Roomtones (2020)

The Covid-19 pandemic changed the way we experience our everyday soundscapes. A number of sound artists have taken advantage of this situation and embarked on a hunt for the allegedly restored pristineness of outdoor soundscapes while also inspiring others to do the same.

In contrast to that, Roomtones focuses on domestic environments. It prompts recordists and listeners to reflect on the privilege of having a roof over one's head while calling to rediscover sonic complexions of our homes. It provokes reflection over the origin and echoes of sounds that constitute contemporary domestic soundscapes, suggesting that their roots and extensions expand through time and space, far beyond the walls of our houses, apartments, and studios.

As one of the outcomes, the project has taken the form of an evolving soundscape composition. Its content derived from a call among friends and acquaintances for detail and roomtone recordings from their home environments during the pandemic.

The content of almost all submissions quite suggestively indicated that the pandemic rendered the border between the indoor and outdoor ever more elusive. Reduction of outdoor activities does not make indoor soundscapes any quieter than under normal circumstances. Quite the opposite, this reduction of dominant noises has amplified other micro-events that earlier were not that easily perceptible or worth attention. This unexpected reconfiguration of soundscapes and vectors along which they leak into and interact with each other threw into relief a realization that the boundaries of our aural perception are always subject to social, environmental, and political processes and their fluctuating intensity depending on current circumstances.

All donations from the purchase of the composition were transferred to a selected organization in Vancouver that supports homeless individuals and communities during the Covid-19 pandemic.

The piece was released on May 5, 2020 and is available here.
Contributors include (in random order): Billie Easton, Ami Kohara, Martina Raponi, Tim Shaw, Lucia Hinojosa Gaxiola, Mary Nogacka, Brett Ascarelli, Michal Smolicki, Jacek Smolicki

Fragment of Roomtones, a composition based on recordings of domestic environments during lockdown