Soundscape Hamilton – Hamilton Hall

Soundscape Hamilton Art Project – recorded 28 Aug 2015. What does a building sound like? Soundscape Hamilton is an art project that explores the sound profile of each building.

Art Post 41 – New Short Film Series

Sights and Sounds is a new short film series that features field recordings and short videos. Running about ten minutes in length, each film highlights a natural landscape in the Hamilton region. The films are a little longer than normal, so the viewer is able to get into the moment of each place.

Sunset on 1st Day of Fall – Princess Point, #HamOnt

The first day of fall occurred on September 23, 2015. Catch the last moments of a beautiful sunset at Princess Point in Hamilton, Ontario.

Odds and Ends – Hamilton Soundscape Art Project

Hamilton Sound Art Project
Hamilton Sound Art Project

Odds and Ends – Hamilton Soundscapes Art Project

What does an urban landscape sound like? Do particular places and buildings have unique sounds? Do sounds change over the course of the year? These are some of the questions I wish to answer with my next art project entitled: Hamilton Soundscapes.

Inspired by a small but growing number of sound artists, I plan to map out the sounds of our urban landscape. As a starting point, I am plan to explore particular buildings on campus to see whether they have unique characteristics and whether these traits change over the course of an academic year.

My thesis is as follows:

Urban Landscapes
Urban Landscapes

Buildings are designed to promote certain activities and those activities should produce sounds that are unique to the building.

Buildings are located in a unique physical space that also generates sounds. These sounds will be reflected or absorbed by the building according the materials in the building. Thus, producing a unique sound signature.

Finally, the unique sound signature will change as weather affects the activity in and around the building.

Therefore, a building sound portrait should be as interesting and compelling as the visual.

My method:

To create 5 minute sound recording immediately outside the main entrance of the selected building. Repeat recordings will be made over the course of the academic year. An effort will be made to select different times and days of the week so as to reflect the changes in activity that might occur.

Recordings will be made with a matched pair of Rode M5 cardiold condenser microphones with shock mounts and windscreen. The microphones will be set XY vertical axis on a video tripod. The sounds will be transmitted via XLR cables to a Zoom H4n field recorder.

While the Zoom H4n can produce stereo recordings, I have found the sound depth and richness to be greater when using the Rode M5s.

At each location and session, I will document the recording with photos using a Hero 4 Silver camera. Eventually, I would like to create 360 degree photographs of each location and recording session to provide the audience with a better appreciation the environment.

A dedicated website will be created so that the sound recordings can be easily accessed as the project develops.

In addition to building portraits, more general landscape sound recordings will be made to provide a wider view of what is happen in the areas next to the building sound projects. This allow for capturing sounds that may be clearly understood within the narrower building portraits.

So, that it the project.

Urban #HamOnt Sound Mapping



We often define landscapes by appearance, but they are also defined by sound.

Hunter and MacNab is an interesting mix of technology and history.  The MacNab Street Church was built in 1854 and expressed the confidence and belief in progress and faith.  By the 1890s, the Toronto-Hamilton and Buffalo Railway had ripped through the heart of Hamilton with railway tracks that divided rich and poor communities.  Less than 20 feet from the front door of the church, the physical barriers to the downtown would only grow with the development of the car and the increase road traffic on Hunter Street.

Equal to the physical barriers are the sound barriers.  Here are sounds of trains and cars that separate the Downtown business districts from the Durand neighborhood.

The first sound track marks the arrival of the commuter train from Toronto.

The second clip records the sound of the accessible crosswalk, along with the early evening car traffic.

Chris Erskine