World Listening Day: July 18, 2020


Approach a public space. Listen. Identify the sounds you notice because of where you are located in that space. Listen to them. Imagine what you cannot hear because of where you chose to listen. If you are able, change your position and consider the new things you hear and the sounds you no longer perceive when doing so. It could be as simple as turning around. 


Now listen to everything again. Identify the sounds you notice because of who you are: the ears you have, the experiences you’ve had, the interests you have. Now listen again for things someone unlike you might notice. The combination of these two collections of sound make up part of the collective field. Keep listening while embracing other perspectives to hear more of the collective field.


Douglas Laustsen, 2020


For World Listening Day 2020, Phonography Austin invited Douglas Laustsen to contribute a text prompt addressing the international theme, The Collective Field. His #springdeeplistening prompts on Instagram throughout the pandemic have been insightful and reveal a deep attachment to the act of listening and the issues around it.

We encourage participants to respond to this prompt in whatever way they choose, and share those responses with the hashtags #WLD2020 and #WLD2020ATX.

Based in Austin, Texas, Douglas Laustsen is a musician and educator who has been creating sound objects since 2016. His work fuses technology alongside sound to create interactive works for audiences. He has also worked as an educator for over a decade, teaching instrumental music, general music, leading electronics workshops to build things like speakers, and clinics focused on emotional and physical health.


About World Listening Day
Since its inception in 2010, thousands of people from six continents have participated in World Listening Day. July 18th is the birth date of renowned Canadian composer, music educator, and author, R. Murray Schafer. His World Soundscape Project developed the fundamental ideas and practices of acoustic ecology in the 1970s. These inform the current, burgeoning interest in our changing acoustic environment. Thus, World Listening Day honors Schafer’s contribution to understanding our world.

World Listening Day is a project sponsored by The World Listening Project, a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt non-profit charitable organization devoted to fostering understanding of the world and its natural environment, societies and cultures through the practices of listening and field recording.

C19 Soundscape Documentation

Photo by Augustine Wong on Unsplash

This project is on indefinite hold due to lack of participation.

We’d like to invite you to participate in C19 Soundscape Documentation, a new research project.  While much of our work is local, here we are requesting contributions from people all over the world.

Decreased human activity during the COVID-19 pandemic has created an unique opportunity to gather data on how the soundscape has changed. Anonymized data will be published on a monthly basis.

All it will require is thirty minutes of your time, once a week, at the same time and location, a sound pressure level (SPL) meter, and something to take notes with.

Instructions, a form for data input, and a list of free SPL meter apps are here:

Second Annual Report – Performance and Digital Release


(photo by Del Wieding)

On Saturday, December 7, Phonography Austin will host its second annual report, a listening event and album release party at Cloud Tree Studios & Gallery to showcase the work of local field recordists to capture and recontextualize a diversity of acoustic environments.

Austin-based artists R. Lee Dockery, Vanessa Gelvin, Travis Putnam Hill, Sarah King, Sean O’Neill, Daniy Oberle, Josh Ronsen and Zach Smith will present field recordings they made individually over the past year in a live, collaborative setting. Performing together in small ensembles, these artists will weave their discrete recorded materials into improvisatory collages that evoke new soundscapes. The event also marks the digital release of Phonography Austin’s third compilation, which includes recordings made in 2019 by 21 local artists, and will be availabe for free on our Bandcamp site at 12:01 AM on Saturday, December 7, 2019.

The Phonography Austin 2019 Annual Report is part of the sound arts organization’s ongoing program of educational workshops and listening experiences designed to foster artistic investigation of sound environments, acoustic phenomena and other aural situations through the practice of field recording. The annual report audience is encouraged to attempt to listen to  the recordings presented as sound objects in and of themselves—or to embrace the sense of place and context as they occur in the recordings.

The event is open to the public, and donations will be accepted.