Dis/Ordinary Architecture at The Cass

Today is the final day of my second project at The Cass (part of London Met University), as part of the Disabled Artists making Dis/Ordinary Spaces project founded by Jos Boys. I’ve been working for the past few weeks with Foundation Architecture students on a project exploring Mapping the City through sound, which has taken us out onto the streets of Aldgate and Spitalfields to explore the locality with binaural recording equipment.

We started the process, as I always do with a silent soundwalk – no talking, no visual communication, no devices, no smoking, no food and a slow walk to disrupt the visual flow of information, experiencing the world primarily with our ears rather than our eyes. Once this ear cleansing has been accomplished then the students are ready to record and through identification of the soundmarks of the area (those sounds that are characteristic of place, in the manner of a landmark) build up a phonographicstudy that can be used to create their own soundscape, which reflects how they hear the urban space around them.

As a disabled artist with a hearing impairment, this kind of close listening to the environment is an intrinsic part of my practice, with the slow passage through the city providing the space and time to reconsider how we listen to the world around us.

I’m looking forward to the student presentations today and to hearing the multiple perspectives on sonic representation of place.