Whistle in the Outer Lands

Utkin ( Hanna Utkin )
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[ private ] 
The human experience is highly sonic. Sounds affect human activity - as well as animal activity.

Elephants will alter their landscape, clearing out large hollow spaces called bais, to echo and amplify their voices so that they can better hear each other. Whales will sing, learning space through vestibular sound localization techniques, to navigate new territory.

Birds, insects and mammals each occupy their own acoustic niches. Each use a specific range of frequencies (not unlike the internet) to communicate sounds of danger, mating, and existence - life, to their own species.

But birds living near roads have difficulty learning songs and communicating with potential mates. If mating calls go unheard, a species might die out. Whales, the masters of underwater travel, now frequently collide with ocean vessels. Their songs are disguised by the noise of extensive shipping routes.

In the past decade, animal life has become increasingly quiet. In its place - is the din of human activity.

The roaring of an airplane, the rumble of a highway. Even in the remotest of wild spaces.

Bernie Krause, an acoustic ecologist and former Hollywood sound designer, left film sets for forests as he set out to capture the sounds of a rapidly quieting natural world.

In his TED talk, Krause describes how the sound of Lincoln Meadow, CA changed after a so called ‘no-impact’ selective logging operation. He recorded the meadow’s dawn chorus before the operation and returned after - returning a total of 15 times for over 25 years. Despite the fact that the forest appeared healthy, it never sounded healthy. The forest had simply never returned to it’s full symphony of sound - and hasn’t since.

My latest piece - Whistle in the Outer Lands - is about the emotional impact of sound and the longing for a peaceful, vibrant existence with nature.

I believe that an increased interest in listening will bring noise barriers and protection for both our soundscapes and landscapes. To understand space, to get in touch with the beat of life - I urge you, wherever you are - to listen.  
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