Michaela Vieser & Isaac Yuen: The Sound Atlas: A Guide to Strange Sounds Across Landscape and Imagination

“A sonic revolution is underway. The expanding field of acoustics is enabling us to tune into a multitude of invisible systems. Scientists are transforming energy transmissions from distant galaxies into audible harmonics. Sound artists use vibration sensors to probe into the deepest parts of the world. Sensitive hydrophones are revealing the vibrant chatter in our rivers and oceans. But with this ability to eavesdrop into newfound realms comes a responsibility not only to understand, but to safeguard them—often from ourselves.”

What are the stories behind the multitude of strange sounds echoing across our planet and beyond? Join co-authors Michaela Vieser and Isaac Yuen for an evening of conversation as they speak of the many acoustic wonders featured in their latest book, The Sound Atlas: A Guide to Strange Sounds Across Landscape and Imagination, published by Knesebeck Stories in April 2023.

The Sound Atlas plots connections between the ephemeral nature of sound and the resonances that interact with our visual oriented realities. From fish lovesongs to cosmic harmonies, from sinister organs to inexplicable hums, the collection explores the fascinating natural and cultural histories behind sonic phenomena both mundane and bizarre existing all around us.

The evening will feature a panel discussion moderated by literary and climate culture scholar Dr. Simon Probst, soundscapes from field recordings, select author readings from the book as well as the musical accompaniment by Jazz guitarrist Benja Schlez.

Michaela Vieser is an award-winning author of eight books, including the national bestseller Tea with Buddha. Her narrative work has appeared on Deutschlandfunk Kultur, BBC, FAZ, Geo, NZZ, Financial Times, Süddeutsche Zeitung, among others. Her features and documentaries have been nominated for the Bavarian film prize and the Grimme Preis. Michaela was a writer-in-residence at the Jan Michalski Foundation for Literature in 2019, receiving the German Prize for Nature Writing scholarship in 2021 and co-founding the Living Libraries for Nature Writing in 2022. She is currently the Wave Writer for the Okeanos Foundation for the Sea.

A first generation Hong-Kong Canadian living in Berlin, Isaac Yuen’s short stories and essays have been published in Canada, the US, and the UK. His animal essay collection titled Utter, Earth: Advice on Living in a More-Than-Human World, is forthcoming via West Virginia University Press. Isaac is currently a writer-in-residence for the Science Meets Fiction program at the Hanse-Wissenschaftskolleg Institute of Advanced Studies in Lower Saxony.

Dr. Simon Probst is a literary scholar and writer whose work focuses on rethinking literature and culture on a warming planet. He has published on the poetics and narratives of the Anthropocene, deep time, nature writing, apocalyptic thought, and ecological utopias. A curator for Climate Cultures Network Berlin, his current project explores how literature can make sense of climate change.

Music can transport the story of one’s life. Jazz guitarist Benja Schlez will be contributing to the Sound Atlas Reading with songs from his first Solo Album Grenzhof. Jazz, minimal music and a strong ambience define these tracks that take the listener on an intimate acoustic journey. Ben Schlez studied Jazz guitar in New York and later became the guitarist for the German Indie band Paula.

Thursday, June 22
Doors: 7 pm / Start: 7.30 pm
Free admission
The event will be in English and German


Funded by the Akademie der Künste