Adaptive Environments: Ambient Media and the Temporalities of Sonic Selfcare

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Focusing on the ambient-sound-app Endel this essay addresses intersections of sonic self-care and smart environmental biopolitics. By examining the technology in relation to concepts of care and subjectivation as well as its reliance on digital infrastructures of data generation Endel is placed in the specific epistemological context of ambient media. The history of ambient sound and environmental music that can be traced through the 20th and 21st century negotiates modes of perception and attention in specific relations of hearing subjects and their surroundings. These are contextualized as modes of sonic meditation mediating relationships of foreground and background by practicing differentiations of noise and information. Promising adaptive generative soundscapes as ways for listeners to calm down and focus Endel inscribes itself into the history of environmental sound and algorithmic music. The essay situates Endels PR claims of adaptability in the context of a history of sonic media as ‘environments’ and shows how the app operates as a medium of temporal effects and data generation.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationTechniques of Hearing : History, Theory and Practices
EditorsMichael Schillmeier, Robert Stock, Beate Ochsner
Number of pages12
Place of PublicationLondon
PublisherRoutledge Taylor & Francis Group
Publication date21.10.2022
ISBN (Print)978-0-367-71397-3, 978-0-367-71418-5
ISBN (Electronic)978-1-003-15076-3
Publication statusPublished - 21.10.2022
Externally publishedYes