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Silenci...El Soroll Mata!: an ethnographic experiment in the doings and undoings of urban noise 
Brett Mommersteeg (Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin)
Ignacio Farias (Humboldt University of Berlin)
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Friday 26 July, -
Time zone: Europe/Madrid
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Short Abstract:

This ethnographic experiment will be an outdoor multimodal tour across noisescapes in Barcelona. We will experience and discuss the challenges that noise poses to knowledge practices and urban coexistence, and how it can help us think about other ways of researching the atmospheric in cities.

Long Abstract:

Silenci...El Soroll Mata! Environmental and recreational noise have long been a matter of concern in Barcelona, not just as nuisance, but as a force that kills. According to local authorities, 57% of its population is exposed to harmful noise levels, due to road traffic, street morphologies, density of neighbourhoods, rise of tourism, bars and restaurants. This has resulted in several initiatives (e.g. banning of megaphones, the formation of pedagogic mediators, installation of noise monitoring infrastructures).

Noise in cities has an ambiguous status: it is a sign of conviviality, of a vibrant urban life, but is also its harmful consequence. It is also an elusive phenomenon, doing and undoing what counts as reliable knowledge. Noise knowledges take shape within the “dynamic friction” (Peterson 2021) between techniques to objectively fix it, and the bodily practices through which it is perceived.

We would like to invite conference participants to an ethnographic experiment during our week in Barcelona to try capture its noises. This experiment will happen along curated itineraries through Barcelona’s noisy streets. At each noisy location, participants will be asked to attune to noise through a specific modality: drawing, text, photograph or sound recording.

The experiment will happen during the conference. Materials will be uploaded digitally, and on the final day there will be a de-brief session with participants and a local expert.

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If you would like to join the experiment, or have any questions, please contact us through email:

Register by July 08, 2024