorpe is currently a Ph.D. Candidate at University California, San Diego, and co-founder and director of TECHNE, an education organization whose goal is to close the gender gap in technology oriented endeavors.


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