Hamilton Artist Update 37 – Urban Sound Mapping

Location: MacNab Street Presbyterian Church

Map of MacNab Street, Hamilton (Ont)
Map of MacNab Street, Hamilton (Ont)

Update 37 – This week:

1. Ebola
2. New Art Project – Mapping the Sounds of Hamilton

Ebola – Latest estimates are that over 22,000 people in West Africa who have been inflected and 3,400 have died. The United States has just reported its first case of Ebola in Dallas, Texas. Unfortunately, the guy doesn’t appear to be in good shape.

CBC had this silly report on how people were over-reacting to the first American case. While I agree the danger from one person is almost zero, the outbreak in Africa is still un-controlled; and without more human resources, the situation will only get worse. If predictions are true, 900,000 cases by early 2015 then how can the outbreak not spread globally. Furthermore, the early symptoms are so similar to the flu that it would be nearly impossible to isolate everyone. The intense care required of patients would quickly over run the ability of hospitals to treat the sick.

 

The Ebola outbreak reminds me of the Cholera outbreaks in Hamilton during the 19th century. Currently I am researching and filming how the 1854 outbreak shaped the architectural landscape of Hamilton. I hope to have something posted in a few weeks.

Soundscapes – a few weeks ago, I came across a blogger who had posted several sound recordings to his site, along with photos of the location. I was really impressed by how it provided a new perspective on the urban landscape. I soon discovered that there is this small community of audio bloggers out there who are recording and mapping urban sounds.

I am completely captured by this notion and I have decided to start a new art project. As a first attempt, I recorded the sounds outside the 1854 MacNab Street Presbyterian Church. The Zoom H4n field recorder provides really clear recordings, particular when mounted on a tripod and with the use of a windscreen.

 

At this point, I am still working out a strategy for determining what sounds to record, so that it reveals something new about the city of Hamilton.

I am most inspired by three sound artists: Des Coulam (France), Vladimir Kryutchev (Russia) and Stuart Fowkes (UK).

Des Coulam, approach is to document the sounds of Paris. He will travel along a particular route or explore a particular location and supplement the experience with photos and history.

Des Coulam - Soundlandscapes' Blog
Des Coulam – Soundlandscapes’ Blog

http://soundlandscapes.wordpress.com

 

Vladimir Kryutchev is focusing on the capturing the reality of the small town in Russia called Sergiyev Posad.

Oontz – Audioblog from Russia

 

Oontz - audioblog by Vladimir Kryutchev
Oontz – audioblog by Vladimir Kryutchev

 

http://www.oontz.ru/en/

 

Stuart Fowkes is exploring the difference between reality and imagination. He encourages people to document the sound of a particular location and then asks that they recreate the sound of that location with what they imagine it should be like. In the process, he moves beyond purely a documentary to the creative. I am also very impressed by the mixed sound tracks (some musically), using urban sounds. Fowkes approach reminds me of Gotye and use of re-mixed sounds for his album “Mirrors.”

 

http://citiesandmemory.com/
Cities and Memory by Stuart Fowkes

 

http://citiesandmemory.com/

 

 

Chris Erskine

chriserskineartist@gmail.com

@erskinec

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