I am fascinated by the interaction between humans and their environment, about the history behind the sounds I record on tape and finding connections between the past and present day. The person moving through a space with a microphone is not an observer, looking from the outside in but a part of the environment and soundscape that he or she is analyzing or recording.
My soundscape work is inspired by composers and researchers such as Andra McCartney, Hildegard Westerkamp, R. Murray Schafer, Barry Truax and Gregg Wagstaff to name a few. All of these people are contributors to soundscape studies who have enlightened my understanding of soundscape as both a mode of research and an art. I have learned, and continue to learn, how recording technologies influence the hearing of particular places and what methodologies are best suited for this type of work. Through continued theoretical and practical research, I hope to achieve a more profound understanding of the relationship between humans and our environment in my current project: "Sounding Griffintown: A Soundscape Analysis of a Neighbourhood in Flux."
Recently, I was guest lecturing on soundscape for an undergraduate digital production course at Concordia. I took the class on a soundwalk of the campus where they had the chance to listen and record the sounds of their environment. At the end of the class, during question period, one student asked why I "only record sounds" of the environment. "Why don’t you use a video camera?" he asked.
His question embodies the importance of soundscape in a world that continues to preserve its visual bias. This work encourages active listening, an activity that is rarely performed by anyone not familiar with soundscape studies. However, it is my belief that as researchers continue to record the sounds of particular environments, more and more people will start to open their ears. R. Murray Schafer has written extensively on active listening and soundscape, a term he coined in the 1970s for the work he and fellow researchers were conducting at Simon Fraser University. In his book, The Tuning of the World, Schafer takes the reader through the sounds of history, explaining these sounds to us as they were noted in poetry or literature. As we now have the ability to record sound, it is important to preserve the disappearing sounds of our environment, an activity that is impossible without the practice of listening.