Soundwalking is a meditative practice that I use to connect with the environment I find myself in.
You can do a soundwalk anywhere. Wherever there is sound, you have the necessary ingredients for a soundwalk. A soundwalk is a time to focus on nothing but the sounds around you. It is like a meditation, but is different because a meditation is usually about listening to the sounds inside. The soundwalk is about connecting with the outer world.
In the words of one of my mentors, Hildegard Westerkamp, who introduced me to soundwalking:
“A soundwalk is any excursion whose main purpose is listening to the environment. It is exposing our ears to every sound around us no matter where we are. We may be at home, we may be walking across a downtown street, through a park, along the beach; we may be sitting in a doctor’s office, in a hotel lobby, in a bank; we may be shopping in a supermarket, a department store, or a Chinese grocery store; we
may be standing at the airport, the train station, the bus-stop. Wherever we go we will give our ears priority.”
I have written my own article about how I do a soundwalk. You can find it here.
On my Magnetic Spirits website, you can also hear how I take the sounds recorded in my soundwalks and turn them into art pieces. Much like an artist will set up his easel in the middle of the woods, I take my microphone, gather sounds and then compose them back in the studio.
I’m documenting the soundscape, but I am going further than that .. I am then taking the sounds and creating a work which reflects what the person, place or event is saying to me