In a city in which noise can often be all-encompassing, how can we find ways to listen to things that are hidden, stories that are unheard, and forms of life at risk of disappearing?
This edition of the sound art label Optophono invites artists and scholars from Lebanon and the UK, to create works that sound out the spatial traces of memories, cultures, and bodies ingrained into the physical fabric of their cities. The works offer listeners modes of language and tools to find forms of value in their surroundings that might otherwise go unnoticed, and to challenge the quality of their acoustic environments. In doing so, they will help to frame sound as a shared concern and a shared heritage that can be shaped as well as recorded.
The edition follows on from Theatrum Mundi and Recomposing the City’s 2017 exploratory workshop Urban Sound and the Politics of Memory. It is commissioned by the UCL Institute for Global Prosperity and the RELIEF Centre. ‘Acoustic Cities: London & Beirut’ features works by Joan Baz, John Bingham-Hall, Gerard Gormley, Nathalie Harb, Omaya Malaeb, Nadim Mishlawi, Merijn Royaards, Youmna Saba, Mhamad Safa, and Christabel Stirling.
Co-presented by Optophono, UCL Institute for Global Prosperity, Theatrum Mundi and Recomposing the City.
—Event photo by Merijn Royaards © 2017.