UC Berkeley (Nick)



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    Annals of armchair traveling: to Cuba via headphones

    Nick Sowers
    Apr 30, '09 12:28 AM EST

    Rolling Rock loosens language to tumble without warning. Beware: blogging after alcohol.

    I am missing the road a bit. I leave for New York in 12 days. (anyone wanna meet up? I'm there until May 18 or so)

    So one great thing about being on the road is simply the constant movement. You're always going somewhere, and if you're standing still at any time, it must be a magnificent moment. That which holds you still as everything in your being propels you forward is something worth sketching. Better still are moments when you are traveling fast like on a bullet train but sitting still; sketching is not possible but thoughts run as fast as the landscape slides by.

    The past weekend my wife and I went out walking for miles around Berkeley (For days after returning from Okinawa I dreamed of if my feet would not rest. I felt like a wind-up toy that had been knocked over with the legs going and going.) You realize then that you don't have to leave your hometown to travel. You just need to go somewhere you've never been, or even look at a place you've been to many times but from a different angle. Talk to someone that you would normally just walk past on the street. You can even go traveling inside your apartment. There's a cupboard above our closet--what does my bedroom look like from up there?

    To travel again in Berkeley, we went sake tasting and walked around the industrial west side, then out to the pier. We circled back to the campus and we did a series of sketches:

    From Rolling Rock brewed in St. Louis, Missouri to Laphroaig, distilled and bottled in Scotland by D. Johnston & Co., Isle of Islay.

    Speaking of traveling while standing still, I have the unique pleasure of listening to hours and hours of sound that I have recorded. Listening to the binaural stereo recording re-projects the space of travel in my mind. It's easy for me since I was there, but how I would like to see your mental projection of the space I have traveled in. It would be an experiment like Kevin Lynch's cognitive maps of Boston. Draw what you see, and email me (anonymously if you like).

    I went back through my recorded sounds of Cuba and put a little something together. Take a cocotaxi ride into the depths of Havana, exploring the soundscape of the ocean meeting the city edge. Listen:

    download the mp3

    **just added** sound from Ricardo Porro's Institute of Art:

    subscribe via iTunes


    • Love the repeated "mucha Chica".....

      Also, it sounds like you did some processing/editing to the track?
      Meaning is the sound right before you are talking at the Malecon from your recording "pure" or did you change/twist/process that piece?

      Apr 30, 09 9:22 am  · 

      nam, there is processing in there. I overlaid the inverted waveform and cross-faded it with the original. what do you think, does it add anything to your experience?

      Apr 30, 09 4:39 pm  · 

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