21 March 2018 – Soundmapping Show Goodies

21 March 2018 – Soundmapping Show Goodies

Image from Ocean Networks Canada website

As promised in the Mar 21 show, here are some links and resources about soundmapping. This list is just the tip of a taste — there’s an enormous range of projects out there for further exploration.

For a handy starter survey, take a look at Milena Droumeva’s (2017) article “Soundmapping as critical cartography: Engaging publics in listening to the environment,” which offers a discussion of various soundmapping approaches. The article introduces some projects and case studies, covering their conceptual relations with technology, the limits of participatory norms, and intersectional challenges in working with soundmapping. The article is available for free with an Academia.edu membership via Droumeva’s website

Onto the tracks! First up in the playlist was Ocean Networks Canada, based out of University of Victoria and operating multiple marine observatories. These facilities gather various forms of data including hydrophone recordings and spectrogram captures. Check out their highly pleasing gallery of whale sounds and other fascinating captures here, and scope their broader ocean sensor data projects at http://www.oceannetworks.ca/

UBC Geography student Angela Ho’s Chinatown Soundmap was next on the list. This project follows the pin-map approach, and rather than working with long takes, Ho layers short snippets of daily ephemera in the neighbourhood over time.The map represents a small radius of rich history and personal terrain for the recordist, i.e., vicinity of Vancouver Chinatown, which is now under severe gentrification threat. Check out the sounds at http://chinatownsoundmap.com/ and read Ho’s commentary on the project here.

Another Vancouver project, Randolph Jordan’s “The Bell Tower of False Creek” maps place through soundscape composition. The piece investigates infrastructure and spatial management by dwelling on the presence of a pothole over the Burrard Bridge. Jordan thickly breaks down the composition with a set of accompanying text and images, including a bird’s eye view of the route, photographic illustrations of the site features, and linked audio segments. Found here.

Several interactive web maps have also plotted sounds in Vancouver. For example, we sampled SFU Geography student Richard Minardi’s coursework correlating field recordings in Stanley Park to movement in space. Next, we shared a collaborative web map by Vancouver New Music called the “Sounds We Love/Sounds We Hate + Favourite Listening Places Soundmap.”  The collection asks contributors to consider their own feelings about sounds in different locations as they record. Explore here.

One of my favourite soundmaps is the Montreal Sound Map by Max Stein and Julian Stein. This is a large collection that is open to volunteer contributors but manually managed by the administrators/curators. Like many others, this project follows the pin map format and is found online here.

Another soundmap project out of Montreal is Audiomobile, an experimental open source app by Owen Chapman. The site can also play with a partnering open source visualization app called Echoscape. Check out the Audiomobile project here.

Finally, Telus World of Science has promoted the ‘Global Soundscapes: Mission to Record the Earth’ project, and their ridiculous (but fun) trailer can be found by clicking the preview image below. You can also find related pedagogical prompts for learning about soundscapes with elementary students.