W3 Locative and Mobile Sound

It is difficult to imagine a city without noise. However, the Noise Abatement Society’s objective is to raise awareness and solve noise pollution and noise issues, believing that these can cause ill health and cause mental distress. (Noise Abatement Society, 2017). However, Ari Kelman’s theory that “sound is one of the characteristics that makes a city a city” (Kelman, 2010: 217) contradicts this and suggests that urban dwellers would be comfortable with city noises. This does not, however, explain why they choose to take their music into the public space. This blurs the lines of private and public because a music listening experience does not have to end once the listening leaves the home. They can take their music with them, creating and playing selected playlists to suit their current mood or what they would like their mood to be as they move through the city. Bull reinforces this, believing music to impact the atmosphere of spaces, (Bull, 2000 in Behrendt, 2012: 287), and according to Behrendt, this sound is immersive (Behrendt, 2012: 288).
Listening to music through headphones also concerns the Noise Abatement Society and they have set up the Love Your Ears campaign to try to prevent teenagers listening to their music too loudly while on the move. (Noise Abatement Society, 2017).
Behrendt discusses Bull’s theory that urban dwellers use music to manage their mood, in turn warming up their private space but chilling the environment for everyone else. (Bull, 2007 in Behrendt, 2012: 284). This is because it is a private activity so others cannot hear what is being listening to, unless it is very loud, so can be seen as isolating. This solitary isolation is echoed by Bull when he states “solitariness and the daily movement of people through the city are two dominant hallmarks of contemporary urban experience.” (Bull, 2007: 5).
According to Bull, in the age of the iPod, any city space has the potential to be a ‘non-space,’ thus having no meaning, the music urban dwellers take with them throughout the city then fills this space and helps to create it into something meaningful for the listener.
With an increased amount of people listening to mobile music through their smartphones and the rise of noise cancelling headphones, perhaps this explains the Noise Abatement Society’s aim to make cities quieter, for example with delivery lorries making less noise (Noise Abatement Society, 2017). With a quieter city, urban dwellers are free to create and manipulate the public sonic space to best suit their mood.

Bibliography:
Behrendt, F. 2012. The Sound of Locative Media. Convergence: The International Journal of research into New Media Technologies. 18(3): 284-288.

Bull, M. 2007. Sound Moves: iPod Culture and Urban Experience. Oxon: Routledge. Pp. 5.

Kelman, A. 2010. Rethinking the Sound Scape: A Critical Genealogy of a Key Term in Sound Studies. London: Taylor and Francis. Pp.217.

Noise Abatement Society. 2017. ‘Who We Are.’ Noise Abatement Society. Available at: http://noiseabatementsociety.com/about-us/who-we-are/ (Accessed 17/02/17).

2 thoughts on “W3 Locative and Mobile Sound

  1. What is noise and how do you define it? Often councils in the UK have a noise pollution policy in place, which means that any sound transmitted over a certain decibel would be seen as noise pollution. Hicks-Logan refers to “Noise Abatement Society’s objective is to raise awareness and solve noise pollution and noise issues” (Hicks Logan, 2017). However, if as Bull suggest the use of listening to sounds while on your journey makes it seems as if the urban environment is a warmer place then it could be implied that as long as you listen to sound in you own personal space then it does not become noise. (Bull, 2007).

    Bull also states that using a personal device like an iPod to engage with different sounds help to privatize your space, but as he also pointed out this type activity can lead to isolation and therefore can your journey really be a warmer place if you are isolated by everything around you?

    Bibliography
    Behrendt, F. 2012. The Sound of Locative Media. Convergence: The International Journal of research into New Media Technologies. 18(3): 284-288.
    Bull, M. 2007. Sound Moves: iPod Culture and Urban Experience. Oxon: Routledge. Pp. 5
    Hicks-Logan, 2017. Mobile and Locative Sound. Available at: http://blogs.brighton.ac.uk/digitalcities/2017/02/18/w3-locative-and-mobile-sound/ (Accessed 24/02/17).

  2. I agree on Kelman’s theory that “sound is one of the characteristics that makes a city a city” (Kelman, 2010 pg 217). I think sound in this context might not necessary be linked to particular music only. It is more about the sound that is generated from the various activities that goes in different locations. For example, in a open market the different sound might include cars, customers talking, music from some shops and different kind of activities. For some, it might just be unpleasant noise and for other it becomes a sound that they recognise when they arrive in the area. These sounds often give to those locations a certain identity which consequently becomes on the references for that particular place.

    With the Ipod culture, Bull (2007) states that, we have an overpowering resource to contrast urban places to our liking as we move through them (pg 5). Someone can then choose to either enjoy the sound of the environment they are in or create their own sound with their Ipod. This created sound will then move with them. As argued by Bull (2007), the space that we move through is primarily an auditory configuration, therefore the participate can choose to erase or reconfigure the sound in that particular area (pg 4).
     
    Reference
    Behrendt, F. 2012. The Sound of Locative Media. Convergence: The International Journal of research into New Media Technologies. 18(3): 284-288.
    Bull, M. 2007. Sound Moves: iPod Culture and Urban Experience. Oxon: Routledge. Pp. 5.
    Kelman, A. 2010. Rethinking the Sound Scape: A Critical Genealogy of a Key Term in Sound Studies. London: Taylor and Francis. Pp.217.

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