World Listening Day
Sunday, July 17th, 2011
With Alex Braidwood
Hey, have you heard that Monday July 18th is World Listening Day? On Sunday July 17th, in honor of becoming more sonically aware of our aural environments, Machine Project and Alex Braidwood will be hosting an afternoon of listening experiments for your auditory pleasure:
Listening Instruments Workshop
Through the use of everyday objects, this workshop explores ways in which one’s hearing can be physically modified in order to transform the relationship between the listener and their environment. There will be a brief presentation discussing the conceptual and theoretical framework as well as the research and observations that lead to the development of “Noisolation Headphones.” There is more to be done with noise than simply masking it or canceling it out: through simple modifications, a transformed listening experience can emerge.
Participants will then construct their own headphone-like listening instruments using commonly available materials. They will be encouraged to play with the sonic properties of various materials that affect, transform, prevent and modify sounds from the environment as they approach the ears. Following the workshop, participants will be led on a short audio tour of the area surrounding Machine Project where they will be able to explore the new listening opportunities created by their freshly made Listening Instruments.
Headphones provide a unique audio space where an individual listener is having a private experience. Through the pervasive use of mobile playback devices, this private listening experience often happens in very public places. The noises made while eating are some of the more privately unique noises we make. The ways in which eating reverberate through the jawbone, skull and inner ear of the eater creates a fleeting sound that is only available to them. This drop-in installation asks users (eaters) to become acutely aware of the sounds produced by the act of eating foods of various texture while wearing custom headphones designed specifically for this occasion.
Noise Bingo is an exercise in active listening that asks participants to investigate their environment in search of sounds with various characteristics in order to fill in areas of a bingo-like game board. It challenges listeners to isolate specific sounds through attentive, focused listening. The game also encourages listeners to investigate new areas of their neighborhood in order to identify listening opportunities of which they may not have been previously aware.
Residual Soundscape is a one day installation that compiles an increasing sonic residue of the activity directly outside of Machine Project. Through a process of documentation and playback, the project develops by recording audio from one time of day and playing it back at another. The projected audio then becomes a part of the soundscape and thus recursively inserts itself back into subsequent recordings. Part documentation, part compositional experiment, part active listening exercise, the project results in a densely layered sonic accumulation.