Weeklong Daily Makings - Cognitive Maps

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.