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.