The Citizen Soundscape is an immersive work of sound art created from contributions submitted by the general public, composed by sound artist Alex Chen. Its name is inspired by citizen science, a practice where the public collects and analyzes data about the natural world in collaboration with professional scientists.
The Citizen Soundscape is a celebration of listening, and you can find it below. Throughout the summer of 2022, the general public opened their ears, recorded interesting sounds they heard around them in the outdoors, and submitted them to this project. The Citizen Soundscape premiered at the Swan Lake Nature House on September 17, 2022. Visitors were encouraged to meander around the beautiful space while listening for the natural and anthropogenic sounds that flowed through the soundscape.
Now it’s your turn to take in what citizens from across BC, Canada, and as far abroad as the Czech Republic found captivating about their outdoor sonic world! As you listen, you may find moments where sounds are in consonance and others where they are in conflict. It is my hope that this may draw your
attention to our stewardship of the outdoors, both sonic and otherwise.
This project is part of BC Culture Days’ Earth Endeavours Ambassador Series. The series, featuring eight BC artists, seeks to connect people with their natural environments, art making, and to a healthier, brighter future world.
For the best experience, listen with stereo headphones or speakers. As you listen, be open to how the sounds affect you – perhaps they will surprise, concern, and delight. Click here to access written reflections on their sound submissions – you can use these written reflections to get a deeper feel for the parts of the soundscape.
Total length is 27:17.
Composed by Alex Chen
about bc culture days Earth Ambassador series
When was the last time you stopped to think about the environment around you? Have you listened to a bird’s song, admired a wildflower on your summer’s day hike or offered a moment of kindness to a nearby stranger? When will you take a moment to explore the relationship between yourself and the place you inhabit?
The Earth Endeavours Ambassador Series is a collection of community-engaged projects that call on you to take action. Through various creative challenges, released throughout July and August, our 2022 ambassadors have invited everyone from across B.C. to explore their relationship with the Earth and each other. Many have engaged directly with their communities by hosting in-person and digital events, from a marine debris beach clean in Tofino to eco-printing hikes in Abbotsford and Mission to a day of coming together in reconciliation in Port Coquitlam and much more.
During Culture Days, from September 23-October 16, BC Culture Days and the 2022 BCCD Ambassadors will release a series of micro-documentaries detailing the ambassadors’ Earth Endeavours projects and events. Featuring projects and films produced by Zaynab Mohammed (Slocan Valley), Alex Chen (Victoria), Emilie Kvist (Abbotsford/Mission), Shelley Stein-Wotten (Nanaimo), Priscilla Omulo (Port Coquitlam), Kim Leckey (Ucluelet/Tofino), Pedram Pehnan (Vancouver) and Élodie Orsei (Kelowna).
Follow along on our BC Culture Days social media accounts @BCCultureDays and search the hashtag #EarthEndeavours2022 to join the ambassadors on their journeys this fall!
Check out the BC Culture Days documentary
Many thanks to Hildegard Westerkamp for her mentorship, support, and friendship over the course of this project.
Thank you to Swan Lake Nature House for providing a beautiful space to host the Citizen Soundscape.
In the Soundscape, there is an excerpt of poetry written & read by Kate Braid (poet; Victoria, BC), recorded at Pacific Opera Victoria’s Voices in Nature event. Used with permission.
And thank you to everyone who contributed both far and near—the Citizen Soundscape would not have been possible without your contributions!
List of contributors:
Suzanne Ahearne (Victoria, BC)
Kyron Basu (Shawnigan Lake, BC)
Eva Bild & Randy Enkin (Victoria, BC)
Maureen Boileau (Victoria, BC)
Harrison Campbell (Victoria, BC)
Sarah Chandler (Lillooet, BC)
Carol Chiu (Vancouver, BC)
Hana Franková (South Bohemia, Czech Republic)
Margaret Lonsdale (North Saanich, BC)
Rebecca M. (Victoria, BC)
Kirsty MacDonald (Nanaimo, BC)
Scott Motley (Nanaimo, BC)
Jonathan Nash (Langford, BC)
Daniela O’Fee (Kamloops, BC)
Darren Patterson (Kootenay Mountains, BC)
Theresa Sciberras (Etobicoke, ON)
Leanne Vida (St. Catharines, ON)
Priscilla (Tsartlip First Nation)
Robin (Hawai’i, USA)