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FInal Teach In Contribution

sara.gladwin's picture

Sarahj and I met to discuss our interest in sound. We met for a while, and finally decided that we would structure a discussion around the idea of creating an auditory map of Bryn Mawr. We wanted to find differing ways to represent the world and the places we inhabit, with the understanding that in Anne’s words, all representations would be “thin and inadequate” and with the assumption that in whatever representation is produced, there will always be something lost in the final product. We wanted the class to both create this map and listen to sounds of Bryn Mawr. The presentation began with us explaining our individual interests in sound and then asking the class to contribute in trying to recreate different sounds that we hear across campus. Our peers were either allowed to describe the sounds, or attempt to represent them any way they choose as long as it was through making some kind of noise. Sarahj and I agreed ahead of time that we wanted to document this map in someway. We decided that we would record these sounds that students make, in an effort to keep the representation an entirely auditory one, and not have the visual of writing on the board or on paper. In addition, we realized that if students chose to represent a sound in a way that was not descriptive, it would be almost impossible to recreate this in writing/visually. We then played a recording of a spot on Bryn Mawr’s campus and asked students to try and figure out where the sound had come from. We originally recorded two places to share, but in the interest of time, where only able to play one sound. Ultimately, the place was our “classroom,” just outside the English House.

I am currently still in debate about how to put these sounds on Serendip. Serendip does not support the sound file, and I was unable to convert these files into sound files that were supported by serendip. My other option is to load them on to YouTube, but I have been hesitant to do this because YouTube is primarily about visuals. It seems to create an interesting expectation/void where there should be a picture and there is only sound. However, My desire to share our map and the sounds of Bryn Mawr is greater than my issue with using YouTube.

This is the outline we used to structure our conversation:

-creating an auditory map of Bryn Mawr- what sounds would you foreground? What sounds would you background? What sounds would be terra incognita? You can represent this sound anyway you choose, with an imitation or a description? Haverford Students are welcome to choose sounds from Bryn Mawr or Haverford’s campus- whatever you feel called to do.

-ask if everyone is okay with being recorded? Our reasoning in recording is to focus entirely on the auditory experience rather than the visual.

-Starting broadly but then going more local

-Recording outside the English House- What did you hear? Where do you think you are?

    -we decided to recording outside English House to create a auditory map of our classtime

-What do you think is enhanced or lost by choosing to focus only on the auditory experience?




sarahj's picture


Additionally, I think we saw sound as something that grounded us in our bodies which, at least I see as something that is really important to ecological thinking.  How can we know the world around us if we are not willing or able to know ourselves?  The use of sound really forces us to use other senses and other parts of our body that we would not otherwise have used had we not lost our visual senses. The auditory map goes back to Anne's post that asked us to create a visual map of BMC and I was using that as a frame through which to think about sound.  Other than that, I think Sara expressed everything that we had considered going into the teach-in.