The Sound of the Anthropocene: nature(s)

May 29 through May 30,
9:45 a.m.- 6:15 p.m.
salle Stravinsky

Free entry, limited seats available.

Languages: English and French

Many scholars, activists and NGOs consider that our planet has now entered into a new era where human activities have a decisive effect on the earth’s ecosystem: the anthropocene. A situation which means global warming, disappearance of plants and animal species, the melting of glaciers, rising sea levels, pollution, social crises. If the Earth is rebelling, it is as much the material basis of industrial societies that is breaking up as the cosmogony supporting this regime of knowledge and actions: modernity.

One of the main registers that has accompanied and embodied the rise of modernity has been expressed in art and the injunction of progress is at the core of our sensibility and most of artistical practices and specially in music, as a theory as well as a practice.

With composers, musicians, researchers, curators, the international seminar "The Sound of the Anthropocene" explores how music worlds can face ecological challenges and imagine new paths for research, music production and consumption, public policies and activism. These discussions include historians and philosophers of ecology as well as people from other social spheres.

This first seminar is about the relationships between music and nature: how nature has been used by music theory and pratices, how music and performing arts have naturalized (the idea of) nature.


Nicolas Donin (Head of the Sound Analysis-Synthesis Team, IRCAM-STMS), Isabelle Moindrot (EA  1573, Université Paris 8) and François Ribac (Sound Analysis-Synthesis Team, IRCAM-STMS/ Laboratoire Cimeos, Université Paris 8). ASMA Research Project (Performing Arts and Music in the Anthropocene Era).

Photo: Control Room (2010) by Lori Nix and Kathleen Gerner.

Tuesday, May 29

9h45 | Welcome

10h-10h30 | Presentation of the seminar by the organizers

10h30-11h30 | Ecomusicologies
With Aaron S. Allen, Associate Professor of Music. Environmental & Sustainability Studies, University of Greensboro, USA

11h30-11h50 | Break

11h50-13h | Discussion with Aaron S. Allen
With Nathalie Blanc, Director of Research CNRS, François Ribac, Composer and Lecturer, Université de Dijon, visiting at IRCAM

13h-14h00 | Lunch

14h30-15h30 | Fragments of Extinction – The sonic heritage of ecosystems
With David Monacchi, eco-acoustics researcher and composer

15h30-15h50 | Break

15h50-16h30 | Discussion with David Monacchi
With Yann Rocher, Architect and Lecturer, École Nationale Supérieure d'Architecture Paris-Malaquais, Isabelle Moindrot, Professor, Université Paris 8, and Nathalie Blanc.

16h30-17h15 | Conceptualization, Integration, Environment: Nature for Xenakis and Mâche
With Anne Sylvie Barthel-Calvet, Lecturer, Université de Lorraine/APM

17h15-18h15 | Discussion « The nature(s) of contemporary music »
With Makis Solomos, Professor, Université Paris 8, Nicolas Donin, Head of the Analysis of Musical Practices team, IRCAM, Aaron Allen, Anne Sylvie Barthel-Calvet, Nathalie Blanc and David Monacchi

Wednesday, May 30

9h45 | Welcome

10h-10h45 | What natures on the stages of the great French opera in the 19th century?
With Isabelle Moindrot

10h45-11h30 | Creatures of the Air: Moral Atmospherics and the Enframement of Nature in Mendelssohn's Elijah
With James Q. Davies, Associate Professor, University of California, Berkeley

11h30-11h50 | Break

11h50-12h35 | Naturalizing pitch: acoustics, aesthetics, politics 
With Fanny Gribenski, Research scholar, Max Planck Institute for the History of Science, Berlin

12h35-14h30 | Lunch

14h30-15h30 | Discussion « Artists, geographers, philosophers and ecology in the 19th century in western countries. What about music? »
With Bertrand Guest, Lecturer, Université d'Angers, Nathalie Blanc, James Q. Davies, Fanny Gribenski and Isabelle Moindrot

15h30-15h50 | Break

15h50-16h30 | Collective conclusion with all participants: Nature(s) of Music.