martes, 10 de marzo de 2009

the world as a sound environment

"Daily life has a soundtrack. If you can't listen to it,
it's just because we are used to hear it"

Ramon Pelinski, musician.

I've spent these days just listening to sounds that surround me everyday. I've been walking around with my ears and my mind open, as Nadine suggested last week in class, cultivating a better awareness of background sounds, ambiance, sound environments, sound space boundaries... It's pretty amazing to realize how unaware we are of the incredible amount of sound surrounding us 24/7, sometimes because our culture tends to privilege sight, images and visual impacts.

Our daily lives are full of sounds, to the extent that he world is a sound environment. The sounds give us essential information for a better comprehension of the environment in which we operate on a regular basis. understanding the environment in which we operate. Auditory references provide us information about the proportions of the spaces we inhabit, warn us of possible dangers... and so on. There are a multitude of sounds in our world that tells us stories, as well as there are a number of sounds (and stories) we produce every day in each of our ordinarytasks. However, very few people actually listen and pay attention to these sounds.

In order to get some ideas for my phase 3 project, I started a while ago to do some research regarding sound environment and the concept of "soundscape". I've found very interesting stuff, such as this text, El Mundo es un paisaje sonoro (The world is a sonorous landscape), which takes a pretty quick overview to the history of sound and sound recording.

As this text explains, with the advent of tape recorders (and portable tape recorders, afterwards) these sounds that I just mentioned above stopped being noticed by people and started to become recorded sound (that could be stored and transmitted over and over again). This had enormous consequences (very good ones, if we think in the value of radio and film, for instance), mostly a change of our "hearing perception": almost all the sounds people percieved in their environments, started to become translated into noise. But most of the time what we call "noise" is actually these amount of incredible of sounds which we don't really pay attention.

This week I've been paying attention to them. Trying to translate our internalized concept of "landscape" into another one, "soundscape".

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