CENSE Annual Conference / MURMURANS MUNDUS: Sonic Ecology and Beyond

3 Oct to 5 Oct 2019
Deadline for registration: 31. 7. 2019
E-mail: murmurans@gmail.com

We invite you to participate in the interdisciplinary conference Murmurans Mundus: Sonic Ecology and Beyond, which will focus on current matters in acoustic ecology perceived from the perspective both of the arts, and of the social and natural sciences. Prospective participants may register papers or audio performances for presentation at the conference, the aim of which is to contribute to the international discussion on topics such as noise pollution, differing methods of interpretating and manipulating the acoustic environment, as well as the possibilities to reflect on “acoustic ecology” in the educational process.

The conference picks up where the founding conference, CENSE, left off. The Central European Network for Sonic Ecologies conference was held in Budapest at the end of November and beginning of December 2018.

The conference is open to both theoretical and practical papers, analyses, presentations of particular artistic and research projects, and to reports on the subject of acoustic ecology and related disciplines.

Three basic theses, formulated by the composer and philosopher Raymond Murray Schafer in 1977, introduced the idea of acoustic ecology, including his conception of soundscapes, of the ecology of sound, and of the deep listening method. The moment of a factual recording of a sonic situation, of a soundscape, and the further processing of such a recording is seen as less important in this context than the existential and environmental situation connected with the actual act of subjective listening to the manifest acoustic events present in the given space and time.

The issues of sound pollution, noise and deep listening have long been outside the mainstream of modern and postmodern music. However, lately they have become part of the topics we are forced to deal with. Acoustic ecology emphasizes the importance of an autonomous sonic universe that constantly surrounds us and of which we are a part. In this context, sound is understood as the quality of a complex, “more-than-human” system, existing and “resounding by itself”. It depends on our perceptual abilities or on the listener’s situation and willingness to accept and understand this ever-changing sonic texture of the world, to let it act and to use it as inspiration and a means of knowledge, concern, or of calming the mind. Science approaches sound rather analytically, trying to identify individual elements that reflect positive or negative processes, and then interprets the resulting data.

Both the artistic and scientific attitudes to the phenomenon of sound and listening emphasize the active nature of perception, the creative nature of listening. From its origin as a bed of hardly distinguishable noise, the acoustic signal takes an articulated, meaningful form. This is determined by a number of both conscious and intuitive decisions on the part of the listener, which are influenced by many social and psychological factors. Since the topic of acoustic ecology in Central Europe is still marginal, this conference aims to ask the right questions, rather than to provide clear answers to them.

Apart from five thematic blocks, the conference program will also include workshops, sound performances, sound walks and an exhibition of sound installations.

Thematic blocks of the conference

  • Sound as a source of information and a means of environmental change
    The acoustic environment as an indicator of the critical state of the world and the need to alter our relation to it.
  • Context as one of the parameters of sound interpretation
    The importance of the social context for our ability to listen and understand sound.
  • Sound as an inner experience
    Acoustic ecology as a possibility for transforming our relation to the world in both art and science.
  • Sound and education: sound literacy
    Listening as an important part of upbringing and education. Sound activism.
  • Design and sound
    Connections between architecture, urbanism, design, and acoustics.

The focus of these thematic blocks is defined broadly. Contributions may be read as a paper, however we would prefer a free presentation. At the end of each block, there will be a discussion with the speakers. In addition to the conference papers, we also invite you to submit suggestions for audio performances.

Audio performances will be part of the an evening program to take place in Veřejný sál Hraničář (Public Hall Hraničář) with a quality sound system.

  • Date of event: 3 Oct to 5 Oct 2019
  • Venue: Ústí nad Labem, Faculty of Art and Design at J. E. Purkyně University and Public Hall Hraničář (Veřejný sál Hraničář).
  • Language: The conference will be held in English, there is a possibility of simultaneous translation.
  • Scope: There are 20 minutes reserved for a contribution, 10 minutes for the discussion. There are 30 minutes reserved for audio performances.
  • Publication: A collection of selected papers will be published.
  • Further information: www.murmurans.ujep.cz


Please, send abstracts of your contributions in English and suggestions for audio performances together with a brief CV by 31 July, 2019 to murmurans@gmail.com.

The conference papers submitted must include the following sections:

  • title and specification of the thematic focus of the paper,
  • abstract (up to 500 words),
  • name, brief CV and contact information.

The submitted audio performances to be realized must include the following sections:

  • title and a brief abstract of the performance,
  • link to an audio or video preview,
  • name, brief CV and contact information.

The committee will select contributions to individual sections by 23 Aug 2019, and participants will be notified by e-mail.

Organizers and partners

  • Faculty of Art and Design at J. E. Purkyně University in Ústí nad Labem
  • The Soundscape Research Studio, Institute of Cultural Studies, University Wroclaw
  • Constantine the Philosopher University in Nitra
  • Moholy-Nagy University of Art and Design Budapest
  • Faculty of Education at J. E. Purkyně University in Ústí nad Labem
  • Public Hall Hraničář
  • The Mlok Association
  • Agosto Foundation

Financial support

  • Visegrad Fund
  • Jan Evangelista Purkyně University in Ústí nad Labem
  • Faculty of Art and Design at J. E. Purkyně University in Ústí nad Labem

Conference coordinators

  • Iva Polanecká, Jan Krtička, Pavel Mrkus
  • Faculty of Art and Design at J. E. Purkyně University in Ústí nad Labem

#visegradfund #V4