(Degradation of) The Dunedin Soundscape

A friend and colleague of mine, Tess bunny, runs a wonderful blog called Wild the City. She talks about ways that we can enhance city landscapes, soundscapes, biodiversity and manage the ever-increasing disconnect between the natural world and our everyday urban experiences.

In a post she writes about her experience living in Dunedin:

For me, living in Dunedin, the most powerful story I’ve heard about the area is that people could not sleep at night due to the sound of whales in the harbour. Only 200 years ago they were kept awake all night by the whales spouting, calling and moving. It is a sad reality that today we don’t hear or see any whales in the harbour.

This degradation of the urban soundscape is a recurring theme in her work and something that I will be exploring in depth in the next few weeks as I help Tess put together an audio-visual installation she’s running between July 6th and 11th. The installation will be housed in one of Dunedin’s blandest, most sterile destinations, the Meridian shopping centre, in attempt to raise awareness of these issues.

As well as discussing the issues that Tess is addressing, I’ll also be putting together some podcasts documenting our experiences collecting sounds from the Dunedin environs; details of and public reaction to the installation itself; and a stream of the audio portion of the project.

So stay tuned.

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