Put The Needle On The Record #16 : Vancouver : 07102019

The histories of architecture in the city are ‘scrolls’ waiting to be discovered and ‘read’ (Calvino, 1972). While investigating these scrolls through the practice of walking the streets of the city accompanied by wheeled luggage, I have found a ‘stylus’ for reading the pavement topography, the skin of the city. The wheels of the luggage bag connect directly with the built environment, rather like putting the needle on a record: a record that is city-sized and can be played in any direction. This practice presents a way of recording, mapping, and sonifying the streets of the city.

Put The Needle On The Record was created by Loz Colbert. Find out more about the project here.

From my sound diary that day 07102019: Vancouver. Listened to the sound of the drums sound checking… the natural ‘acoustic’ version of the drum kit is so different to the amplified version, with its booming, boosted frequencies that cut across and fill the room, the drums sound so elastic and bouncy, they sound sonorous and huge once amplified. I remember the muted sound of the lobby I sat in to find somewhere to read a family message quietly. It was the lobby of a car park or shopping centre (you take what you can get)…

07102019 Vancouver

From a street-based perspective: how was Canada different to America? Without thinking too deeply: cleaner, more tidy, less devastated and less ravaged. Also much neater in terms of construction approaches, and appearance. It wasn’t all perfect, but there were just hints of what I can only call a more ‘European’ mentality, with slightly more appealing street materials from which to build. Is this because of distant Anglo/Franco imperial influence? What even is that influence? Wasn’t that influence itself a complex mixture of borrowed stolen and controversial aesthetics? Can these be felt through the streets through history, over the ages..? What effect do key events of the past echo in the construction of cities, publics spaces, and in the demeanour of the people…? How far back does this go, and can it ever be erased? Can we hear it just by listening? Can we see it just by looking? Or is it a mixture of both, and ‘sensing’ the cultural rhythms of the past…

The back of the venue connected to an unnamed alleyway that – starting at Robson Street – seemed to stretch for miles
Glanville Street, Vancouver