Listening in Context

Listening in Context : Riga 2014

Country of Production | Latvia/Estonia

Running Time | 18:30 minutes

Aspect Ratio | 1.78:1

Original Format | HD

Screening Format | H.264, ProRes 422

Language | Latvian, English (with English subtitles)

concept, sound, camera, editing: John Grzinich
location assistance and translation: Madara Bunkše
logistics and support: Sound Development City

Using the seemingly simple idea of creating ‘portraits’ of people listening to their city, ‘Listening in Context’ investigates the intimate role sound plays in perception and the connections we make to our surroundings through what we hear. The project involves making ‘portraits’ with the public in public space, to engage people in becoming focused ‘listeners’ at specific places around their city. Those who agree to stop and listen, are filmed while they ‘monitor’ a recording and are then asked to make short comments following their experience. Once the recordings are organized, they will be used to create an audio-visual work that highlights the listener and the process of reflecting on the audible perspective of the city, as well as document different sounds and acoustic environments of Helsinki and Riga.

The idea of the portrait works on at least three levels here. The first one being the obvious portrait of a listener embedded in a place, the second one is a sound ‘image’ of the city itself through the various locations and the third is a more intimate portrait of how and what people listen to through their statements of reflections.

“Listening in Context” was carried out in the frame of Sound Development City 2014, an artistic group expedition between Riga and Helsinki.

I am very grateful to the Sound Development City team for their support in this project. My intention is to use this round as a model project from which to offer it to other cities.

Here is an interview made during Sound Development City regarding my work and the project:


A gallery of stills from the video material:

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