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I went to visit the Pier 21 museum in Halifax, which focuses on immigration to Canada, and has a special exhibit this year for Canada 150. One activity it asks of museum-goers is to write about their first day in Canada, which I did. It was August 1968. I remember clearly walking by a vacant lot by the highway between our high-rise apartment and the restaurant where we had dinner that day. The lot was filled with chirping crickets, and that sound along with the pervasive sound of a multi-lane highway, seemed very Canadian to me as an immigrant from the UK. Both highway and insect sounds were unusual to my ears, although it feels strange to write that now, having become so accustomed to them in the intervening half century. In both cases, it was a buzzing, layered, sound caused by many individuals. And it turns out that my perception of the cricket sounds as unusual, and more Canadian than English, has an ecological reason. At that time in the UK, crickets were almost extinct because of industrial farming practices. So I would not have heard a field filled with crickets like that before.

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Categories: Listening, walking Tags: , ,

La marche – est haute 4 juin 2015

Le 4 juin 2015, David Madden va donner une balade sonore “Soundwalking home” (15:00h),
St. Viateur et Outremont.

This is one stage of the sound art and writing project “Here be dragons” by Andra McCartney.

Plus de détails ici:

On 4 Jun 2015, David Madden will be giving a soundwalk entitled “Soundwalking home” beginning at 3 pm, rain or shine (except thunderstorms).

Une partie du projet “La marche – est haute” dirigé par Eric Mattson. “La marche (est haute) présente, entre avril et juin 2015, dix interventions numériques, sonores et artistiques en milieu urbain.”
http://oral-records.blogspot.ca/

Sonic volumes by Suzy Sulaiman

Sonic volumes by Suzy Sulaiman

When I met Suzy Sulaiman last November, she was telling me about a remarkable sound and radio art event that she had attended in Manila. Her stories were so compelling and interesting that I suggested she put these words down for others to hear. This is her first blog entry about that event.

Soundwalk in Montreal West

February 20, 2012 1 comment

La version française de ce texte se trouve ici

On January 31st, 2011, Andra McCartney and David Paquette took part in a soundwalk organized in the context of the graduate course Media Technology as Practice, taught by McCartney in the department of Communication Studies, Concordia University. Students were first introduced to the practice of soundwalking, and were invited to share the lead of the walk with Andra, at any time they felt inspired.

The walk began on the Loyola campus and moved southwest towards the Montreal West train station. Some of the participants took an active part in the soundwalk by producing sounds, exploring different objects and surfaces of street furniture. We then walked on the train platform all the way to Westminster Ave, before heading North to Curzon Str. A train finally passed as we were heading north, and we stopped to listen to it for a moment. We then headed back to campus through on Sherbrooke. A student took over the lead and brought the group to the Loyola chapel, where we sat briefly, listening to the quiet reverberating space. One student played notes on the piano. Then, we walked through the AD building all the way back to the CJ building, using the elevators to get back to the classroom.

In the discussion that followed, students exchanged on the types of sounds heard and their various significations. One student described the sound of cars as the “urban breathing” [respiration urbaine], another talked of the various sonic bubbles that go from the group to the larger social environment all the way to the larger space of the city. The walk was described as a series of sequences which begun with an initial movements towards synchronization between participants (synchronization of the steps, the pace, notably), and then moved towards an opening to the space of the park, and an interest for a new environment never visited before. One student came to the realization that the practice of soundwalking was quite similar to her daily experience of the city.

The visit of the chapel was revealed to be the result of chance, the student who took the lead at that moment saying that she wanted to visit a new part of the campus without knowing it was a church. Many students shared a positive experience of the relative silence in the chapel  and the few musical notes that filled the space. Finally, students discussed the challenge of focusing their attention on listening to outside sounds rather than their internal voice. and also mentioned the performative nature of soundwalking in a group. The notions of play and interaction  was also addressed by one student who described the soundwalk as “this opportunity of 40 minutes to play”, as well as an experience that can bring the group together through shared silence, comparing the soundwalk to Quaker meetings where “there’s something being transmitted within that silence, which is never quite a silence because we all have thoughts occurring in our heads and things that are unsaid but that alter the situation.”

Résonances de la Fontaine – postponed

October 8, 2011 Leave a comment

[English at bottom]

Résonances de la Fontaine est une performance sonore environnementale produite par Malcolm Goldstein pour le projet Soundwalking Interactions et qui aura lieu au parc Lafontaine au mois de mai 2012 (l’événement à été remis au printemps prochain vue la froide température qui ne permettra pas un spectacle acoustique extérieur).

Goldstein (violoniste/compositeur) performera en compagnie de Rainer Wiens (guitare électrique préparée), Jean Derome (saxophone), ainsi que d’Andra McCartney, Caitlin Loney et David Madden (sons préenregistrés).

La performance se tiendra à l’extérieur de la terrasse du restaurant de l’Espace LaFontaine, au centre du parc près du lac. Les membres du projet Soundwalking Interactions seront présents pour diriger les participants.

Vous pouvez visitez la page Facebook de l’événement pour les dernières mises à jour.

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Résonances de la Fontaine, an environmental sound performance by Malcolm Goldstein for the Soundwalking Interactions Project is taking place in Parc Lafontaine in May 2012,  as the forecast is suggesting that it will be too cold on Oct. 24 for an outdoor performance.

Goldstein (violinist/composer) will be joined by Rainer Weins (prepared electric guitar), Jean Derome (saxophone), Andra McCartney (recorded sounds), Caitlin Loney (recorded sounds), and David Madden (recorded sounds).

The performance will be outdoors on the terrace of the Espace La Fontaine restaurant, which is just about in the centre of the park overlooking the water. Members of the Soundwalking Interactions Project will be on hand to direct people to the performance space.

You can consult the Facebook event page for updates on the event.

Marianopolis College Soundwalk

March 21, 2011 1 comment

By Cailtlin Loney

Andra McCartney led a soundwalk and discussion at Marianopolis College in Montreal on March 8th, 2011, as part of a guest lecture series through Concordia University. The walk began in the small parking lot at the front of the school, continuing through the sheltered areas behind the main building and making a loop onto the sidewalk of Westmount Avenue back to the front door. Footsteps in the recording reveal a variety of textures – puddles, ice, snow, and pavement. In the discussion, participants noted the contrast between the slushy, watery sounds at front of the school where the sun had melted the snow, and the frozen, crunchy environment behind the building. The members of the group also mentioned that the experience presented them with new ways of hearing a place they were so familiar with. One participant said she had assumed that the city was filled with loud noises such as car horns, however, during the soundwalk, she heard less intrusive sounds than she expected and found the experience relaxing. Another participant noted that he picked up on many sounds he would not of otherwise, since he is normally rushing places and wearing headphones. The walk was recorded and made into a short sound piece by Soundwalking Interactions research assistant Caitlin Loney. Sound excerpts are presented chronologically. The photos in the video were taken by Pierre Dalpe and Lisa Graves, who were documenting the soundwalk and discussion on behalf of Concordia University.