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upstream ensemble

upstream ensemble
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forms of minutiae and TBA21–Academy present "upstream ensemble", a communal happening and aqueous sound piece initiated and composed by field recordist, artist, and f–o–m co-founder Pablo Diserens.

During the 2022/23 digital residency hosted by TBA21–Academy’s, Pablo Diserens launched an open call inviting members of its online platform ocean comm/uni/ty (and external enthusiasts) to venture into the world and record aqueous sonic encounters. The aim of this collective liquid attuning was to gather sound recordings from various wet ecologies while stimulating listening and field recording gestures regardless of any previous experience.

Recordings from 35 contributors were woven into the long-form sound composition "upstream ensemble" which navigates between the multiplicity of the water cycle as a sounding body. The work moves upstream through oceans, rivers, pipe networks, ponds, and glaciers while investigating the continuous flow of water and the environments that surround it. Listeners encounter drifting habitats trickling with the songs of sea lions, dolphins, blue whales, humpback whales, Arctic terns, and algae photosynthesis – as well as with the invasive hums of submarines’ sonars, boats, and human infrastructures. With "upstream ensemble" some of the world’s aqueous fauna, flora, geologies, and technologies mingle into a synchronized motion that documents the sonic articulations of these wet zones.

In resonance with Pauline Oliveros’ Deep Listening practice and inspired by Rachel Carson’s exploration of the intertidal zone in her book "The Edge of the Sea", this project contributes to an ever-expanding list of works that propose a focus on listening as a way of engaging and existing with the planet’s waters. By stimulating shared listening and attuning practices, Pablo Diserens aims to develop a sense of interconnectedness by blurring the boundaries between species as well as environments. Experiencing aqueous biomes both individually and collectively acts as a way of rethinking our relationships with the world. Despite these being mostly solitary experiences, Pablo believes that field recording and listening are communal and environmental practices that form gateways for earthly synchronicity and world mapping in time and space. Thus listening in turn can become a political act that sparks emotional bonds with the world and its biotic communities.

> All proceeds of the release will be donated to the Blue Marine Foundation, an organization working towards the health and the conservation of the oceans by securing marine protected areas, restoring marine habitats, developing models of sustainable fishing, and connecting people with the sea and enhancing ocean understanding across generations

> TBA21–Academy is TBA21's research center fostering a deeper relationship with the Ocean and other bodies of water through the lens of art to inspire care and action. Established in 2011, the Academy has since worked as an incubator for collaborative inquiry, artistic production, and environmental advocacy, catalyzing new forms of knowledge emerging from the exchanges between art, science, policy, and conservation. The ocean comm/uni/ty is an online social space developed and hosted by TBA21–Academy for ocean lovers, researchers and practitioners to gather, discover and (un)learn across oceans.

> Pablo (Rana) Diserens (they/she) is a field recordist, musician, filmmaker, and artist devoted to attentive listening, non-human realities, and possible forms of interspecies coexistence. Rooted in ecological engagement and site-specificity, they investigate gestures of presence through a weaving of sound, images and texts. These bring to the foreground the acoustic, bio- and geological features of explored environments with the intention of fostering earthly connections.


> Listening with good speakers or headphones is recommended as the piece features a large range of frequencies (notably blue whales' subsonic calls).


publishing platform for sonic ecologies, attuning listenings, and electroacoustic music.

artists are invited to produce sound topographies that point to specific (or imagined) environments.

curated by pablo diserens & mathieu bonnafous

> demos: we encourage submissions by women, trans, non-binary and BIPOC artists.

Found tracks

pablo diserens & the ocean comm/uni/ty - upstream ensemble