Jason Sweeney



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What songs will we sing to our cities in the future? What will they sound like?

I am trying to gather and assemble a kind of future sonic map of as many cities of the world as possible. If you were to find a place of seclusion in your city or a site that you wish could quieten down, what sound would you make? How could your voice resonate and make peace with its built environment?

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    Jun 24 2012: Great project Jason... do connect with me directly is I can help in any way. Are you aware of the UK Sound Map project run by the British Library and AudioBoo? The results are still available here: http://sounds.bl.uk/Sound-Maps/UK-Soundmap. It could be a way to go for your project too. I can introduce you to Mark Rock at AudioBoo if you like.

    Best, Julian
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    Jun 24 2012: Now there's a future worth having! You might enjoy my blog about silence here:
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    Jul 5 2012: There are many shades of 'quiet' I believe. I am interested in ways in which we as city dwellers can work towards countering intrusive noise through exploring the quieter spaces, the less noisy zones.
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    Jul 1 2012: What about a song of birds for all cities???
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    Jun 24 2012: Practicing onomatopoeia is also good training as you say - ruff ruff, caw caw, oink oink. Funny how generally animals always seem to have this doubling thing going on. Perhaps they are on a constant delay setting? Or they like their action words repeated.
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      Jun 29 2012: I think the doubling effect is a human accent on other "specieal" languages, or something people generally fabricated.

      I always wonder, what do humans sound like to each species of animals?

      Do we sound anything like other primates to other animals?
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    Jun 24 2012: In my silent arena, I would practice my animal calls and hope they sound as soothing as the actual animal making those sounds. *tweet, tweet* *meow* *cough, cough* That hurt my throat.....haha.

    I think that having your voice musically trained is a must for everyone at least once in their life. I think in the future, everyone will be musically trained and anyone can sing decently. =)
  • Jun 23 2012: John Cage's silence will be the new motto. People will gather to listen to the silence all together. Silence will become the new prayer of those seeking for a more spiritual journey.
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    Jun 23 2012: I suppose I am really interested in how we can generate counter sounds to the noises around us. The singer Lisa Gerrard talks of singing with the sound of cars under bridges and how the pure voice against the drone of machines can somehow soften that. If you were to stand and hum almost inaudibly but constantly in the middle of a busy mall would it begin to lessen the surrounding noise or would it just create new meaning for that space, just for you.
    • Jun 23 2012: If I was not going to quite a place down and replace it with sound information like music or a single person speaking, I would not change a thing. I love the white noise of my city. For me, it represents peoples lives and the choices they constantly make; to just sit down and listen while thinking about that is beautiful to me. I think if I were to just stand a hum it would just be a representation of me as a part of the whole.
  • Jun 22 2012: I've Been Working on the Railroad tune first then words. Slow it"s texas our texas> fast_it"s the
    aggie war Hymn. So to me it's the words and poetry.
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    Jul 18 2012: i love both ideas! perhaps a combined mix of natural sound in headphones with your real voice singing in the space... that would be kind of beautiful.
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    Jul 18 2012: If I had to use my voice, I'd probably sing songs that don't require a lot of concentration or range. "If I had a hammer" and "Where have all the flowers gone" come to mind.
    If you mean a place of seclusion that just needs the passing traffic bleeped out, I would choose water--trickling water, a brook, or a waterfall.
  • Jul 14 2012: To find a place to sing a song I would have to leave this earth.
  • Jul 14 2012: If we are referring to a song here, then I guess John Lennon's epic 'Imagine' is a truly classic example of ageless and boundless music which has meaning even in today's context. So, I believe that even the future generation shall be able to relate to the ideologies presented in the song.
  • Jul 14 2012: we will all beatbox
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    Jul 11 2012: Umm... are you talking about music? In that case it will probably be rock/rap/country/hip-hop.
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    Jul 5 2012: How do jason. If you want quite why would it make any noise? Wouldn't that defeat the purpose of quite
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    Jun 30 2012: Audio, sight, and smell are very powerful influences. Anywhere I am in the world he sound of children playing and the smell of bread baking reminds me of my mother. Crashing waves bring memories of a specific place and associates it with specific people. Look out over a lake surrounded by a forest is a calming effect. Audio tapes of rain, sea noises, birds, etc ... sell because they are calming and relax you and maybe even put you to sleep.

    We each have "triggers" that alert us and also "triggers" that calm us.

    All the best. Bob.
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    Aja B.

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    Jun 29 2012: I hope you'll share the results of your project when you finish it, Jason. People generally associate silence in cities with eeriness... and the same is true for natural settings, isn't it?

    If the solution to our many transportation problems eliminates motor vehicles, what will be the soundscape of the city? Probably not birdsong and wind through tree branches. I'm trying to imagine what rush hour around Grand Central would sound like without the engines, the honking, the sirens.... difficult for me to separate it all out. :)
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      Jul 18 2012: I guess it's about finding those small spaces, hidden locations where quiet (not silence) might be. And one can always experience 'quiet' of the mind amongst noise and people too.
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    Jun 24 2012: yep - noise and toxic pollution. i love that moment late at night when traffic lessens and the other sounds have a chance to creep in.
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    Jun 24 2012: the streets and roads - remove the noisy intrusion that is the motorcar..
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    Jun 22 2012: If I were to find a place of seclusion or a site I wanted to quiet down, I would make as little sound as possible there.
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      Jun 23 2012: That's the spirit. I've often been in cities or just noisy environments and tried to will silence through the very act of doing and saying nothing. Sometimes it works.
  • Jun 22 2012: There aren't many quite places here, but I feel like this song has a way of capturing any place and making it serene:

    of course in a place where it's always loud sometimes you have to speak up, and for that I might like to say:
    "majority rule, don't work in mental institutions
    sometimes the smallest softest voice carries the grand, biggest solutions"
    -The Idiots Are Taking Over, NOFX

    *I too hope I haven't misinterpreted the spirit of this post :-)
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    Jun 21 2012: I hope I have caught the proper spirit of this and will not be misinterpretted but what about Shakira's "Underneath your clothes..................... there is an endless story. I think it is true of all cities and of all people.