Accepted paper:

Attending to the cultural landscape through sound


Karla Berrens (UOC, Barcelona, Spain)

Paper short abstract:

My research is on soundscapes and urban space. The paper will listen to the landscape's sound, trying to understand how memory and time constitute it; exploring their influence on the inhabitants of the space. My argument is for a multi sensory imagination, tailored to depict a changing society.

Paper long abstract:

My work addresses the question of how an attention to the sound and the exploration of an area through sound helps access individual experiences of city life that are, otherwise, often lost in the kind of cultural and ethnic block thinking that community studies is very much prone to. I have found that our ears are far more accurate than what we are consciously aware of. I have experienced that by having an accident that has left me partially blind. Ironically, this has become an interesting tool for my research. This paper will exemplify this aural mode of attention and how the cultural landscape emerges through sound. This paper will listen to the sound of the landscape, wanting to reach an understanding of the layers of memory and time that constitute it and explore the affect and effect it has on the inhabitants of the space. Mine is an argument for a multi sensory imagination, potentially more adapted to the depiction of contemporary society. I will focus on a comparative analysis of two case studies. Firstly, I will examine how the fragmented, cultural and ephemeral of the area emerges in their discourse. Then, I will analyse their intake on everyday cultural practices. This mode of attention provides a platform for the surfacing of the rhythms of the area. I will argue that listening to those rhythms helps access a more diverse range of mainstream cultures and subcultures that coexist in a geographical space.

panel WMW10
Listening landscapes, speaking memories