This post is also available in: French
I acknowledge that I live and work in the unceded and unsurrendered Territory of the Anishinabe Algonquin Nation, whose presence in the Ottawa region reaches back to time immemorial. This acknowledgement is also a commitment.
what is the conscient podcast ?
The conscient podcast is a series of conversations and monologues about art and the ecological crisis. This podcast is bilingual (in either English or French). Episode notes are translated.
I started the conscient project in 2020 as a personal learning journey and knowledge sharing exercise. It has been rewarding, and sometimes surprising.
The term ‘conscient’ is defined as ‘being aware of one’s surroundings, thoughts and motivations’. My touchstone for the podcast is episode 1, e01 terrified, based on an essay I wrote in May 2019, where I share my anxiety about the climate crisis and my belief that arts and culture can play a critical role in raising public awareness about environmental issues. The conscient podcast follows up on my http://simplesoundscapes.ca (2016–2019) project: 175, 3-minute audio and video field recordings that explore mindful listening.
- Season 1 (May to October 2020) explored how the arts contribute to environmental awareness and action. I produced 3 episodes in French and 15 in English. The episodes cover a wide range of content, including activism, impact measurement, gaming, arts funding, cross-sectoral collaborations, social justice, artistic practices, etc. Episodes 8 to 17 were recorded while I was at the Creative Climate Leadership USA course in Arizona in March 2020 (led by Julie’s Bicycle). Episode 18 is a compilation of highlights from these conversations.
- Season 2 (March 2021 – August 2021 ) explored the concept of reality and was about accepting reality, working through ecological grief and charting a path forward. The first episode of season 2 (e19 reality) mixes quotations from 28 authors with field recordings from simplesoundscapes and from my 1998 soundscape composition, Au dernier vivant les biens. One of my findings from this episode is that ‘I now see, and more importantly, I now feel in my bones, ‘the state of things as they actually exist’, without social filters or unsustainable stories blocking the way’. e19 reality touches upon 7 topics: our perception of reality, the possibility of human extinction, ecological anxiety and ecological grief, hope, arts, storytelling and the wisdom of indigenous cultures. The rest of season 2 featured 41 interviews with thought leaders about their responses and reactions to e19 reality.
- Season 3 (October 2021 – ) is about radical listening : listening deeply without passing judgment, knowing the truth and filtering out the noise and opening attention to reality and responding to what needs to be done. The format is similar the first podcast format I did in 2016 with the simplesoundscapes project, which was to ‘speak my mind’ and ‘think out loud’. Season 3 will be a series of unscripted and unedited monologues (except for the occasional insert of quotes and soundscape compositions and some short conversations). This work will guided by intuition (as opposed to intellect) and with a lightness of touch (shorter, more fun). I decided to start season 3 with a ‘soundscape composition’, like I did in season 1 and 2. Season 3’s composition is e63 a case study (part 1) and e64 a case study (part 2). It’s bilingual speculative fiction radio play, set in an undergraduate university history seminar course called ‘History of 2021 in Canada’.
my professional services
I’ve been retired from the Canada Council for the Arts since September 15, 2020 where I served as a senior strategic advisor in arts granting (2016-2020) and manager of the Inter-Arts Office (1999-2015). My focus in (quasi) retirement is environmental issues within my area of expertise in arts and culture, in particular in acoustic ecology. I’m open to become involved in projects that align with my values and that move forward environmental concerns. Feel free to email me for a conversation : firstname.lastname@example.org or on my cell (613) 255 6468.
acknowledgement of eco-responsibility
I acknowledge that the production of the conscient podcast produces carbon. I try to minimize this carbon footprint by being as efficient as possible, including using GreenGeeks as my web server and acquiring carbon offsets for my equipment and travel activities from BullFrog Power and Less.
a word about privilege and bias
While recording episode 19 ‘reality’, I heard elements of ‘privilege’ in my voice that I had not noticed before. It sounded a bit like ‘ecological mansplaining’. I realize that, in spite of good intentions, I need to work my way through issues of privilege (of all kinds) and unconscious bias the way I did through ecological anxiety and grief during the fall of 2020. My re-education is ongoing.
selected other public activities
Sustainability in the Cultural Sector (2020 06 08) : video of a panel on culture and SDG as part of Together-Ensemble conference. My presentation is @ 32 minutes
Claude Schryer on ElectroCD (2020 05 01) publisher of my electroacoustic music since 1998
Terrified awakening — sound artist Claude Schryer talks about art, climate grief and hope (2020 04 30) : a podcast by Victoria Fenner on my podcast for Rabble.ca