Interspecies Music: Soundscapes in the Contact Zones?

Lecture and Discussion with Martin Ullrich
May 17th 2018

Jim Nollman, Session between a wild Orca and a guitarist recorded at OrcaLab, in the waters off the east coast of Vancouver Island, using hydrophones and an underwater speaker (1979)

Music and sound art can serve as a means to fortify anthropological difference, but they can also act subversively against human exceptionalism. In any case, given the abundance of animal music and sound art, the concept of interspecies music offers an aesthetic encounter zone for humans and non-human animals. After discussing cultural-historical stations where animals and humans have interacted musically and analysing selected contemporary examples of interspecies music, the question will be raised whether the joint production of music or the making of common soundscapes by members of different species can contribute to a world that could be inhabitable.

Martin Ullrich is Professor of Interdisciplinary Music Research with a focus on Human-Animal Studies at the Nuremberg University of Music. He is a member of several interdisciplinary research groups on human-animal relations and has published on questions of animal music and the relationship between human music and animal sounds.