The spaces of the cities are shared by different living beings. Between humans, insects, birds and others, cities are filled with processes, routines and events on a daily basis where all inhabitants are interconnected through sound.
In cities, sound is thought of as signals that alert or send messages beyond human language. For example, traffic lights, despite being a predominantly visual lighting system, also have an alternate sound system designed so that blind people can travel and coexist in public spaces.
Car horns also send alert messages to each other.
Sound is irrefutably a semiotic language that helps life to occur on the planet.
The birds that live in cities have their communication system between them through the sound waves they produce. Humans can also perceive and interpret them in different ways. One of the most universal can be the first songs of the birds at 5:30 in the morning, these are a sign that the day has begun.
In this example we can see how sound interconnects species and generates dynamics that delineate life.
In spaces such as parks or forests, the sounds are much richer than in cities, in terms of the tranquility and musicality that can be perceived.
I think cities sound like they rule. The sound of the traffic, the horns, the noise, it’s quite metallic.
I was doing the active listening exercise in the Metropolitan Park on Saturday and you can understand at a glance how the sound box has other colors. The woody sound and dance of the eucalyptus trees under the Quito sun is particularly relaxing and harmonious.
It must be understood that each listener is part of the portrait, that is why the one I did in this place was very real and I think it managed to capture the happiness of the moment.
The pandemic brought with it a series of very strong things, including silence. For many, that was one of the challenges that had to be faced in the new normal of confinement. In my personal experience, the silence that replaced the metallic roar of Quito was one of the most beautiful experiences that I could live. Being able to be in contact with the sounds of these “other” non-human inhabitants was something that awakened my senses and my sensitivity, and it also allowed me to listen inwardly and to my life companions more deeply.
The auditory is one of the most wonderful of sensoria and for which I am very grateful.
Being able to hear on this planet, from the flickering of the light of a firefly in your hand to a symphony, the rain, your favourite song or the sound of a kiss, are things that can hardly be expressed in words.