Mapping Sonic Futurities (MSF) combines sound art, listening practices, and ecological research to trace the present and future histories of local ecosystems. The project involves a series of 24-hour ‘sound vigils’ in outdoor spaces and habitats with tenuous futures. During these retreats, the keeper of the vigil commits to being in one location for an entire day and night. For each of the 24 hours, they dedicate time to acts of ecologically engaged listening and sounding. This involves making field recordings of the space, performing music that responds to nearby sounds, and/or sitting in meditation with a focus on different modes of listening. All the while, they journal about these experiences. The final documentation of the sound vigil is a 10-minute video art piece where 25 second segments, representing each hour, cycle continuously. The segments contain videos, still images, field recordings, and performances that are meant to give a glimpse of some salient features of the habitat revealed through the vigil keeper’s subjective experience of them. The emphasis on subjectivity is meant to encourage a creative license with how the vigil keeper would like to engage with the environment (i.e. drawing, singing, dancing, playing an instrument, or just listening). Each video art piece is accompanied by field notes taken during the vigil.
Alex Wand is a Grammy Award-winning musician and composer who performs as a solo artist and in bands Desert Magic and the Partch Ensemble, performing at venues and festivals from California to Tibet such as REDCAT, the Bootleg Theater, and the Xinghai International Poetry Festival. His music has been described as having “melody lines that can circle through one’s head for days after listening, begging to be rewound and re-listened and timbres and layers that are supremely joyful and poignant and at times absolutely laid bare in their sincerity” (New Classic LA).