聲音生態學 Acoustic Ecology

"I try to listen to the still, small voice within but I can't hear it above the din"

Little Audrey's Story by Eliza Ward

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用攝影來記錄生活片段或捕抓美景,似乎已經是生活中習以為常的事情;如果說攝影是記錄眼睛所見的「地景 (Landscape)」,那耳朵所捕抓的,便是該地的「音景 (Soundscape)」了。人們的記憶,是由不同的感知所疊加而成,除了視覺外,聽覺也是難以抹去的一環,像是回想起親身遊歷的沙灘,除了碧海藍天景色外,如果少了海浪與風聲,記憶便難以完整。而聲音生態學 (Acoustic Ecology,或稱Ecoacoustics),便是以音景研究(Soundscape)為主的學門,探討聲音(Sounds)在生物(live beings)跟所處環境(environment and society)間交互作用的關係。當一個人開始有意識地面對周遭的聲音,聽覺與身處的自然環境產生連結,其中的互動關係,便是聲音生態學所關注的中心問題。 

Capturing the moment with photographs seems to be common for our everyday life. If photography is an art of observation of Landscape, then what we hear with our ears is Soundscape. Our memory is overlain with different senses including visual and auditory parts and both of them are indispensable. Acoustic Ecology, sometimes called ecoacoustics, is a discipline studying the relationship, mediated through sound, between human beings and their environment.



在倫敦多樣的音樂創作與研究項目中,「聲音生態學」是門橫跨許多不同領域的學問,其理論與應用上,從純粹聆聽、認知神經科學到都市計劃都有所涵蓋。值得一提的是,倫敦近年的大型開發案中,已經逐漸把聲音與環境的關係納入考量。不僅僅是從噪音防治的角度切入,而是開始思考「環境與聲音」的交互作用,將聲音視為生態系的一環。例如在不同城市場景中該呈現的聲音樣貌,與該地的活動、人群該呈現怎樣的有機互動關係,以及一地音景的改變對既有生態造成的影響等等。在學院派的作曲、聲音藝術相關系所中,音景研究與創作也早已是必然會討論的主題之一。

Among diverse music productions and researches, Acoustic Ecology is a study that across many different fields, whose theory and application covers from pure listening, cognitive neuroscience to urban planning. On top of that, recent large-scale development in London has taken the relationship between sound and environment into consideration. Like how sound would be perceived in different city landscapes and how change of one soundscape would bring influence to the ecology. Soundscape production and research has already been an essential topics in sound art related departments.


 
聲音生態學的發展,與Murray Schafer和他所帶領的WSP (World Soundscape Project)有很大關聯,在最早的溫哥華音景計畫 (The Vancouver Soundscape)施行後,此一領域逐漸受到世界各地研究者與藝術家的關注,並在1993年發展為國際性的社群World Forum of Acoustic Ecology (WFAE)。自從WFAE在加拿大Banff創立後,每三年會有一個國際性研討會舉辦。雖然一開始WSP主要關注日益嚴重的噪音污染問題,但在聲音社會學 (Sonic Sociology)與廣播藝術 (Radio Art)的基礎下,隨著大眾對環境聲響注意力的提升,聲音生態學在許多不同領域都有所推展,除了眾多奠基於Schafer著作、理論發展的作品外,也有不同形式、想法的音景作品與計劃誕生,呈現的蓬勃的多樣性。近年的音景創作,往往會圍繞著城市發展進行討論,Emily Thompson曾在其著作中寫到,音景就如地景一樣,受都市化的影響遠比自然環境多更多,是一直處於不斷建構與正在改變中的狀態,因此當代社會的音景,其實就是自從工業化後人們聽覺想像的建構;我們如何解讀聲音事件、如何模擬與再現,甚至轉化為文字或其他創作形式,自古便是人類文化的組成部份之一。(關於音景作曲 Soundscape Composition有空會另外介紹)

The development of Acoustic Ecology has a lot to do with Murray Schafer and his WSP (World Soundscape Project). After the implement of The Vancouver Soundscape, the field of Acoustic Ecology has drawn public’s attention which gave rise to WFAE (World Forum of Acoustic Ecology ) in 1993. The forum holds an international seminar triennially.  At first, WSP focused on increasingly serious noise abatement issue, but with the foundation of Sonic Sociology and Radio Art, as well as public’s attention to ambience, Acoustic Ecology has been developing in many different fields. Normally, recent soundscape production focuses on urban development. As Emily Thompson mentioned in her work, A soundscape, like a landscape, ultimately has more to do with civilization than with nature, and as such, it is constantly, and as such, it is constantly under construction and always undergoing change. Hence, the contemporary soundscape is actually a construction of our auditory imagination from industrialization. How we perceive sound; how the sound imitate and re-occur and even transform into characters or other forms has been part of human culture from ancient times.


 
個人認為,聲音生態學的發展,其實可以視為人們對視覺主導認知的反思。「聽覺」其實是人類最天生的知覺,即使在睡夢中也未曾關閉;人的耳朵處理資訊的細緻程度,其實遠超過眼睛接收的視覺(影像只要每秒30格以上大腦便會解讀成連續的動作,然而聲音卻需要數以千倍的頻率才能有相同效果)。但由於日常生活中充斥太多感官刺激與過於依賴視覺的結果,使得聽覺感知較易被人們忽略。如同Schafer所提出的Eye Culture概念,在社會上極為強勢的視覺霸權,常年來逐漸侵削了人們在聽覺上的感知能力,近代社會過於習慣用眼睛所見來建構對事物的理解,使聆聽的本能長期遭到忽略。身處嘈雜的城市中,我們每天都被迫接收著各式各樣習以為常的聲音。車流聲、施工、捷運進站、鍋碗瓢盆碰撞聲…在大腦的防禦機制下,人們會自動過濾習以為常的噪音,卻鮮少會嘗試換一個角度去看待聲音,或試著去發現各種不被察覺的細微聲響。
  Personally, I think the development of Acoustic Ecology could be our reflection to visual dominance cognition. We are born with an auditory sense and actually ears are better at dealing with information than eyes. However, our daily life is flooded with stimulus of many senses and auditory sense is likely to be ignored. Just like the Eye Culture concept Schafer has raised, the visual dominance exploit our auditory skill in this society. People overly rely on eyes to understand the world instead of using ears. Immersed in the busy city, we are forced to receive many kinds of noise and we will filter noises that we are accustomed to through brain’s defense mechanism. However few of us will try to confront with them from another perspective or to discover those imperceptible sound.

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在聲音生態學的實務研究上,舉例來說,上圖是英國Columbia西海岸自然音景 (natural soundscape)在不同年份時不同聲源音量上的相對大小 (from Truax 1984: 142)。我們可從中發現,各種聲音的消長,其實暗示了不同產業活動、生活樣態的興衰,例如族群遷移、新技術發明、貿易重心轉移等等。此類型的聲音數據,可彌補一般經濟活動資料或社會科學研究的不足,從聲音的角度去尋找或補充更細緻的解釋。除了上述的例子,聲音生態學者還會去探討各種建設,如道路、機場等聲音對環境的影響;透過各種留聲裝置跟傳播技術的發展,來理解世界運作的脈絡;此外還有探討生物如何面對與使用聲音的Bioacoustics學門,著手處理身為客體或主體時生物對人為噪音的反應。

Speaking of the practical research on Acoustic Ecology, for example, the above image shows the relative volume of natural soundscape from different sound sources in British Columbia Western Coast. It is not hard to find out that the growth and decline of sound implies the rise and fall of different industries and lives, such as population migration, discovery of new technology, shift in global trade and so on. These kind of sound data gives more explanation to economic activity and researches of social science. What’s more, acoustic ecologist discuss the impact that the sound of constructions like roads and airports has on environment with the development of communication technology. They also deal with how living things face Bioacoustics and examine the reaction when living things encounter artificial noises.


 
更多Acoustic Ecology的介紹可以參考An Introduction To Acoustic Ecology這篇文章,本篇圖片皆出自該文章,對聲音生態學有深入淺出的介紹。