Noise in the Anthropocene

Online Seminar May 17 & 18

Organized by Leonardo Cardoso (Department of Performance Studies, Texas A&M University), with co-organizer Ana Širović (Department of Marine Biology, Texas A&M University Galveston).

The concept of Anthropocene, popularized in 2000 by Paul Crutzen (Nobel laureate in Chemistry, 1995), has been an influential framework to understand environmental issues as symptoms of a new geological epoch – a period fundamentally marked by the material presence of human beings on Earth. Commonly mentioned issues related to the Anthropocene include changes in the water cycle, acidification of oceans, and extreme meteorological phenomena. Noise, on the other hand, is only rarely mentioned. In a 2011 report, the World Health Organization/Europe announced that the disease burden caused by environmental noise was second only to air pollution. According to the study, at least one million healthy life years were lost every year from traffic-related noise in western Europe. But noise pollution affects other living organisms as well: the dramatic increase in transportation networks and natural resource extraction makes noise a problem of planetary proportions.This virtual seminar brings together artists and scholars from diverse academic fields to highlight how noise can provide a dynamic, polyphonic, and multi-species understanding of our environment.

I’ll be presenting on Ecological cadences: the city as a sonic refugium.