Vibrations of the Imperceptible: Citizen Science, Big Data, and Bioacoustics

Join us for our next discussion on Friday, October 2 with Mickey Vallee from the University of Lethbridge.

This presentation looks at the relationship between philosophies of the Anthropocene, citizen science, and big data within the context of bioacoustics research. Bioacoustics has traditionally been a branch of science that isolates, records, and monitors sounds emitted from living organisms that are usually imperceptible to normal human hearing. From within the scientific community, bioacoustics has been a cost-effective means to monitor longterm changes in biodiversity. Currently, the increasing availability of recording technologies is expanding the work of bioacoustics data collection, incorporating hobbyist sound collectors who record sounds for scientific databases, as well as for more expanded purposes in culture and the arts. This expanding network of data collectors marks an important shift for the future of the earth, since vast, limitless, and global research teams will be needed to accrue data that appropriately represents the massive forces of ecological change. This new “crowdsourcing methodology” for data collection persists especially in online sonic preservation archives that rely greatly on the new “citizen scientists” to gather data for analysis.  Sound recording technologies (binaural sound recorders, ultrasonic transducers, hydrophonic devices, and many others) open new doors for (1) environmental monitoring, (2) citizen research and (3) big data. In the presentation, I propose that this move towards objectively captured subjective experience connects deeply with the current assemblages of human, non-human, more-than-human, and post-human actors that characterize philosophies of the Anthropocene.


Mickey Vallee is assistant professor of sociology at the University of Lethbridge.  His research focuses broadly on intersections between sound, subjectivity, technology, and the politics of social change in the context of contemporary social problems.

Lecture Series Examines Climate Change Through Pedagogical Lens

A nice little article about the series with thoughts from series curator, jan jagodzinksi, and our first speaker Brad Necyk. Looking forward to kicking things off this Friday, September 25!

“Anthropocene, Ecology, Pedagogy: The Future in Question” is an interdisciplinary forum that sets out to consider the complex questions surrounding the survival of the planet. Coordinated by Secondary Education professor jan jagodzinski, the event encompasses a series of twelve guest lectures over the course of the 2015–16 academic year, beginning with Edmonton artist Brad Necyk on September 25. Speakers in the series include artists, philosophers, filmmakers, and indigenous perspectives from the University of Alberta, and institutions across Canada and around the world.

“I wanted to set up this speaker series— in the European context, it’s called Ringvorlesung, which means that you get really interested people who have a penchant for the particular subject area. You get them together so you get a multi-disciplinary understanding of the subject,” jagodzinski explains.

Read the full article here.

Brad Necyk, Just a Hard Rain #39
Brad Necyk, Just a Hard Rain #39

Mapping a Hard Rain: Visuality and the Present with Brad Necyk

Our first conversation in the series will take place on September 25 (12-1pm) with artist and scholar Brad Necyk. mark your calendars! Check out more of Brad Necyk’s work by visiting his website.

Image by Brad Necyk from the series 'Just a Hard Rain'
Image by Brad Necyk from the series ‘Just a Hard Rain’

Brad Necyk received his MFA at the University of Alberta and is working through the mediums of photography, video, film and performance. He currently is the Artist in Residence with the Friends of the University Hospitals and Transplant Services Alberta Health Services for the length of 2015 and is a Master of Science candidate in Psychiatry. His current work focuses on ethnography, psychiatry, pharmaceutics and biopolitics. His other current work has been looking at ecology with a focus on specific objects within an ecosystem (plutonium-239, Junk DNA, viruses, Turing Tests, holograms) as strategic modes for engaging in artistic reproduction, mutations and revolt.  He has been shown around Canada, an artist in the 2015 Alberta Biennial, participated in artists’ residencies, delivered academic papers internationally, is a Scholar in the Integrative Health Institute at the University of Alberta and is currently teaching a number of senior level courses in Drawing and Intermedia at the University of Alberta.

Series Program + Schedule

Fall 2015 Series Speakers

Time  |  Noon-1PM +

Location  |  Arts-Based Research Studio (Education North 4-104)

Friday, Sept. 25 |  Brad Necyk  |  Artist, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada

Friday, Oct. 2  |  Mickey Vallee  |  Department of Socioiology, University of Lethbridge, Lethbridge, Alberta, Canada

Friday Oct. 9  |  Selmin Kara  |  Film, Documentary, New Media, Ontario College of Art and Design (OCAD), Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Friday Oct. 30  |  Mia Feuer  |  Environmental Artist, California College of the Arts in San Francisco, USA

Friday Nov. 20  |  Nathan Snaza  |  Department of English, University of Richmond, Virginia, USA

Friday Nov. 27  |  Nick Dyer-Witherford  |  Faculty of Information & Media Studies, University of Western Ontario, London, Canada

Fri. Dec. 4th  |  To Be Confirmed