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Posted by on Jan 18, 2012

Flip sides of ambient audio (as evidence of learning potential): a protest in Mapo, Seoul from 23 floors above

I posted a few weeks ago on the use of Audioboo for ambient cityscape audio, capturing and geolocating audio clips from various parts of the city. Specifically, I was posting about Seoul, the same landscape I am discussing here. When I first got here (1998-2006), I was enamored by the protest culture. Koreans take to the streets quite often and despite what my intuition was telling me, it never felt that threatening. I would walk close to these protests (even if they were directly protesting American involvement in this or that) and listen in. The sights perplexed me more than the sounds which were passionate, but orderly. I never recorded much back then, either in audio or photography, as I didn’t have the technology. 

So, how does one know anger from cohesion? Disruption from togetherness? When does an act of definace become an act of violence? What does a protest even sound like? How does hearing a protest orient the listener to the Seoul landscape? It does, in ways that sheer imagery cannot. 

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