The intersection of technology and music is a rapidly growing field. With advancements in digital audio software and hardware, musicians and sound artists continue to push the boundaries of what is possible in music and sound production. One area where technology has had a significant impact is in the field of acoustic ecology, which explores the relationship between humans and the natural soundscape.

Recently, two undergraduate students from Oberlin College’s Technology in Music and Related Arts (TIMARA) program had the opportunity to attend an international conference on acoustic ecology hosted by the World Forum for Acoustic Ecology (WFAE) in New Smyrna Beach, Florida. The conference provided a platform for artists, researchers, and scholars from around the world to share their work and discuss the latest developments in the field.

Ivy Fu on stage presenting research
Ivy Fu presents her research at WFAE. Photo courtesy of Ivy Fu.

Ivy Fu, a fifth-year TIMARA and art history student, presented a paper on surveillance and listening. The paper’s content mirrors the popular ExCo course Ivy is co-teaching this spring. Her work explored the ways in which technology has enabled new forms of surveillance and monitoring, and how this has impacted our relationship to our sonic environment. Ivy was thrilled to have the opportunity to “meet so many incredibly warm and supportive researchers and artists from all over the world!” TIMARA and Studio art double degree student Maya McCollum shared “To Carry Forward,” a sound installation featuring woven vessels constructed using materials gathered from her surrounding landscape of Oberlin, OH that she used to give voice to familial memories and to explore the ‘interconnectivity of global ecologies’. The project was installed at the library on site.

Homemade woven speakers attached to a bookcase in front of books.
A portion of Maya McCollum’s “To Carry Forward” installation. Photo courtesy of Maya McCollum.

Attending conferences like the WFAE’s can be an invaluable experience for undergraduate students. It provides them with an opportunity to network with professionals in their field, learn about the latest developments in the industry, and share their own work with a wider audience. For Ivy and Maya, the conference was a chance to connect with other like-minded individuals who are passionate about exploring the intersection of technology, art, and the environment. Ivy and Maya’s experience at the WFAE conference is a testament to the importance of supporting undergraduate research and providing opportunities for students to engage with professionals in their field. As technology continues to shape the music industry and the way we experience sound, TIMARA is proud to be able to continue to invest in the education and development of the next generation of artists and researchers.