Organised Sound

Research Article

EcoSono: Adventures in interactive ecoacoustics in the world

Matthew Burtnera1 c1

a1 Department of Music, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, VA 22903, USA


I only went out for a walk, and finally concluded to stay out till sundown, for going out, I found, was really going in.

John Muir (1913)

This article describes several recent projects that together illustrate an evolving practice and a philosophy of ecoacoustic sound art called EcoSono. These projects foreground adventure – the live, in-person engagement with the world. As a technological sound art practice, EcoSono uses technology to link human and environmental expression, in an attempt to define a collaborative and symbiotic relationship between humans and the natural world. At the core of this work are computational and transduction technologies enabling deeper human–environment interaction. This paper describes three projects including the MICE (Mobile Interactive Computer Ensemble) World Tour, the EcoSono Institute music/science collaboration adventure, and the Agents Against Agency series in emergent and improvised musical forms. The article also addresses several key values of interactive ecoacoustics. First, it describes the importance of ‘impracticality’ in creating a productive environmentalist art work. The article also makes the case that the purpose of outdoor recording is not the acquisition of material samples, but to hear the world and learn from it.


c1 E-mail: