The LA Listens team is comprised of sound researchers and practitioners with a commitment to the communities and ecology of Los Angeles. We have worked together since 2015.
Wendy Hsu is an ethnomusicologist and sound ethnographer working on public humanities and civic design projects. As a researcher, they have done fieldwork to uncover the politics of street music-culture in Taipei and its fraught relationship with the changing urban environment. Combining their interest in sound research and civic art, they co-founded Movable Parts, a maker collective that reimagines public spaces in Los Angeles. Currently a digital strategist and impact researcher at the City of Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs and founder of Lab at DCA, they bring to this project experience in civic arts administration and knowledge in the City’s placemaking programming and policy. Hsu has a PhD in Critical and Comparative Studies in Music from the University of Virginia and has taught at University of Virginia, Occidental College, and Art Center College of Design.
Steven Kemper is a composer of acoustic and electroacoustic music and a music technologist who focuses on interactive technologies and robotics. Many of his electroacoustic compositions incorporate soundscape and found sounds. Steven has recently embarked upon a series of pieces inspired by Henri Lefebvre’s concept of Rhythmanalysis, using sonographic analysis of field recordings to explore the site-specific emergent patterns of sound that occur in urban environments, such as the ebb and flow of vehicular traffic. Steven received a Ph.D. in composition and computer technologies from the University of Virginia and is currently Assistant Professor of music technology and composition in the Music Department at the Mason Gross School of the Arts at Rutgers University.
Jessica Blickley is a biologist who works at the intersection of bioacoustics, animal behavior and conservation biology. She has a PhD in Ecology from the University of California Davis and currently works as the Science Specialist in the Center for Digital Liberal Arts at Occidental College, where she explores the teaching and research applications of digital tools and technology. Her previous research has investigated how animals respond to human-induced changes to the local soundscape, specifically looking at the impacts of noise on the Greater Sage-Grouse, a bird of conservation concern. As a collaborator on the LA Listens project, she explores the effects of urban sounds and noise on the individual and collective behavior of the humans and animals of Los Angeles.
Rounak Maiti is an audio producer, self taught musician and research assistant at LA Listens. Inspired by storytelling and urban ethnography, he uses sound as his primary medium for research, spatial activation and creative projects. Currently, Rounak produces The Par Desi, a podcast about South Asian diaspora and contemporary culture. His original musical work varies from Americana singer-songwriter to experimental concrete music.