I went on a soundwalk today and wandered around Clerkenwell with a dozen of spaced-out bodies following each other, crossing the roads, entering churches and parks and standing there listening to the trees, banging on rubbish bins and chasing birds, without uttering a word for the whole duration of the walk. I felt awkwardly self-conscious when passers-by stopped and ogled at us like we were a bunch of lunatics. After 20 minutes, I began to concentrate on the surrounding sounds and to create my own compositions from stolen conversations, kicked-up leaves, the flapping of pigeon wings and, most poetic of all, ear-piercing car alarms mixing with mobile ringtones. It is incredible how one can block out the continuous, pervading noise of the city just by tuning one’s ears on a thing or two – admittedly, not achievable on Farringdon high street where the dominant sound is also the most polluting of all. What I thought would be a nightmare for a couple of hours in urban company – the strict requirement of ‘no talking’ – turned out to be pure bliss. My weekly meditation sessions are over. From now on, I will soundwalk around my house past my local in Fitzrovia and back, and shake the stress of London life out of my body – through my ears!

The Sound Ecologies seminar including artists’ workshops and soundwalk was held on 19 November at City University from a collaboration between sound artist and writer Katherine Norman and new media gallery


~ by lavivette on November 22, 2009.

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