This week I embarked on a daily cognitive mapping exercise. I walked, biked, and ran, making recordings of interesting sonic moments on those adventures that changed the way I felt, made me pause and observe, or altered the space or my behavior in some way. This was an exercise in observing the way the city and I affect each other through sound and listening.
Thursday night, 11 pm. Biking home through Prospect Park from Jacob's house. The counter rhythms of my wheel spokes against the crickets that beckon fall. I pass virtually no one on the path. Does my brain try to make musical sense of these polyrhythms the way Seth Horowitz believes? I have no memory of that. I’m trying to bike and record at the same time.
Friday 3 pm, Washington Square Park. I take a break from ITP and walk to the park, around the fountain, and back to school at 721 Broadway. In the east corridor of the park I pass a saxophonist riffing by himself. The lunch rush in the park is over, the sounds of the sax drift aimlessly. Maybe he was playing with a trio earlier. Poetic lingering.
Saturday 11 AM, my walk to the 25th street R stop from my house on 19th street in South Slope, Brooklyn. I enter a Bodega on 5th ave. Spanish from the TV and the other customer's conversation with the proprietor remind me that I am a visitor here. I pay for the drink and chips and the counter and temporarily the space changes to my presence as it/he switches to English. As I leave it I assume it switches back.
Sunday 4 PM run through Prospect Park. I leave my house and do my usual jog. I stop and stretch at the Drummer's Grove drum circle in the southeast corner of the park. Happy people, incense and bbq smells mix. I have no effect whatsoever on the space. I walk away feeling energized and being to jog again.
Monday 8AM, walk to Roots Cafe for coffee from my apt on 19th Street. Before I get to the corner of 5th ave I pass the construction crew digging through the asphalt on my block to lay a new pipe underground. One of the crew notices my field recorder but doesn't seem interested in it or my presence. I think to myself this is the worst sound you could hear before you've had coffee on a Monday morning. I think about the ambient anxiety that sounds like this add to our urban qualities of life.
Tuesday 12 PM, pouring rain. I run out my apt to the corner of 6th ave to Southside Coffee for a rainy day americano. I run back. I record the rain underneath my front door awning. I remember life in Seattle. I love this feeling. No one can do much in weather like this. We stay inside and drink coffee. We submit to the conditions of the world in these moments.