sonicart

Unnoticed Sounds

Evangelos Alexiou - 1618795

Abstract

In a fast-paced modern society where time is the most precious value in an ordinary person’s life, we, humans tend to live as a result of our memories by either worrying about the past for what has happened or being anxious about the future for what is about to happen. As a result, it seems as if we are kind of ignoring the most precious thing that life has to offer which is the present moment, being present and focusing on what is happening right now and how to make the most out of it instead of overthinking about the past and/or future.

Due to my high appeal in meditation, mindfulness and experiencing reality in the present moment I decided to create a project based upon these particular terms. The title of the project is “The Unnoticed Sounds” and the inspiration for it came to my mind when I have had come across John Cage’s popular piece 4’33’’ in which he created a “silent” piece. As he explained the piece is not silent, instead, the music of the piece is any sound that will occur throughout its duration, either that will be somebody coughing or the noise of the traffic. What is fascinating and unique about this piece he said is that when you listen to a classical piece of music it will sound the same no matter how many times you listen to it but 4’33” will never sound the same because it is impossible for one to predict which sounds will take place when the piece is being performed.

However, for my project I did not create a silent piece, instead, I recorded some of the sounds that happen on a daily basis around me yet I subconsciously ignore them probably due to the fact that my brain is so used to these sounds. The recordings include sounds from my house and my workplace, with some of them being the sound of the kettle while boiling some water, the deep fryer at work, etc. After I recorded these sounds, I arranged them in a specific order from start to finish, just as they happen in real life from the beginning of the day till the end of it.

My main aim from this project is for people who will listen to it to be able to understand the principle behind it and then apply it in their own life with their own approach to it. There is not a strict guideline on how one should listen to this piece, it could be focused listening by using headphones and eliminating all other sounds around it or it can be playing in the background while one is multitasking.

Keywords:

John Cage, Zen Buddhism and Art, Field Recording, Silence, Present Moment, Ambience.



Video Explanation of the Unnoticed Sounds



Unnoticed Sounds Composition


References


John Cage’s interview on what is silence


Neuroscience of Meditation (explanation of the importance of being in the present moment)