R&D – SOUNDkitchen SOUNDwalk Ponta Delgada

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In April 2017 I traveled to Ponta Delgada on São Miguel island in the Azores to attend Invisible Places 2017, an international symposium on sound, urbanism and sense of place. This three-day international symposium brought together artists and academics in the fields of ecology, architecture, urban design and soundscape art to share research and practice. Working with Annie Mahtani as SOUNDkitchen we devised and led a soundwalk for delegates at the symposium.

SOUNDkitchen have been creating soundwalks in our home city of Birmingham, UK since 2013. We are interested in encouraging people to engage with their sound environment and our SOUNDwalks provide unique opportunities for participants to actively listen to the sounds around them. We have developed a practice of guided walks, led by Annie and I, and usually attended by members of the public, a non-specialist audience.

Drawing on the historical practice of soundwalking pioneered by the likes of R. Murray Schaefer and Hildegard Westerkamp, our walks typically involve simple ‘ear cleaning’ exercises designed to draw attention to different sonic features particular to the location. We are also interested in extending the walker’s listening abilities, augmenting the natural hearing range through the use of audio technology with what we call ‘augmented listening’. This is achieved through the use of recorded audio tracks listened to on portable devices and strategically placed microphones such as hydrophones and contact microphones for listening live to sounds in the environment.

We wrote a paper for the Invisible Places proceedings publication that describes the Ponta Delgada SOUNDwalk and our practice in more detail. You can read this document by clicking the link below:

SOUNDkitchen SOUNDwalk Ponta Delgada

The track below is a montage of some of the soundscapes we presented and encountered on the soundwalk:

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