General Ecology of Things, by Barney Kass

Please find below the updates on Barney’s research into ecologies of space, sound and mental health.

Update #1:

The major problems in the world are the result of the difference between how nature works and the way people think - Gregory Bateson

A General Ecology of Things is an exploration into social ecosystems, anthropology and community.

An ecosystem is defined as an interconnected biological community of perfectly individual organisms interacting with their physical environment. I invite you to observe yourself as an ecosystem. A complex system with highly collaborative elements that nourishes and ultimately enables us to survive. An ecosystem is reliant on a fine balance between everything within the “community” and the different mutualistic and parasitic relationships that exist within them.

Sound and music has been embedded in our culture for as long as people have formed communities. We hear as a form of protection and communication between each other and the environment. It has been argued that even the caves we once chose to live, pray and paint in during the Palaeolithic era were specifically chosen for their acoustic properties, either to protect us from intruders or to utilise reverberant spaces to create an ethereal euphoric environment. It has now developed over time into a powerful form of expression that binds us together. Cultures from around the world have used sound and ritual to connect with their surroundings and empower themselves for generations. A common hole in our cultural fabric surrounding well-being is connection.

Update #2:

How can we reconstruct our daily surroundings to recapture our sonic and physical environments?

Paul de Kort is a landscape artist who in collaboration with architects H.N.S to produce the ‘Ground Sound’ park in Amsterdam. The surrounding area was being deeply affected by the noise pollution from a nearby airport and the noisy city soundscape.

The park encourages the public to enjoy nature whilst minimising noise pollution coming from a nearby airport creating which was affecting the mental health of the surrounding residents and causing housing prices to drop.

This sound absorption is being done by the artist, de Kort, by selecting specific plants such as oak trees that have acoustic properties to absorb and reflect disturbing sound waves both protecting people inside the park and nearby homes.

The park also utilises sound mirrors originally a technique used in World War 2 as early warning devices. de Kort appropriates these mirrors to expose natural soundscapes at specific view/listening points. The mirrors are aimed towards a “peaceful” sonic environment; when a listeners head is at the focal point, they are exposed to the highlighted and calming soundscape.

Climate and Cities is a collective
which investigates the interactions
of climate and cities through
creative research and projects.

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