Crafting a Sonic Urbanism: listening to non-human life

Organized by Theatrum Mundi & IRIS (EHESS)

Crafting a Sonic Urbanism: listening to non-human life

Non-human life forms are communicators and active agents in the production of urban habitat. Yet they are rarely seen as having a ‘voice’. How can we enter into dialogue with them in order to transform our own urbanization processes?

In the light of urban life, ‘nature’ is mainly framed in terms of psychological impact, risk prevention and spaces dedicated to leisure or aesthetic consumption. However, even though non-human life forms are communicators and active agents in the manufacture of urban habitat, they are rarely seen as having a ‘voice’ in the public sphere. Listening to Non-Human Life, the third edition of the annual colloquium of Theatrum Mundi and Institut de recherche interdisciplinaire sur des enjeux sociaux (IRIS, EHESS) entitled Crafting a sonic urbanism, will focus less on the soundscapes produced by these life forms than on how design and research approaches informed by acoustic methodologies might help to understand and stimulate interspecies cohabitation in urban space. 


Theatrum Mundi is an organization founded in 2012 whose charitable objective is to improve the understanding of cities through education and research.


Scientific Committee: Arnaud Esquerre (IRIS, EHESS); John Bingham-Hall (Theatrum Mundi  /UCL); Gascia Ouzounian (University of Oxford / Recomposing the City); Océane Ragoucy (architecte et curatrice); Justinien Tribillon (University College London).


9.30 - 10am: Introduction: Arnaud Esquerre (IRIS) and John Bingham-Hall (Theatrum Mundi)

10am - 6pm: Colloquium

7 - 8.30pm: Performances


Detailed program :

Times shown at CET (Paris)
(No sign up required- join on the day.)

09.30 - 10.00am — Welcome and opening remarks
  • John Bingham-Hall, Director, Theatrum Mundi
  • Arnaud Esquerre, Director, IRIS (EHESS)
10.00 - 11.30am — NON-HUMAN VOICES
  • Nuno da Luz, Artist
    → Echopolitics for interspecies resistance
  • Ahmed bin Shabib, Rashid bin Shabib
    → Magnetic Reception
  • Sepideh Karami & Elahe Karimnia
    ESALA, Edinburgh School of Architecture & Landscape Architecture & Theatrum Mundi
    → When Parrots of Tehran Confess
Chaired by Gascia Ouzounian

11.45am - 1.15pm — LIVELY MATERIALITY
  • Matt Parker, Oxford Brookes University
    → Radiant infrastructure: vibrational tools for communities of electromagnetic resistance
  • Juan-Guillermo Dumay & Ruth Oldham
    → Listening to transformer substations: Background noise, fiction, and music
  • Ms Tsouknida Eirini, Dr Tasos Varoudis, Mr Roberto Botazzi
    → Curvilinear Soundscapes
Chaired by Arnaud Esquerre

2.30 - 4.00pm — BRIDGING WORLDS
  • Nicola Di Croce, Università Iuav di Venezia
    → Towards a multi-species sonic ecology
  • Melissa Van Drie, University of Copenhagen / nxt
    → How ‘singing’ bees draw urban humans into an everyday world of interspecies communication
  • Gascia Ouzounian, University of Oxford
    →The Sonic rewilding of cities: Listening after Lockdown
Chaired by Justinien Tribillon

4.15 - 5.45pm — DISCUSSION: A trans-species urban society?
Chaired by John Bingham-Hall

5.45 - 6.00pm — Closing remarks
6.16 - 7.30pm — PERFORMANCES
  • Sunnyside, Matilde Meireles (University of Oxford)
  • Radio gardening in Lagos, Seetal Solanki, Monai de Paula Antunes, Plant Wave, Streetlights collective, Tushar Hathiramani


11-18 March — Online exhibition

  • The State of Things - Porto, 2018, Sara Rodrigues (artist)
  • Critical Disturbance, Nastassja Simensky (Slade, UCL)
  • Your Mating Call Is Important To Us: A Sonic Apothecary for Synanthropes, Maria Dominguez, Anjali Nair, Hannah Rose Fox, Miriam Young (Parsons School of Design)
  • Interspecies intersections: listening in and sounding out new urban narratives, Natasha Nicholson (SWCTN and charlick+nicholson architects)
  • More-than-human publics, John Bingham-Hall (Theatrum Mundi)

Contacts : Lou Marcellin (coordination)

John Bingham-Hall (directeur)