Interactive Wall and Soundscape Project
The cities where we live are unique noise machines created by human being.
Listening is an activity that needs complete attention and it can be too much disturbing for human brain too much. Listening noise with a complete attention is a heritage of Futurism to art history. This, emotionally disturbing happening can not be normal healthy part of human daily life. However, human who lives in mega cities can face to face with it. Eminönü Subway is one of the strong noise generators as a soundscape. And, it has its own unique composition. As if Xennakis’s compositions, the shops and human noise make Eminönü Subway an unbearable dynamic composed sound installation. Intonarumories or new digital sound tools are insufficient to imitate the composition of the subway. Toy sound installations of the toy shops are the major elements of the composition. A composed order of sounds called a musical piece. In addition to that, Eminönü Subway has its own exclusive order in its chaotic and claustrophobic environmental noise. The Subtle listening of Eminönü subway is a mode of listening with an open imagination that is open to the sound world in it, and it helps inner ear and outer world (Eminönü Subway) intersects. Human crowd and lower roof size make the Eminönü Subway intolerable space especially in cold winter or hot summer. This noise is the chaotic noise of lower class conservative culture happening in Istanbul. It’s narrow but effective, beyond endurance but huge. It’s almost %50 percent of the population of Turkey. The aesthetic of the toys represents how the culture is chaotic and also colorful. In addition to that, I have created the interactive installation and a soundscape piece.
What amazed me about Eminönü Subway is that its soundscape. The Subway is so small, low, narrow and crowded. Also, the shops are so adjacent and unique sound structure. Electronic shops play Arabesque and Fashion Shops play Techno. Although the toy shops do not play music they dominate the all music with using their toys. They use them to create as a unique sound sculpture. The mechanism in which every toy has its own space to play and move is designed for showcase for the shops. Around 20 toys are moving and creating noise for playing its creepy music.
Every sound has its own unique structure. Some elements of this installation on the floor are small cars. Especially, ambulance, fire, police cars. Also it has moving and yowling cats and barking dogs and moving construction machines. Furthermore, on the roof, flying birds, combat helicopters and aircrafts which are stabilized the roof with a rope so they are drawing circles on the air. They have also machine guns with sounds.
Working at this toy shop in the Eminönü Subway is very hard, because workers work without daylight. Also, subway air condition system does not work properly, so only in winters the temperature is normal for workers and working conditions are better than other seasons. In Eminönü Subway, talking, working even if breathing is very hard because of the physical conditions. Especially, in summer workers are sweating all day and the high level temperature level makes them angry. I have interviewed with some of the workers, work in toy shops. They also agree with me. One of them approved that the salary is so low according to hardness of the job. However, he has a wife and kids to feed them. He also add “listening this noise is a part of this job.” And the other one told “I think listening the noise is not part of the job, that’s the job (laughing)”.
I have used interactive audio visual technologies to represent the idea of this unique soundscape. The first thing I did is to document the Eminönü subway. I have taken pictures, shot a movie and recorded the soundscape. Then, I have designed, an interactive installation, a new visual environment with using the original shootings. The colors and movements refer to toy shops stands and the playing toys. And, I have used a webcam to capture “us” to add this abstraction of this toy shop environment. While the abstracted movie is playing in background, “we” are added to environment as a visual element (black visual blocks). Our existence in the subway is like a piece of wood in a fast flowing river. It is very hard to stand against the flow. I have also composed a sound piece to represent my reflections to Eminönü Subway. I have used Max/Msp and Jitter to design interaction between movie, webcam capture and the sound piece. Although, the sound piece is composed, has an interaction with movement of the audiences. While the audiences are moving in front of the camera, they see their pixilated abstractions in the Eminönü Subway and the sound piece is recomposed according to their movements.