´The idea of being a tourist in your own city´
Lílian Nakao Nakahodo is an artist that recently developed the ´CWB soundmap – An affective cartography of Curitiba´. This project was developed during her master´s degree and had the support of several institutions (1).
This project was presented in a book-cd (15x15cm, 55 pages + CD with 14 tracks), alongside an online platform that allows listeners access to “interviews conducted to a total of 29 people, men and women between 30 to 105 years old, from different professional backgrounds and interests and recordings from different places that were mentioned during these discussions” (Nakahodo 2016: my translation).
Figure 1. book-cd ´CWB soundmap – An affective cartography of Curitiba´.
The above interviews tried to link a discussion between the sounds of everyday life in the city, with a reflection about our relationship between the acoustic environment and a form of cartography that tries to go beyond strict scientific representation — that pushes for an illusive neutrality or objectivity. In contrast, her goal was to create:
“… an affective cartography of Curitiba, drawn by memories, experiences and aural perceptions. To remember our first sonic impressions of Curitiba. To go back to our childhood and search for significant sounds. To go though everyday sounds and sounds from places we like. To describe sounds that piss us off. To reflect about those that triggers in us joy and happiness. This was the experience of 29 people…”
In March of 2016, I had the opportunity to participate in a sonic cartography workshop related to this initiative. It took place in a school located in the Centro Industrial de Curitiba (Industrical Center of Curitiba). See below a personal account of what happen.
The workshop started at a school (Colégio) called Brasílio Vicente de Centro located in the Centro Industrial de Curitiba neighboorhod. The first person I speak to is Alex Otto, the vocalist of a metal band (Estado Laico) and member of a local community organisation called anima CIC. This particular workshop was only made possible due to the assistance of Janaína Moscal and the help of Alex.
Upon arrival, Lílian doesn´t recognise me. In fact, we had only had contact through e-mail or Facebook, so it takes her a few seconds to understand whom am I. I go for a quick trip to the toilet and have the opportunity to get a better grasp of the workshop starting point. The school has a field for sports practice and classrooms spread all over the place.
Image Rui Chaves
We start walking and I notice the ease from which Lílian will deal with the group, her openness to dialogue and conversation during the walk. it might be usual during these situations to ask a group to be silent, to avoid conversations between each other, to enact a focus on what one is hearing. Myself, with no indication from Lílian, follow this pattern. I start silently, but soon I became involved with talking with other people — reflecting about our actions and what is happening.
I brought some equipment to help out in recording our walk. It should be noted, that Lílian in her approach queries participants to use the recorders in a playful manner — as a way of exploring the world. The equipment will be shared in turns with the group. This combination created a certain level of improvisation and interaction with our surrounding environment. That´s why when we stop at a park, several people start sonically exploring one of the available swings.
Recording 1. Adriano Elias, Laíze Guazina e Lílian Nakao Nakahodo brincando no parque. (12/03/2016) Video recording Rui Chaves. Audio recording (stereo) Alex Otto
The other thing that is hard to ignore is that the size of the group, causes a reaction with people passing by us. Besides that, some of the participants are super active and start exploring the places we went by; as if the microphones were a filter, a gateway to another world of sonic possibilities. As I mentioned before, there is something deeply playful about this process. I remember entering a supermarket.
Recording 2. Alex Otto, Laíze Guazina, Lílian Nakao Nakahodo e Kety Silva. (12/03/2016) Video recording Rui Chaves. Audo recording (stereo) Alex Otto
In another moment, Kety (one of the workshop participants) enters in a beauty saloon and starts recording people getting their haircut. Later on, she will explain why she did this. We stop at a bus terminal, and Alex goes on a binaural recording that starts there and ends in a small music school.
Recording 3. Audio recording (Binaural) Alex Otto (12/03/2016) (use headphones)
Our walk ends when we return to school. I have to go again to the bathrrom, and when I return I see Kety drawing a map of our path and identifying sounds. She talks about the process of noticing sounds she didn´t before: cars, traffic..But also the possibility of recording sounds she has to deal with daily in her work — such as people getting their haircut done.
The workshop ends with this conversation between us and we leave with a wonderful feeling of having met new people in order to experience, through sound, a playful engagement with everyday life.
(1) Banco do Brasil, Prefeitura de Curitiba, Fundação Cultural de Curitiba