Gordon Hempton says that silence is an endangered species. He defines real quiet as presence — an absence of noise. The Earth, as he knows it, is a “solar-powered jukebox.”
Once long past, listening gave clues for survival. Now we listen unconsciously, blocking noise and tuning in to what we want to hear. Yet the unwanted sounds we filter out tell us a lot about our environment and our lives. Broadcaster Teresa Goff listens for the messages in our walls of sound.
As civilization has become more mechanized, more urbanized and more digitized, the amount of noise has increased in tandem. This noise, according to Garrett Keizer, author of The Unwanted Sound of Everything We Want: A Book about Noise , "is a window for understanding some of the paradoxes and contradictions of being human." If you take the sum total of all sounds within any area, what you have is an intimate reflection of the social, technological, and natural conditions of that place.
Hildegard Westerkamp, a founding member of the World Forum for Acoustic Ecology, says that "Environmental sound is like a spoken word with each sound or soundscape having its own meanings and expressions." So when you listen to the noise, what does it have to tell you? "Noise is a pit of interpretation," says noise musician Brian Chippendale. Broadcaster Teresa Goff goes into the pit with her documentary, The Signal of Noise.
A classic from 2002, Jad introduces John Cage, New York noise, Micromusic, Aaron Ximm, Tripura and Om (the woman wo fell in love with a man under a vow of silence), and more.
An interview with world leading sound recordist Chris Watson on the problems of noise, its threat to human health and its impact on the natural environment.
More information: http://onthenatureofthings.com/2012/01/18/chris-watson-on-noise/