Discover more from The Art of Noticing
TAoN No. 143: How (and why) to catch them while you can. Plus: Talking about object stories in Austin next week, and more
In a nutshell, a sound shot is a minute or so of recorded sound that functions as the audio equivalent of a snapshot. It’s meantto help you focus on, and document, what you hear, not just what you see. Here’s a version of the relevant prompt from the book:
Over the course of a day or a month, make a point of using the voice memo app on your phone to take audio snapshots — sound shots, as it were. … Play some for a friend and see if they can figure out what the sounds are. Talk about where you recorded them and why. Invite your friend to do the same with you.
A couple of things inspired me to revisit the idea.
One is a terrific newsletter called The Neighborhoodsthat offers “a not-so-deep dive into every neighborhood in New York” and always includes (in addition to text and photography) a brief field recording. And that’s kind of what a sound shot is: a miniature field recording — something that captures a place in the audible rather than the visual.
They can also capture a moment. For a while I was posting my own sound shots to Soundcloud, until I got lazy about that. (I still make them, I just stopped uploading them.) Here’s one catching what Hurricane Ida sounded like in my home office in New Orleans:
The other inspiration to revisit this idea was a recent subscriber thread in which I asked for examples of “sounds you miss” — or might miss some day. I’ve taken down the paywall on that thread so that everyone can read it: here.
So many of the answers were just amazing: birdsong, frog calls, foghorns, pet sounds, train whistles, a loved one’s voice, even noisy neighbors and clanking radiators!
All this brought to mind a new spin on the sound shot prompt:
Make a short recording of a sound you would miss if you could never hear it again. Share it with others — or keep it for yourself.
(If you do make one and upload to Soundcloud, tag it #Sound Shot and/or link in the comments.)
TAoN IS A READER-SUPPORTED PUBLICATION:
For access to past and future subscriber-only posts, discussion threads — and most important, to keep this free edition alive for all — support TAoN with a paid subscription.
RECENTLY IN THE PAID EDITION:A very fun thread about personal theme songs; a post on noticing illusions, and, following up the popular map the picture post, a look at the remarkable work of artist Wendy Red Star.
THE NEXT FREE EDITION IN TWO WEEKS
IN OTHER NEWS
September 29 in Berkeley, Marc Weidenbaum event, “Music That Listens To Itself.” Wish I could be there — maybe you can?
Adam G.’s Animalia series. Adam G. was a contributing artist to the Lost Objects book — one of the highlights of that project was getting to rope in artists whose work I admired, and Adam G. was definitely an example.
Vince Clarke, via Marc:
OKAY THAT’S IT!
As always, I value your feedback (suggestions, critiques, positive reinforcement, constructive insults directed at me, not at anyone else, etc.), as well as your tips or stories or personal noticing rituals, things we need a word for, and of course your icebreakers: firstname.lastname@example.org. Or use the comments.
—> Or just click the heart symbol. That always makes my day.
And thanks for reading …
RobWalker.net | NB: I use (some) Amazon Affiliate links
All this by Rob Walker PO Box 171, 748 Mehle St., Arabi LA 70032. Send me mail!
To unsubscribe see the grey box at the bottom of the email, or go here.