Sonic Folding 2019

This paper explores the folding and unfolding of the soundscape of the city at the cusp of the working day, where night time activities fold into the actions and routines of the working day. Researched and recorded in the early morning, revellers – play, and workers – work, share the same aural space. The sonic landscape reveals how the group activity of play with its vociferousness contrasts with the often lone and quiet worker making their way to their employment all to a backdrop of the  mechanical sounds of  street cleaning machines and delivery drivers. Interrupting these expected activities however, are ‘street’ people who combine the aspects of play with their noisiness and drinking, even at this early hour, with the intention of going to their place of work, a favoured begging spot.


Delving into these ideas, it is my intention to understand and interpret it through  notions of the fold with particular relevance to the sonic. Here the soundscape of work and play are not explored through the singular actions of work and play but through the intermingling and time-based authentic landscape of the folding and unfolding of the sonic city where each becomes interwoven into each other. 


What I hope to achieve is an understanding of how the soundscape acts not as a singular entity but a time and space-based accumulation that reflects the environment as it is heard and the individuality of that hearing. The importance of the fold is particularly relevant to this cuspal zone of work and play but is also applicable to many other aural environments. The aural qualities of work and its connotations of industry and the industrious is in direct contrast to those of play twisting around each other in the particular situation of early morning with workers working and players playing. However, the same mechanism of work can also be the mechanism of play. This is touched upon as in the case of ‘street’ people who bring together both aspects.


This is accompanied by field research recordings that reflect this folding and unfolding of night and day, play and work.


Sample of diary entry

‘It was not until 6.50 am that someone was making a phone call. At 7am, the workers who had been congregating by the tree, chatting, were allowed on site, the gate unlocked by a man and a van  with a brown, folded carpet being inexplicably thrown out of the back. A very thin man and woman pulled a newspaper kiosk down the street.’

This paper will be presented at FKL, Italy in October