Our Team

Wendy Hsu is an ethnomusicologist and sound ethnographer working on public humanities and civic design projects. As a researcher, she has done fieldwork to uncover the politics of street music-culture in Taipei and its fraught relationship with the changing urban environment. Combining her interest in sound research and civic art, she co-founded Movable Parts, a maker collective that reimagines public spaces in Los Angeles. Currently an ACLS Public Fellow working with the City of Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs, she brings to this project analytical frameworks from civic arts administration as informed by the City’s placemaking programming and policy.

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 (for example Mythical Spaces). He has drawn inspiration from R. Murray Schafer’s World Soundscape Project (WSP), which takes an ecological approach to the urban sound world, considering the encroachment of noise pollution on the “natural” sound world. Shifting from Schafer’s ideas of preserving the natural soundscape (since our sites in the middle of Los Angeles are unlikely to revert back to a “natural” state), Steven is especially interested in exploring the unique sounds produced by human activity at these sites.

Jessica Blickley is a biologist who works at the intersection of bioacoustics, animal behavior and conservation biology. She 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.  For this project, she is excited to explore the effects of urban sounds and noise on the behavior of both humans and animals that live in these environments.

Rounak Maiti is an Occidental College senior majoring in Cognitive Science and an aspiring ethnographer with a special interest in the sounds of urban communities. In the summer of 2015, he initiated the Digital Stories LA project while working at his school’s Critical Making Studio, building a rich media archive of the sounds heard and produced across the city. He is interested in using his background in cognition and psychology to better understand the way city dwellers organize space and sound. He also writes and records as a solo musician, and in a band