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. 

By Michael Gallagher

My name is Michael Sean Gallagher. I am a Lecturer in Digital Education at the Centre for Research in Digital Education at the University of Edinburgh. I am Co-Founder and Director of Panoply Digital, a consultancy dedicated to ICT and mobile for development (M4D); we have worked with USAID, GSMA, UN Habitat, Cambridge University and more on education and development projects. I was a researcher on the Near Futures Teaching project, a project that explores how teaching at The University of Edinburgh unfold over the coming decades, as technology, social trends, patterns of mobility, new methods and new media continue to shift what it means to be at university. Previously, I was the Research Associate on the NERC, ESRC, and AHRC Global Challenges Research Fund sponsored GCRF Research for Emergency Aftershock Forecasting (REAR) project. I was an Assistant Professor at Hankuk University of Foreign Studies (한국외국어대학교) in Seoul, Korea. I have also completed a doctorate at University College London (formerly the independent Institute of Education, University of London) on mobile learning in the humanities in Korea.

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