The Ultimate Chile Olive Oil Dessert Bakeoff!, a set on Flickr.
One of the first places that came to mind in regards to this assignment was the bay by my house. I pass the bay everyday by taking the walking bridge and when I’m not in too much of rush I find this walk to be a time when I can think clearly and organize my thoughts. Obviously it’s a quiet place, because of its secluded nature, but I soon realized that there is a lot going on that I barely paid any attention to. I stood by the entrance of the bridge by a major avenue, where cars wiz by to and fro, and the side where the swans, ducks, and pigeons roam. As I began recording I paid even closer attention to what was producing the sounds. There was an ambulance stationed nearby with its engine on, there were a couple of people admiring and feeding the birds, and there were the birds themselves. This one elderly woman pointing out the swans and their movements to a young boy in Russian and she answered a phone call in the meantime. It was interesting listening back to how much I could understand her, because while I am familiar with Russian I have never been at a fluent level. Additionally, listening back to the recording over a few times I could tell at what point she was speaking to the boy and at what point she was on the phone. I contribute this to not only the content of what she was saying, but the pitch of her voice as well. It was surprising how prevalent the sound of cars was which simply indicates the tolerance I have for them. The sounds of the cars overpower the quacks and songs of the swans and ducks, which is pretty unfortunate. Only after a few listens could I pick out the flutters and sounds that the birds created. I actually thought I would be able to hear the water more clearly, but I didn’t pick up on that.
Reflecting on this experience, I realized that I can tell a lot by the sounds made at the bay. For instance, if there’s a great deal of chatter amongst people and pull of fishing rods then I know the weathers nice and it must be summer season. If I can hear people over the sounds of the road then it must be day time. And if the sounds of the road overpower that of the people awing at the birds then it’s night, which was captured in my recording. Friends always ask if I’m scared of the silence, maybe they are suggesting that it’s too under bearing, but I have never looked at it that way. It is much different from the sound scape of the city, but that’s why it’s so refreshing. I’ve always seen it as a beneficial thing, because I am afforded the opportunity to breathe. If I don’t plug in my headphones, I basically have no other choice but to enjoy the silence. In my seven minute walk the noise level lessens and then escalates again once I step foot into my home. I guess this exercise shows me how much can go unnoticed even in a quiet place.
Cool idea, but makes me wonder if a museum should house youtube videos.