Lodz, urban sound ecology workshop


Analysis of… finding creative responses to… the acoustic spaces and sound environments of Lodz Poland

A collaborative project led by John Grzinich in cooperation with Muzeum Sztuki Lodz.

April 1-10, 2012

Coordinated by Aleksandra Jach and Katarzyna Sloboda of MSL in the frame of Ekologie Miejskie

This project aims to understand the role that sound plays within the ecology of urban life, through a continuous series of analytical exercises and artistic interventions. Working with sound implies that all activities are context specific as sound is always intimately linked to space in which it occurs and the materials and actions from which it originates. The dimensions of these sonic possibilities are as varied as the architectural and social contexts of urban environments.

Some questions we addressed were; How can we analyze and address the increasingly homogenized sounds of urban environments from traffic and other forms of urban “noise”? How can we creatively respond to the effect of urban noise on the loss of character or identity of a place? What are desirable sound environments? How can we establish new codes or behaviors that help shape our sound environments? How can we adapt or modify existing the architectural to develop new acoustic spaces? How can we identify unique or characteristic social patterns that help shape the sonic identity of a place? What role does technology play in this process, specifically newly available and more affordable digital recording technologies?

Is this how we listen to the city? Portraits of listeners, inspired by the workshop in Lodz.

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The final performance entitled ‘POD NAD’ was developed by the participants; Aleksandra Chciuk, S?awas Lewy, Maciej Ocieg, Jarek Szewczyk

logo: Aleksandra Chciuk, photos: Maciej Cholewieski

The ecology of urban environments is based on the relations of living organisms, the majority of which are human beings. As we are the dominant part of the urban ecology we must observe, reflect and react to every aspect of our behavior. No other medium presents the sensitivity of an ecology than sound and yet sound is one of the most ignored and neglected signifiers of our informative environment.

With POD NAD we aim to play with the balance of two distinct environments using only sound. To investigate the relation of these environments we will transmit sounds from one space to another and play with minute levels of feedback through holes in the membrane. The spaces in question are the Freedom Square of Lodz and an underground oval channel that lies just beneath the street surface, hidden from the eyes of everyday pedestrians. Through this performance we not only wish to understand the relationships of these two spaces, but also to engage the listening abilities of the performers and public as an interconnected system and thus question our own role in the urban ecology.

Full recording from POD NAD from inside the tunnel: 

and this is an audio/video work I created from our investigations of the city:


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