5/13/2022 - Sandra Jasper

Geographer Sandra Jasper spoke on urban "fallows as sonic experimental fields" on May 13 at 5 pm as part of the seminar "Lautstark". The lecture titled "The City as a Refuge: Sound Cultures of Urban Fallows" took place online.

The City as a Refuge: Sound Cultures of Urban Fallows - Former train stations, shut down industrial sites, and other abandoned spaces in cities function as "acoustic refuges." These places offer animals and people a time out from the intensity of urban life. In Berlin, the skylark has found shelter between the runways of a disused airfield. Since the closure of the inner-city Tempelhof Airport, the soundscape has radically changed from excessive noise to sounds of wind, weather, animals and people. The song of the skylark, once mostly associated with agricultural landscapes, has become the characteristic sound of this former infrastructural area in the center of Berlin, highlighting the increasing importance of cities as biodiversity hotspots and retreats for urban nature. Through a series of case studies in Berlin - ranging from modern architecture to landscape design to sound art - the lecture traces the importance of fallows as sites for sonic experimentation and challenges the prevailing notion of the city as a place of noise.

Sandra Jasper holds a PhD in geography and is a junior professor at the Humboldt University in Berlin. Her research topics are urban nature, fallows, human-animal-environment relations, and the connections between health, biodiversity, and pollution in cities. She also works on soundscapes and feminist theory. She is co-editor of the book The Botanical City (jovis, 2020) and co-author and co-producer of the documentary Natura Urbana: The Brachen of Berlin (GB/D, 2017). She is currently writing a monograph on the experimental spaces of West Berlin, for which she received a Graham Foundation award.