Radical Cosmologies was framed as a democratic, heuristic, and active curatorial structure with which to push academic and artistic boundaries. It was originally devised by Tom Leeser and myself as a fluid concept through which the philosophical underpinnings of contemporary cultural production could be critically considered.
From a theoretical perspective, the project became a platform for thinkers, writers, scientists, artists, and interdisciplinary researcher/practitioners to engage in a range of discussions and projects that examined concepts such as space, time, scale and context; complex systems; satellite communications; astronomy; physics; solar eclipses; string theory; rocket science; aerial technologies; science fiction; colonialism; capitalism; and more.
Acoustic ecologies form the basis of many of these explorations. These mappings are used to critically examine, enhance and augment understandings of environments and systems – both physical and cultural.
In the following essay, Meredith Hoy explores acoustic ecologies through the fundamental framework of Radical Cosmologies. Cosmology (from the Greek kosmos, meaning “universe,” and –logia, “study”) is the study of the universe in its totality, and by extension, humanity’s place in it. Physical cosmology shapes this understanding through analytical relationships to science, whereas the domains of intellectual understanding, intuition, religion, spirituality, and the arts as formative concepts dominate the philosophical perspective of cosmology. Radical Cosmologies marks a considerable departure from the usual or traditional readings of cosmologies in order to consider extreme changes in thinking within interdisciplinary cultural and scientific research and artistic production.
Acoustic ecologies continue to extend the active exploration of soundscapes. As documents, they hold value as culturally, historically, and aesthetically important registers that can help fill gaps in the way environmental data is gathered and perceived. They extend the possibilities for the arts as a metric through which to evaluate specific systems dynamics. Often dispersed through elastic media, they provide evidence of the evolution of the acoustic mechanisms, as well as the evolution of the systems that are explored.
They also enlarge how the culture of sound mapping can expand our understanding of human and environmental phenomena through sonic tapestries that can also be valued for their aesthetic merits. And finally, they can help us better see how creative relationships can connect theoretical concepts to complex environments – and what all this looks like in the 21st Century.
Lea Rekow is an internationally-based transdisciplinary researcher/practitioner and curator. Her current project, Green My Favela, focuses on reclaiming critically degraded space for more productive use inside the favelas of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
learekow.com / greenmyfavela.org