A Walk in the Park with Phonography Austin

For the second edition of The Contemporary Austin’s A Walk in the Park series, Observer-in-Residence Ann Armstrong invited Vanessa Gelvin of Phonography Austin to help lead workshop devoted to listening and creative sonic exploration. A Walk in the Park features monthly guided walks + creative workshop activities to observe and map Laguna Gloria in a variety of ways.

For the March edition, we will begin by sensitizing our hearing to complete a sonic scavenger hunt designed to prompt deeper listening as we individually explore the grounds of Laguna Gloria. After the walk, we will reconvene to share our experiences, discuss listening strategies, and workshop creative approaches to documenting soundscapes.

We will be making notes of the sounds we hear, so please bring a pen and a hard surface to write against (a clipboard or a book) or use those provided. This is an outdoor program and we will be walking on uneven surfaces, so please dress accordingly!

Unlike other Phonography Austin workshops, we will be focusing on developing our listening skills without using any field recording technology.

Masks are required and social distancing will be observed. Limited capacity.

Date: March 20, 2021
Times: 10:00AM and 1:00PM CST
Location: The Contemporary Austin at Laguna Gloria
Cost: $15 per person for museum members; $20 per person for the general public
Tickets available through The Contemporary Austin website
For more details visit the event page at The Contemporary Austin website

facebook event page

Third Annual Report: On the Air and Online

On Sunday, December 6, Phonography Austin will release its third annual report for free on Bandcamp and on Austin’s community radio station, KOOP 91.7 FM, showcasing the work of local field recordists to capture and recontextualize a diversity of acoustic environments.

Austin-based artists A Secret Chief, Aux Aux, Brent Fariss, Vincent Fariss, Jérôme Fisch, Alex Keller, Sarah King, Teresa Nichta, Daniy Oberle, Josh Ronsen, and Zachary Smith contributed field recordings made in a variety of circumstances, all over the world. Sounds come from as far as Tahiti to as near as Port Aransas, and are both as familiar and relevant as the sound of washing hands. The Bandcamp release is Phonography Austin’s fourth compilation release.

Phonography Austin’s Third 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 listener is encouraged 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.

For more information, contact Alex Keller at alexkeller – at – phonographyaustin.org.

Date: Sunday, December 6, 2020
Broadcast time: 8:30-10:00 p.m.
Location: In Austin, on Commercial Suicide at 91.7 FM or streaming at koop.org.
Compilation: Will be available for free at phonographyaustin.bandcamp.com at 8:30 PM on Sunday, 12/6/2020.

About Phonography Austin

Phonography Austin is an organization dedicated to exploring phonography (the creation and presentation of field recordings as art objects) and acoustic ecology (the study of the effects of the acoustic environment on those living within it). More at phonographyaustin.org.

About Commercial Suicide
Hosted by Mallory Watson and Matthew Dylan, Commercial Suicide has been on KOOP since it’s founding in 1995. Experimental, electronic, ambient, minimalist, noise, improvised, and other strange sounds can be heard on the show. It airs regularly on Sundays between 8:30-10:00 PM.

About KOOP

KOOP is a community radio station in Austin, TX, owned and operated by its members in a cooperative structure depending primarily upon its volunteers and supporters for all operations of the station. KOOP provides a diverse array of programming, emphasizing programs that deal with local issues and/or serve communities which are under-served by the mainstream media.

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.