I have been thinking about how people relate to their environments, how they generate meaning, and what can act as triggers to memory or create feelings of safety or belonging. Our primary sense is sight, and so this is what we often expect to be the main trigger for memory. However, the things which make us feel at home are often not what we necessarily expect – for example, one of the most powerful psychological triggers is smell, which can (and in my experience, has) immediately place us in a given place in an often really unnerving way.

Emekah Ogboh experimental soundscapes

Image result for Emeka Ogboh - Lagos is a city that is never silent

Emekah Ogbah

This led me to listening to Emekah Ogbohh’s street recordings from Lagos. He talks about other people in the African ex pat community in the UK and how they described these recordings made them feel at home. The sounds ‘transport you to where you are not physically present’ (quote from Tate Shots video, below). Just by hearing them they were placed immediately back in their native countries (apparently African markets have a ‘sound’). All this made me think about the nature of memory and it’s power in identity creation and a feeling of safety – essentially how we feel at home and what a ‘place’ really is.

Image result for Mullae, seoulMullae

Here is another soundscape from the Mullae district of Seoul. This is an interesting area where metal workshops are interspersed with artist’s studios – when the workshops shutters go down, the studios open up. It is very interesting how sounds from here can place me back there.

Mullae soundscape:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HQX6EK0-TKE&t=1s

Article about Mullae: https://www.timeout.com/seoul/things-to-do/grey-and-colorful-mullae

My thoughts

This is interesting to me as another source of material which could be used as part of investigating the location of identity or culture. When I was in Seoul I had begun recording subway journeys. These recordings are placed in several ways. Language is the most obvious. However other things such as the jingles they play on the Seoul Subway when you are going to arrive somewhere or a train is coming. The sound of the subway itself is different when you know it well. In London I have been doing the same. I have no particular aim for this at present – however I currently imagine sound as an additional element to making installations or adding a dimension to a collection of drawings, for example.

Tate Shots video about Emekah Ogbah: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DPTtWsAKVww

http://africasacountry.com/2013/08/emeka-ogbohs-experimental-videos-and-soundscapes-of-lagos/

Soundscapes:

https://soundcloud.com/lagos-soundscape

Seoul Soundscapes:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HQX6EK0-TKE

Lawrence Blackman