Last week we walked to the Bluecoat and enjoyed a coffee in the courtyard. We were sitting surrounded by the history of the wonderfully preserved former school, one of the oldest buildings in Liverpool, and now a thriving arts centre. In the centre of the gardens here we came across a mythophone:
We’d also discovered one earlier at St Lujes, the bombed-out church that stands as a memorial to the Blitz, and is also a centre for film and arts venues:
By coincidence, we are planning something along the same lines: to make and edit recordings to form ‘soundscapes’ with a mix of ambient sound, music and speech. Yesterday we went to the Roman Catholic end of Hope Street with the recorder set on four channel surround mode, and listening through the headphones was very weird! A bit dizzying at first, you hear the world in an utterly different way, find it difficult to make sense of all the many sounds coming in together. We’re used to normal hearing and we ‘filter’ sounds in our mind. That keeps us sane but at the same time we are missing a lot of what is all around us. The same goes for seeing: we miss most of what is to be seen by ‘filtering out’ most of it. The same is true of history as a whole.
We did a quick session with Audacity, the free download of a sound editor. Over the coming weeks we’ll pick up more skills and come up with ideas for producing materials using sound, video and still photography to explore unusual ways of representing Hope Street.
We’ll also be contributing to the BBC’s ‘Save Our Sounds’ project which aims to map the world with sounds in danger of becoming extinct.