My urban soundscape was done at Lake Artemesia. I decided to stand near an entrance to the lake that connects to a nearby neighborhood because in the past, this is where I have seen people entering. There is a gate that is seemingly always closed, which I assume is controlled by the City of College Park. Even though the gate is always closed, there is a paved area where people can walk around to enter. The neighborhood that connects to this lake is entirely single-family homes. In the past, I have noticed that most people I see entering from this neighborhood are in their mid-20s to mid-30s and many have young children.
I did my soundscape at about 2:30 in the afternoon and during the 2 minutes that I was recording, no one entered from the side of the lake that I was standing on.
Lake Artemesia – 2:38pm.
I stood close to the water when recording because ice was melting and I could water running. When I listened to the audio back, I was struck by how that sound overwhelmed everything else. At one point, the other person on the trail ran past me, but I can barely hear him over the water. The wind was also blowing fairly strong, and I was surprised that it could not be heard on the recording.
Lake Artemesia – 2:40pm.
The most surprising thing to me upon listening to my recording, however, was that twice cars can be heard driving past in the background, but I did not even hear them at all when I was conducting my recording. There is also a tapping sound at the end of my recording, and I am not quite sure what it is. I don’t recall hearing anything like that in the moment.
Listening back to the audio revealed something about myself that I have long known, but was surprised to see manifest in this project. I have a tendency to get lost in thought and drown out my surroundings, which appears to be what happened while I was capturing my soundscape. Listening to my audio file and hearing things very clearly that I had not heard in person showed to me that I need to put more emphasis on being truly engaged in what I am observing rather than letting my mind drift off in different directions. I am glad that I did the soundscape early in the semester because it made me aware of this tendency when I did my latter observations.
I feel that this study into the sounds of my place has helped me to get closer to understanding my research question, not necessarily because of what I heard, but instead because of what I did not hear. Doing this observation has allowed me to address weaknesses in my own observation style that I can address and try to fix moving forward.
Lake Artemesia – 7:08pm.
All photos: Hunter Gibson.