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Drowning Out the Noise: An Experiment in Sonic Ethnography

Drowning Out the Noise, Installation View
Multiple locations
2 minutes


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Awarded the 2022 Frederick Niecks Essay Prize, this ongoing artistic research project employs Kusenbach’s Street Phenomenology, or walking interviews, to collect and archive queer experiences with private music listening through the urban landscape in real-time. This iteration was shown at Northwestern University June 2-4, 2023, and a text-audio essay on the project is currently under peer review with Resonance: The Journal of Sound and Culture. The piece coalesces binaural-recorded, first-person conversations with queer strangers to document a deliberate and contemporary use of a quotidian technology for queer wellbeing while existing in the public. In eighteen channels of audio, speakers project music mentioned by queer individuals as “soundtracks” to their daily walking/traveling routines, while corresponding pairs of headphones play the binaural-recorded conversations where they speak to the significance of this music. Four conversations were recorded in participants’ neighborhoods in Edinburgh, Scotland and two in Evanston and Chicago, IL.

Full audio reel

CC-BY-NC: Anne E Stoner


Hosted by: University of Edinburgh, Northwestern University

APA style reference

Stoner, A. (2023). Drowning Out the Noise: An Experiment in Sonic Ethnography. walk · listen · create.

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A drawing made on an outside environment, trafitti combines the word “graffiti”, to inscribe a surface, “trace” (which itself combines the meanings track, to make ones way, and to draw), and “traffic”, the passage of people or vehicles in transit, or the conveyance of messages or data through a communications system.

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