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SWS24 New 2023


Multiple locations
20 minutes


Collection · 269 items


Collection · 123 items


Collection · 257 items


Collection · 124 items
Sound walk

As a student at the University of California, San Diego, and in part due to my job at KSDT radio, UCSD’s student-run radio station, I have spent a lot of time alone very late at night on campus. UCSD campus is a unique place. It is enormous, and filled with huge concrete structures, mostly in a 1970s brutalist style. Especially on East campus, over the Interstate I-5, there are lots of medical buildings and treatment plants that feel giant and empty. In ONSITE, I wanted to capture the feelings that these locations give me, and I wanted the locations to inform the sound of the recording, and also what I wrote. It started as a writing exercise; I would go to a location that gave me this feeling, bring my guitar, and write and record a song then and there on a small digital recorder. After a couple, I started really enjoying the process and enjoying the result. I liked being able to hear the machine hum and the sound of cars passing that were there when I was writing. I started also going on excursions specifically for capturing the soundscape. What I ended up with is something that, to me, feels like one soundscape walking through campus. I wanted to capture what it feels like to exist as a student among the physical and social architecture of UCSD.

If you walk around campus after 9pm, places are empty. Multi-floor parking structures have no cars in them, there are practically no pedestrians, and entire buildings feel abandoned. This isolation and loneliness has always haunted me, often I get strange feelings in these places of being the only person in the world, that I am surrounded by so many buildings, and so much infrastructure but there is no one around me for miles. I look at these huge biomedical company buildings and see no one inside, and some part of me wonders if anybody actually goes there, if there is a time that it ever feels busy. I start to think about the allocation of space. UCSD is a huge school with more and more colleges and students being added every year, so much so that the school cannot house them, and affordable housing around campus is nonexistent. Every night at every transit station on campus, there are unhoused people accosted by police because they have no place to go. But still, I can stand at the top of a parking structure, turn 360 degrees, and see no signs of life among countless buildings and structures. How am I so small and alone in a place that is so big?


CC-BY-SA-NC: Ben Redlawsk


Benjamin Redlawsk - Lyrics, Music, Photography
Gavin Coleman - Photography

APA style reference

BenR (2023). ONSITE. walk · listen · create.

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A field of activist performance that utilises walking and moving and talking in rural landscapes to address issues of environmental, social or political concern (Jess Allen).

Added by Deirdre Heddon

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