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.
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.
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.”
This is the official web site of the Save Century Manor Task Force 2 (CMTF2). This task force was created not only to draw attention to the existence of Century Manor, an important Hamilton heritage building in danger of demolition by neglect, but also to provide information on Century Manor and to gain support within and outside our community for our ongoing fight to save and preserve this heritage building through restoration and adaptive reuse.