mapping the mutable?
In planning Sonic Flash Mob I was aware that although the heard sounds I've translated into a phonetic are specific to each location the actual sound may or may not be present at the exact moment that we make our version of it. I'm intrigued by the idea of navigating by sound or creating a sonic cartography - whether it is a possibility to find your way from A to B by soundmarks rather than landmarks when our day to day soundscapes are made up of layered sounds unique to the place & generally present (expected to be heard) plus random elements depending on combinations of weather, time of day, human activity, geography, geology, architecture etc.. remember the film where they work out the likely location someone has been abducted to by the sound of geese in the background of a phone call? How much could we rely on sound as a guide?
Bernie Krause refers to this as sonic GPS in his book The Great Animal Orchestra and talks about a nomadic aboriginal tribe who at least until the early 90s would often describe '..a distant meeting place to another amost completely by acoustic clues. They speak in detail, mind you, of what would appear to us an immense habitat of flat, dry, featureless landscapes, where we would find almost nothing to distinguish one location from another...it is the combined acoustic effect of small local plants and animals that serve as a guide. Sound is one of the most important features they isolate as part of their holographic map, the 3D map of the world as it manifests their minds..'
Obviously this is not essential to most of us in our urban settled lives, that are described largely by visual imagery and language; our aural awareness sidelined and mainly subconcious, tuning out & filtering 'noise'; but listening heightens the dimension, volume and awareness of the spaces we exist and move about in. Embodying and resounding that emphasises and subverts it for a moment - a temporary sonic shift.