Thursday 28 May 2020

Mass Files / Ambient Isolation / #StayHomeSounds

The Covid-19 virus changed the world in 2020. I was invited to participate as a sound recordist in three different, yet similar projects called Mass Files, Ambient Isolation and #StayHomeSounds, created by Veronika Spierenburg, Alastair Sirkett and Stuart Fowkes. The idea was to capture the sounds of a lockdown all over the globe. 21st century sounds of urban areas are mostly consist of modern technology noise - transportation, air conditioners, various machines... When people locked themselves inside to not get infected, many of those sounds disappeared and we were able to hear silence, for a first time in many years. Silence is different all over the world, so click on the links below to hear the sounds of lockdown in various cities across the globe.

Descriptions below are taken from project websites:

Mass Files is an ongoing archive of auditory urban landscapes captured around the globe. Professional sound recordists and artists were invited to capture a selection of their surroundings in sound of around 30 minutes in duration. Sound constructs political narratives – it highlights the invisible, the unheard, the wandering and the weak. Mass Files is a sensory exercise, a pause of unspecified length. This self-initiated project relies on donations for pursuing ideas and compensating contributors.


Ambient Isolation - This project started as an way of helping to continue our audio creativity in these strange and isolated times and to keep a record of the sonic changes that have occurred in our environment due to the global lockdown. I live centrally in London and as our movement has being restricted, I have enjoyed the city background noise noticeably reducing and the dawn chorus become more apparent. So much so that I set out to build a library of these quieter ambiences before they disappear, possibly never to return. I thought I would ask people to share recordings of their current exterior atmospheres so we could build a sonic library of this historical period in our history.


#StayHomeSounds - With countless communities and countries around the world entering lockdown and social distancing to combat the Covid-19 pandemic, the world is at present a very different place. We know that – along with sounds – everyone has their own story to tell. Sounds are particularly fascinating right now, as with so much of our lives in lockdown, the world hasn’t sounded quite like this during our lifetimes – whether it’s something simple like less traffic, or how you can hear more birdsong and wildlife, through to how people are coming together through song and music. We hope that through the project we can share a little bit of not just how it sounds as we all adjust to a new way of living, but how it feels at this unique moment.

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