rooted listening

Rooted Listening

Open call for sound recordings for the “Rooted Listening” project. Submission deadline (roughly) Summer, 2024.

This project seeks to embrace forms of sensing alterity through listening, in this case mental imaginaries of being rooted to the earth as a terrestrial plant. Roots have deeply symbolic and metaphorical meanings found throughout human culture often due to their striking visual character, but the full complexity of their function to living trees and broader soil ecosystems has not been widely studied until more recently (I suggest starting with the work of Suzanne Simard and SPUN and to also read about David Haskell’s wonderful work on listening to trees).

These new findings open up the possibility to explore and reimagine what roots are and roles they play. With rooted listening I am asking listeners to confront the unexpected and ask, what is it I am listening to? This call is for anyone, anywhere to embed their ‘ears’, as roots, into the ground to gather a collection of impressions from a variety of experiences. In this way, we form a diverse body of material to share and interpret from.

Recording Instructions: Go outside and find a tree, bush or wild grass. Observe its surroundings, structure and how it connects to the ground at the root level. Place a contact microphone, hydrophone, geophone, [protected] microphone or any combination of these somewhere around the base of the tree or within the root structure. Listen closely and make at least a 5-10 minute recording of what you hear. Be creative and experiment freely. Using the tools you have try different trees, locations, weather conditions, seasons and recording methods. Make an effort to listen intently on location while recording. And of course make every effort not to damage plants or roots in any way.

Editing instructions: Select a 3-4 minute section of your recording that you feel represents your Rooted Listening experience. Please do not process or add any effects to the recording except for minor level adjustments or minimal fades. I will not process the recordings in any way unless you allow me to make level adjustments or fades. I prefer not to hear compression artefacts so record in WAV format if possible (mono or stereo, 16 or 24bit, 44 or 48khz).

In the end, a number of tracks will be selected from all the submitted recordings. The selection criteria will be based on the character and uniqueness of the recordings. I will publish at least one compilation ‘album’ (but maybe more depending on the amount of submissions) on the Maaheli Editions Bandcamp page.

The album will be free to download. Once the recordings are published I would be happy to discuss ideas for future collaborations or remixes based on the Rooted Listening collection. Everyone involved will also be encouraged to use the collected recordings in their own way. All published recordings will be licensed under CC Attribution – ShareAlike.

For google (gmail) account users, you can send your submission through this form.

If you are not a google user (this is understandable), please send me your audio file and and a text file with answers to these questions via WeTransfer or other file sharing service to the above email with ‘Rooted Listening’ as the subject.
– Artist name (please include this in the file name)
– Web links (website, bandcamp, soundcloud, social media etc)
– Date and location of the recording
– What kind of tree is it?
– Any additional comments you have

Questions? Please write me at: info [at] maaheli [dot] ee with the subject ‘Rooted Listening’.

Willow roots in northern Finland

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