Accepted Paper:

Sound banks, city frames: images of public spaces and noises private memories  


Madhuja Mukherjee (Jadavpur University)

Paper short abstract:

This audio-visual essay presents the sounds of cities namely, Paris, Venice, and Istanbul. It examines the decisive role played by existing prototypes, and moulds the ways in which we approach these locations. Produced from personal recordings, my ‘sound banks’ and ‘city frames’ attempt to disturb dominant structures of representations.

Paper long abstract:

This audio-visual essay presents (disparate) sounds of three cities namely, Paris, Venice, and Istanbul. Produced from personal recordings and juxtaposing the same with evocative images of these cities as circulated through other media, this multi-media essay analyzes the ways in which certain cities are re-presented in various art forms and reconstitutes personal memories. While Venice has been framed in a specific way in Renaissance paintings, in Shakespearean drama and alternative films, Paris has been inscribed as a sign of modern urban cultures in famed paintings, novels as well as in avant garde films. However, Istanbul has been by and large, shown through more typical compositions (showcasing its exoticness) until contemporary filmmakers like Ceylan and Fatih Akin produced the distinctive images of the city.

This essay examines the decisive role played by the pool of images in forming prototypes about locations and its everyday, and moulds the manner in which we seem to approach these destinations. In addition, such image banks often overlap with private and personal experiences, creating an environment of continuous flows between mediated motifs and realities. It is in this context that, one enquires the processes through which one remembers iconic cities. Furthermore, what role does specific sounds - recorded during personal journeys - play in constituting individual memories? My 'sound banks' (including noises and silence) and 'city frames' (disturbed by the soundscapes), which were recorded near the celebrated water ways, attempt to produce ruptures within existing structures of popular audio-visual representations.

Panel W088
Sound environments: forms, perception, and meanings