Aural Soilscapes: Sensory Challenges in a Subterranean World


Session Title:

  • Machinic Sense & Sensibility: Sensing Spaces and Places

Presentation Title:

  • Aural Soilscapes: Sensory Challenges in a Subterranean World



  • Sound is an omnipresent feature of all ecosystems, including the ecosystem soil. Since Rachel Carson’s influential work Silent Spring in 1962, sounds have been inextricably linked to the health of ecosystems. The living inhabitants of soil, including plants and their associated microorganisms are capable of producing and perceiving sounds at low frequencies to interact with each other. However, climate changes, such as temperature increase and reduced soil moisture can impact interactions among soil inhabitants, which will likely hamper interactions through sounds.

    Sounds could thus be seen as an indicator of ecosystem health, which in turn is impacted by climate change. As an artist-researcher working with sound, space and technology and as a microbiologist working with the effects of climatic changes on soil microorganisms associated with plants, they aim to combine their expertise to approach this yet unexplored topic by giving a voice to the inaudible and invisible living in soil and to expand their ecological consciousness to climate change. Their ongoing experiments are leading them to renew their consciousness of this subterranean world, thus enabling them to interact with its subtle presence.