Abstract and methodology

This paper investigates the rhythms of social spaces of four cities. In order of visiting, these were Leicester, UK; Athens, Greece; Saskatoon, Canada and Cagliari. Its foundation is my current research the aim of which is to explore the discourse between sound, space/time and body. Questions include: ‘how do sound flows utilise, respond or even create space?’ ‘Does language/dialect diversity create an alienation of existing sonic rhythms?’ ‘Are we able to listen without reference to the past?’ ‘How does hearing/listening relate to the past and present?’. 

 The methodology was to make recordings in everyday situations at similar  times. Safety, security and access difficulties necessitated a less strict criteria applied to times and locations. After research, seven locations were chosen as common in all the cities. These were shopping centre, market, high street, public transport, public transport hub, café and church. 

The process was:

1.    Choose common sites such as street, café, gallery by the process of a psycho-geographical wandering and locate ideal time of day for recording to take place.

2.    Record sound at sites in first location (Leicester) at chosen time of day.

3.    At second location (Athens), record sound in similar sites at similar time of day.

4.    Play sounds from first location and record accumulative sound.

5.    At third location (Saskatoon), record sound in similar sites at similar time of day.

6.    Play sounds from first and second locations and record accumulative sound.

7.    Repeat in Cagliari.

As I moved from city to city accumulative recordings were intended to be made. After four cities, therefore, I will have footage of four sets of individual locations, twenty-eight in total. The aim was to also have three sets (three sets of seven locations, twenty-one in total) of accumulative recordings – Athens, Saskatoon and Cagliari that created an interruption in the flow of the receiving city with the potential to further disrupt sites through mixing sites e.g. playing street sound in church. However, the playing of accumulative recordings proved very difficult due to security of myself and consideration for others. I have, therefore a limited number of these.


My aim was to see if the sites of sonic exchange collapsed the inherent flow of the rhythms of each city with the alien, inserted sound  creating a disruption in the status quo so producing an abstract soundspace. For this paper, I will explore the methods and findings with reference to the ideas of Henri Lefebvre and his work on social space. A selection of the recordings will be presented to explore the idea of different rhythms and allow discussion with the audience.