3rd Contest art! ⋈ climate

DEADLINE for submissions: July 2, 2017
Sound Art Miniatures
Red Cross/Red Crescent Climate Centre

[versión en español]


The Electronic Arts Experimentation and Research Centre (CEIArtE) of the National University of Tres de Febrero in Argentina and the Red Cross/Red Crescent Climate Centrewith support of the Balance-Unbalance international project, calls for participation in the 3rd international contest art! ⋈ climate for the creation of miniatures of sound art related to the climate change effects and the global environmental crisis.

For this contest, we understand by sound art miniatures, creations of sound art/music involving the use of new technologies, whose products can fit into what is known as soundscapes, electroacoustic /acousmatic music sonorizations and sonifications.



The Red Cross/Red Crescent Climate Centre aims to help to reduce, through diverse humanitarian actions, the consequences of climate change and extreme weather events.
This contest has two principal objectives:
1. To support the activities that the Red Cross/Red Crescent Climate Centre engages in for different regions of all the world.
How? In this case through the sound art miniatures. It is very important for the Climate Centre to have art material that can support their actions (such as participatory workshops, educational media and collaborative learning games developed to improve the understanding and prevention of disasters and climate change). It's a way to stop being spectators and help thinking in what each one can contribute. The Climate Centre is very interested in appealing to the emotional side of climate-sensitive decision making processes.
2. To improve knowledge about the environmental crisis, increase understanding of various types of weather and climate extremes and to promote awareness about the effects of climate change.
Therefore we request, to those who wish participate in this call, to read and watch the following documents:
“Climate Centre Publications”: www.climatecentre.org/site/publications/85
We also suggest to check out regularly this website where new reference materials about this topic will be added. http://www.ceiarteuntref.edu.ar



The proposals should be focused on the following theme:


What is the difference between climate and weather? Communicating the various timescales in which climate and weather interact with each other, and more importantly impact society, specifically the most vulnerable populations, is a challenge faced by climate risk managers [1,2,3].

Changes in climatic variables such as precipitation and temperature, occur on various timescales. Depending on the timescale of interest, the result of an analysis in the change of those variables could be completely different.  The current climate and climate change projections of East Africa present a perfect opportunity to better contextualize the complexity of timescales. The East Africa “paradox” [4] can be summed up as the following: Rainfall patterns over the past 10 years have indicated a decrease in amount of rain over the East Africa region. Projections for the next 5-10 years also show a drying tendency. However, long term climate change projections, such as those for the year 2100 indicate an increase in rainfall. This “paradox” is important for decision makers to grasp as climate change adaptation strategies are devised to combat shifts in rainfall. Do we take action to prevent impact from drier than normal conditions (which have been observed and are likely to continue over a short (5-10 years) timescale? Or do we develop strategies to address the climate change projections for the year 2100, which indicate an increase in rainfall? Taking any action will have socioeconomic impacts on the most vulnerable communities.

Further, even though there has been a recent drying trend in East Africa, floods can occur and have occurred. The extreme events within a single year can occur opposite from the trend observed over a given timescale. Additionally, it is likely that 10-30 year cycles “stack the odds” in favor of dryer or wetter than average conditions. Lastly, El Niño or La Niña occur for 1 or 2 year periods approximately every 6-8 years. These events too may stack the odds in favor of drier or wetter conditions.

Also, the notion of timescales is an important component of Forecast-based Financing [5]. Acknowledging the challenges leading to preparedness action being taken before a weather or climate disaster occurs, emotionally rooted communication tools are of interest.

Using art and music to incite an emotionally driven exploration of climate and weather may be useful to communicate the interaction of trends and extreme events.

Sound and music, like weather and climate, or examples of complex entities that can be traced back to mathematics. Each exist across various timescales. A piece can be described differently based on which section or sections are being considered for description. If just 1 second was considered, and that 1 second happened to be a cymbal crash, it is possible that the piece could be described as a loud, startling entity. It is also possible that the cymbal crash could be the only such disturbance in a 10 minutes adagio. This analogy holds true for climate and weather. An extreme event, such as a flood, is important, but the significance varies depending on which timescale it is considered to be a part of.

The value of this contest will be in its ability to support the Climate Centre when having the discussion, “what is the difference between climate and weather?” and conveying the idea that even though a trend (or projection of a trend) can be in one direction (drier conditions, over a 40 year period), that occurrences over shorter timescales which reflect the opposite trend (flood, or a very rainy 2 year period), can still occur and it is not necessarily a sign of the reversal of the longer timescale trend [6].

We strongly suggest, to those who wish participate in this category, to read the information available at:


Since humanitarian actions could be implemented in the window between a forecast and a disaster, can we set up an automatic system that triggers and funds preparedness actions before the disaster strikes when a credible warning arrives? If so, we could prevent suffering, use humanitarian funds more efficiently, and contribute to community resilience [1].

Many climate-related hazards can be forecast; humanitarians get information about when and where extreme-weather events like storms, floods and droughts are expected [2]. Some of the challenges in implementing Forecast-based Financing (FbF) are related to the notion of thresholds [3]. There are technical challenges in identifying first the appropriate forecast and second, the level in the forecast, at a specific lead-time, to trigger action. Additionally, as an early warning system is only effective if preparedness action is taken, there are challenges surrounding the communication of why and how the thresholds or ‘danger levels’ were decided. In sound and music, thresholds also exist, at times portending a shift in the experience to come, sometime falsely so.

Without an understanding and trust throughout all components of forecast-based financing, it is unlikely that the system will be sustainable.

A key element of FbF is that the allocation of resources is agreed in advance, in the form of standard operating procedures (SOP)s so actors can weigh the risk of occasionally acting in vain against consistently failing to take early action. These SOPs also ensure that FbF funding will not be used ad hoc for measures that might not be worth taking.

The challenges inherent in taking preparedness action based on an uncertain forecast are likely to be influenced by emotional processes, rather than a pragmatic situational awareness. Acknowledging the role of the subjective tendencies in decision-making processes, which are likely to be driven by emotional interpretation, art and music are valuable modalities to communicate the ‘why’ and ‘how’ of FbF.

The value of the sound art pieces for the Climate Centre lies in their ability to be used as communication tools to convey two key components of FbF:

1.     Why FbF is a system worth trusting, even if false alarms occasionally occur.

2.     How thresholds or ‘danger levels’ are identified in a FbF system.

Both will ideally lead to an increase in the level of transparency in the development and implementation of FbF. This should lead to an increase in level of trust, potentially driving willingness to promote longer-term sustainability and flexibility.
We strongly suggest, to those who wish participate in this category, to read the information available at: http://www.climatecentre.org/downloads/files/FbF%20Brochure4.pdf

The sound art miniatures can include any type of sounds: sounds of nature, sounds of acoustic and/or electronic musical instruments, sounds produced by common or unusual objects and sounds produced or transformed by digital devices. Voices can be also included producing either onomatopoeias or phonemes, or as single words or whole sentences. In the last case, the accepted languages are: English, French and Spanish.


1. All the works that the jury understands that fit the needs of the Red Cross/Red Crescent Climate Centre, as they are outlined in the previous section, will have in the official website of the Centre: http://www.climatecentre.org/ a link available to listen to and download the pieces.

2. A subgroup of the sound art miniatures selected for the website will be also used by the Climate Center at least in three workshops to be held in Africa, the Americas, Asia/Pacific and Europe.

It should be understood that there is no predetermined limit to the number of miniatures selected, because the more they can fulfill the role of supporting or attach to the actions of the Climate Center, the more materials may be selected to be used in their activities.

3. Finally, beyond the miniatures selected by the Climate Center to be used in their actions for humanitarian purposes, and put them available on its official website, they can be also linked to other participant projects websites related to this initiative, such as the international project Balance-Unbalance website, the Hexagram-Concordia Center of Research-Creation in Media Arts and Technology of Concordia University in Canada and the Electronic Arts Experimentation and Research Centre (CEIArtE) of the National University of Tres de Febrero of Argentina.

In all cases, the selected works need to have a Creative Commons license that allows these pieces to be freely distributed, identifying in each case their original creators.


Below are mentioned some examples of uses for the miniatures:

a) Participative workshops, educational videos and collaborative learning games. These are part of the activities carried out by the Climate Centre which have proved to be effective in community workshops, also for delegates and representatives of the Climate Center in various countries, and executive government members, politicians and administrative employees of hierarchy. See examples with Kenyan farmers: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R8eRhS2XnCA&feature=youtu.be and at Oxford University:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EA7goLzbU2U

b) At conferences, workshops and symposiums. The miniatures can fulfill multiple functions: support, reinforcement, and even serve as an introduction to certain events. In different circumstances a sound miniature can become the key and determining factor to capture the attention of the participants, especially in major events: as an example, we take the case of a meeting with a lot of speakers and a large audience, in which is required to be focus for several hours on each submission or action.


In order to participate in this contest, everything stated in this call must be respected, including the following indications and limitations.

- All proposals must be related to the aforementioned themes.

- Do NOT send audio files to any email addresses listed in this call.

- Each participant may submit a maximum of three (3) sound art miniatures.

- The miniatures may have a duration of between one (1) and two (2) minutes. The reason of the difference between the minimum and maximum time accepted is to allow the Climate Centre team to have a variety of possible applications for the miniatures.

- File formats accepted are: aif or wav (16 bit, 44.1KHz, stereo). Compressed formats such as mp3 or mp4 are discouraged but can be accepted in case of need.

- Collective creations are accepted.


Following this link you will access the submission form:



You must complete one form for each miniature submited. The form shall include the link to the audio file for the jury to listen to each work. Each audio file must be uploaded to the soundcloud website (www.soundcloud.com). Aditionally each sound file must be available for immediate download.

In case of submitting more than one sound miniature, each piece must comply independently with the requirements described.

Each participant must indicate in the soundcloud website that his/her work can be publicly distributed under the Creative Commons license.



Using a Creative Commons license for each selected sound art miniature allows for publicly distributing and disseminating the works, having the author(s) of the miniature quoted accordingly while the use is not for commercial purpose.  The license jurisdiction will be: international. The accepted license for this call is “Recognition – NoComercial – Equal/Share". More details at: http://creativecommons.org

Each sound art miniature selected and available on the official Climate Centre website will appear with the corresponding credits as the artist indicated. Having made ​​clear the noncommercial use of the work by any of the parts involved, any fees or payments of any kind are completely excluded. The use of the miniature will always be binded directly or indirectly with humanitarian principles.

The jury for the selection of the sound art miniatures will be composed by representatives of the organizing institutions: CEIArtE-UNTREF, the Red Cross/Red Crescent Climate Centre, Hexagram-Concordia University. The jury´s decisions are final.
The sole participation in this contest implies full acceptance of all conditions.


See selected works of previous editions:

Related Links:


Apertura convocatoria: 
Sábado, 1 Abril 2017
Cierre convocatoria: 
Domingo, 2 Julio 2017 - 11pm
Pre-selection: A first selection by an artistic jury will be made public during the Balance-Unbalance 2017 international conference that will take place at i-DAT, Plymouth University, UK. from August 21 to 23, 2017

To contact the organizers write to ceiarte@untref.edu.ar, writing in the SUBJECT: Art-Climate [Red Cross Contest #3]