upstream ensemble 

produced during a residency with TBA21
in collaboration with 34 contributors
field recordings, open call, workshop, communal sound piece
digital — 30:29
published on TBA21’s Ocean Archive

As part of their digital residency with TBA21’s Ocean-Archive, Pablo Diserens invited members of the ocean comm/uni/ty (and external enthusiasts) to venture in the world and record aqueous sonic encounters. The aim of this collective liquid attuning was to gather sound recordings from various wet ecologies while stimulating listening and field recording gestures regardless of any previous experience. This was done through an open call and was supported by an online workshop on field recording.

Recordings from 35 contributors were woven into the long-form sound composition Upstream Ensemble which navigates between the multiplicity of the water cycle as a sounding body. The work moves upstream through oceans, rivers, pipe networks, ponds, and glaciers while investigating the continuous flow of water and the environments that surround it. Here, the world’s aqueous fauna, flora, geologies, and technologies mingle into a synchronized motion that documents the sonic articulations of these wet zones.

In resonance with Pauline Oliveros’ Deep Listening practice and Rachel Carson’s exploration of the intertidal zone in The Edge of the Sea, this project proposes a focus on attentive listening as a way of engaging and existing with the planet’s waters. By stimulating shared listening and attuning practices, Pablo Diserens aims to develop a sense of interconnectedness by blurring the boundaries between species as well as environments. Experiencing aqueous biomes both individually and collectively acts as a way of rethinking our relationships with the world. Despite these being mostly solitary experiences, Pablo believes that field recording and listening are communal and environmental practices that form gateways for earthly synchronicity and world mapping in time and space. Thus listening in turn can become a political act that sparks emotional bonds with the world and its biotic communities.

Listen to and view the full project on the Ocean Archive ︎︎︎

> concept: Pablo Diserens and Fiona Middleton

> composition and mixing: Pablo Diserens

> with sound contributions by: Alëna Korolëva, Alexandros Maragkoudakis, Bence Kovács-Vajda, Christopher Dean, Cyane Findji, Damian Pace, Elise Rigot, Eliza Collin, Fiona Middleton, Francesco Previtali, Ilù Seydoux, Irene Mansoldo, Isabel Val, Jakob Köchert, Jean-Baptiste Goeffroy, Joana Moher, Katy Lewis Hood, Kosmas Phan Dinh, Kseniya Lushnikova, Leo Maassen, Ludwig Berger, Mat Eric Hart, Mathias Arrignon, Matty Yeomans, Mélia Roger, Moritz Zeisner, Nikos Sotirelis, Nina Blume, Ocean Networks Canada, Pablo Diserens, Sem Zeeman, Slavek Kwi, Surrealich, Thibault Noirot, Varoujan Cheterian.

Listening with good speakers or headphones is recommended as the piece features a large range of frequencies (notably blue whales' subsonic calls).

Special thanks to all the contributors, Fiona Middleton, Markus Reymann, Michal Kucerak, Petra Linhartova, TBA21, Madelyn Byrd, Diane Barbé, Lou Croff Blake, Thom Lucero, and Mélia Roger.


contributors’ pictures 

1. Moritz Zeisner, 2. Alëna Korolëva, 3. Alexandros Maragkoudakis, 4. Ilù Seydoux, 5. Thibault Noirot, 6. Christopher Dean, 7. Fiona Middleton, 8. Ludwig Berger, 9. Pablo Diserens



~ Briny Listenings: field recording and ecoattuning (happened on january 26th, 2023)
As a complementary happening to support their open call, Pablo Diserens gave a workshop on field recording and ecoattuning methodologies. The workshop presented various microphonic technologies and techniques, as well as ways of rethinking our place in an environment in order to attune to it and its soundscape. They shared influential field recording practitioners' frameworks and how their ideas have informed the discipline. Pablo also discussed their field experiences while sharing some of the sonic encounters they’ve made in marine and aqueous ecosystems. This blossomed into a playground for acoustic discoveries and curiosity as they shared sounds that some had never heard.

> Workshop’s video (only available with an ocean comm/uni/ty account ~ free to join)


about the project

Watch an introductory discussion between Pablo Diserens and Fiona Middleton (at the start of the project).

~ TBA21 & the ocean comm/uni/ty
TBA21–Academy is a contemporary art organization and cultural ecosystem fostering a deeper relationship to the Ocean through the lens of art to inspire care and action. Within TBA21’s digital ecosystem, the ocean comm/uni/ty is a meeting place for diving deep and crossing disciplines. The plaltform offers a space for researchers of all stripes, artistic/creative practitioners & ocean lovers to exchange and seek inspiration; to share and promote their work; to spark and maintain collaborations.


© Pablo Diserens — 2020 →  2023