[ISEA2023] Paper: David McFarlane — Towards a Methodology for Co-creating Artistic Acoustic Ecologies with the Great Lakes


Full Paper. Theme: Ecosystems – Climate Change Subtheme: Symbiotic Individuations

The paper discusses the early stages of the development of a methodology for co-creating artistic acoustic ecologies with the Great Lakes. It explores some initial philosophical, technological, creative/musical, and ethical concerns involved in my PhD research-creation project entitled: “Sounds Like Music, To Me.” In the paper, the artist askes how we might come to understand these bodies of water as animated actors in their own rights, with their own unique subjectivities. In doing so, he hope to facilitate a greater understanding of human impact on, relationships to, and responsibilities toward the lakes and all other waters.

  • David McFarlane: I am a visual artist, musician and creative director in the digital design industry, based in Toronto, Canada. I have been practicing professionally as an artist for 30 years and have exhibited my work across Canada. My conceptually informed artwork takes form in sculpture, photography, video, installation and site-sensitive performance work. I see my artmaking practice as a ‘rendering of ideas’ and seek to bring each work forth in whatever materials, means or processes are best suited for each idea. My work explores themes such as identity, territory and boundary, and most recently, I am concerned with making ecological art, rather than art about ecology. My activities as a musician include songwriting, composition for film, soundscape composition and live performance. I lead a band that plays my original compositions and I also perform in a free improvisation collective called The Smoking Mothers. I have been recording, engineering and producing my own music for over 30 years in a variety of settings ranging from a modest home studio to large professional studios. I have also worked as a Creative Director for over 25 years, leading large teams in the digital design field. As a creative and technology innovator I have specialized in brand identity design and digital strategy initiatives for many global brands. I am currently a second year PhD student at Toronto Metropolitan University. My research-creation project, by design, affords me the opportunity to combine and draw from my experience and abilities as an artist, musician, communications specialist and researcher.