back acoustic ecologies
Adventures in Acoustic Ecologies, Istanbul september 2009
Adventures in Acoustic Ecologies is a short “soundwalk” of the streets around Galatasaray in Istanbul, created for the "Istanbul Audio Tour", a CUMA event at the Istanbul biennale 2009. It is a guided tour made with the intention to allow the listener to escape the visual modality of contemporary society – the “culture of the eye”, of visual affection and bright lights. The city might have a syntax, but it is certainly not only a text. If we listen better we will find many rich spectra of sounds and harmonies - the living "Umwelt" of the human habitat.

During the tour the listener is guided through a range of Acoustic Ecologies or soundscapes. The aim is to together try to sharpen our attention to the sonic atmospheres mediated through sound, between living beings, their gestures and their environment.
  acoustic assemblage
An audio tour of this sort is a form of mindfulness, an articulation of the sensual experiences of sound. A guided movement through sound.

We are always surrounded by acoustic ecologies, usually in the form of soundscapes of the city. Many inhabitants and visitors to Istanbul identify the city with some characteristic sounds. Some mean it is the sound of seagulls, others the rattling sticks of the icecream sellers, or the characteristic yells of the street sellers. The tour takes you through some other sounds in the local streets.
One approach to acoustic ecologies could centered around the sonic touch of games and furniture. Erik Satie’s "Musique d’Ameublement", or Furniture Music, is a background music originally played by live performers and made for intermissions. It was for many decades forgotten until John Cage redescovered it and rtefered to it in his theory of minimalist background music. The term was coined by Erik Satie in 1917 for his first set of intermission pieces, "Tapisserie en fer forgé - pour l'arrivée des invités (grande réception) - À jouer dans un vestibule - Mouvement: Très riche" (Tapestry in forged iron - for the arrival of the guests (grand reception) - to be played in a vestibule - Movement: Very rich).


acoustic assemblage

So what are the sounds of games and furniture in the streets of Istanbul? What are the acoustic gestures of recreational practice - of games like Tavla or Okey?

Go search through the soundscapes.

  Istanbul Tour Map
listen to the guide - download the mp3-file and test the tour next time you have time off in Istanbul. Start from Cafe Urban, next to the Galatasaray Hamam. The tour takes about 40 minutes. Enjoy the silence.
Turkish [5 mb] - English [5mb]