Sense of place

26. May 2014 – Mühlenplatz, Luzern, Switzerland

This work explores using an empty telephone booth as a site from which to project disturbing traffic sounds, such as the whooshing clamouring reverberating screeching humming hissing thundering din on highways, train tracks and in tunnels, as well as projecting irritating construction site noises. My aim is to enhance awareness of and sensitivity to the issues of noise and question positivist notions of contemporary urban development.

I believe that our identification with a place as home and even our very ability to have any sense of place at all is seriously diminishing because we are increasingly being confronted by a barrage of dulling noise. These sounds are the waste or by-products of excess and they erode both our sense of hearing as well as the meaningfulness of what is heard. Not only does such environmental noise fail to contribute the inherent beauty and richness of natural sounds, but also it lacks social significance, specific place-enhancing capacities and destroys one of the most important means of regenerating life, which is silence. The focus of my work is to re-think how we are giving shape to and being shaped by our sonic environment. Without more reflection and engagement now to effectively move in a new direction, we will have to accept the near future consequences of living in an extremely noisy world.