Saturday, August 18, 2012

Hmmm.... how to begin? What is a 'blog'?

I guess it's form of vulnerability, a public diary of sorts?

Maybe just a free-associative rambling...

Sound is a material entity, and its study belongs in the realm of material culture studies.

While I was preparing myself for studies at Michigan Tech, I started reading different authors who wrote about industrial spaces. Tim Edensor's "Industrial Ruins: Space, Aesthetics, Materiality" had a big impact on me because it seemed to validate my interest in abandoned factories, warehouses, all of these forgotten spaces that no one seems to care about. Edensor stresses the sensual, mysterious aspects of these spaces.

I have always loved the way they sounded; how I could enter an abandoned space and clap, sing, or whisper, and then listen to the echoes and reverberations. I have always liked quiet spaces, when I have a conversation I like to be in a quiet cafe or in the woods. I can't stand trying to talk to someone in a noisy bar, I barely know what I'm saying I get so distracted by all of the different voices and sounds.

Even now, as I'm writing this I'm in an internet cafe where people are carrying on loud conversations and the cacophony almost makes me sick to my stomach. This post will probably be filled with typos and misspellings. But I have to write something today....

As soon as industrial sounds emerged in the world there were those who knew that something profound was happening. In 1913, Dziga Vertov (1896-1954) was entranced by urban sounds and tried to catalogue and record them, but the technology available did not do them justice, so he moved into film...

There is currently an explosion in "sound studies"... little did I know. Different individuals and organizations are compiling libraries of disappearing sounds, urban and rural... While "capturing" a sound by a recording device, does, in a way, preserve it, the best way to hear sounds of the past is simply to listen.

A hammer striking a cold chisel on a masonry wall.  Footsteps of your neighbor climbing the squeaky stairs in your building. The manhole cover clanking as a car drives over it. A flock of geese. The song of a thrush in the woods. While they may occur in the present, they are, quite literally, sounds of the past, aural artifacts, albeit modified by slight changes over time. Recording the sound of the wind blowing through a mountain forest will do just as much to preserve it as taking a picture of the same mountain will preserve it's visual reality.

We rely far too heavily on the tactics and technologies of reproduction and representation, and not enough upon actual lived experience.