Ear to the Earth: A Festival of Sound, Music and Ecology

If you are in the New York City area and don't have plans for the weekend yet you can catch the tail end of Ear to the Earth, a festival of sound, music and ecology. Experience the sounds of extinct, threatened and endangered species, including birds and animals that you may never hear again in the sound installation Suspended Sounds. It premiers tonight at 7pm with encore performances at 8, 9, 10 as well as Saturday at the same times. Head to the 3LD Art & Technology Center in the Financial district to catch the shows.

Animals represented in the piece hail from all corners of the world. Sounds come from the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and New York City Audubon. Without the restrictive bounds of graphics, the listener sits in the middle of an immersive 3-dimensional sound space, free to simply savor the amazing soundscapes created using the sounds of these animals. One can imagine being in the midst of birds in an aviary, or in a jungle or rainforest, or swimming with whales underwater. It's a relaxing and welcome break from the hustle and bustle of the city.

Joan La Barbara, one of the contributors to the project says: "As I worked with the sounds of these now extinct or endangered animals and birds, the depth of the poignancy of the situation was almost overwhelming." Indeed, hearing the sounds of the Helmetted Hornbill, the Probiscus Monkey, the Hawaiian Crow and the Dusky Seaside Sparrow struck a chord with me and shed new light on the relatively abstract concept of species extinction. New York City Green Drinkers (myself included) got a sneak preview the show this past Tuesday.

Other events in the festival include Water and Ice by UNESCO's Young Digital Creators, Elevated Harmonies a tube-come-recording instrument that transforms the city's sounds into "a living harmonic series" and Calls of the Wild a lunchtime (11am-3pm) performance that will transform the World Financial Center's Winter Garden into Glacier Bay National Park, the Madagascar rainforest, Sumatra forest, California coast, and Sierra Nevada Mountains using field recordings from the Wild Sanctuary archives.

For the full schedule check out the website :: Ear to the Earth