Live streaming remote locations: Towards a real-­time audio network across the UNESCO Biosphere Reserves

Maria Papadomanolaki, Dawn Scarfe, Grant Smith

    Research output: Contribution to conferenceAbstractpeer-review


    We introduce the Cumbria Open Microphone Network (COMN), a live audio streaming project from the Furness Peninsula on the NW coast of England with Octopus Collective and the Cumbria Wildlife Trust. COMN is informed by site based work at an inner city ecology park in London's docklands. These projects form the basis of a multi partner project with Biosphere Soundscapes and others to set up a network of open microphones in the UNESCO biosphere reserves, as a resource for artists, researchers, activists and other listeners.
    30A new online audio stream from an exposed shingle beach on South Walney Island brings live sounds of seals and migrating birdsin to a stall in the covered market at Barrow in Furness, and the internet.We discuss how such an intervention might disturb our senses of space, time and value, in ways that both coincide with and differ from experiences with live video (a seal cam at the same site) and recorded sounds.Does the audio stream change, for instance, a sense of the extent of the place? Does it bring the coastal regions into the city in some ways. Does it even bring (certain) non humans into collective processes located in the city? Does it open the city, making its boundaries more porous?The fact that Barrow reportedly has the highest proportion of nature reserves per capita in the UK is not widely recognised by local residents or seasonal visitors, who are more likely aware of the region's key status in theUK's atomic weapons and energy programmes, with Sizewell power station along the coast, and giant fabrication sheds fornuclear submarines on the edge of town.Rather than seeking to displace notions of a ToxicCoast with more reassuring images of Nature,COMN assumes they are profoundly entangled at different spatial and temporal scales. Can liveaudio streams give ways of confronting, thinking, even celebrating the complexities of this compelling /horrifying hyperobject (Timothy Morton) -­and gaining a conceptual and experientialpurchase on it?Our thinking about COMN is strongly informed by experiences at Stave Hill Ecological Park, the direct successor to (perhaps) the world's first urban ecology park, formed in the ruins of London's docklands economy, where we have been working and reflecting from the insideabout acoustic and ecological invention (Gilles Clément), in the context of the ends of worlds (Timothy Morton, Anna Tsing).These projects provide the technical and conceptual basis for a new collaboration with Biosphere Soundscapes and local communities to set up a network of live audio streams in and between the UNESCO Biosphere reserves. We describe the scope of the project, starting from a pilot with the North Devon Biosphere Reserve at Braunton Burrows, within the remit of the Man and the Biosphere programme.
    Original languageEnglish
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2017
    EventSound + Environment: Art | Science | Listening | Collaboration - University of Hull, Hull, United Kingdom
    Duration: 29 Jun 20172 Jul 2017


    ConferenceSound + Environment
    Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom
    Internet address


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