Peter Lee and team with Kristen Roos’ Sonic Geography Team
To better understand our own processes of place-making, we explored the soundscapes of sites that are familiar to us: places near our homes, places we used to live, places we go everyday. Within these soundscapes, we encountered unexpected memories and emotions, experiencing feelings of connection, community, nostalgia, anxiety, intimacy, and vulnerability. We recorded at various locations in Kitsilano, Richmond, and on campus at UBC. This process nuanced our understanding of these places that we know so well, and increased our awareness of the significance they have in our lives.
Sonic geographies is a relatively new method for monitoring biodiversity, which utilizes sound. A common sonic indicator of biodiversity is avian vocalizations, or bird songs, which we chose to monitor. We chose the UBC Botanical Gardens as our research location, working alongside SEEDS, an on-campus sustainability program that creates partnerships between students, operational staff, and faculty through innovative and impactful research projects. In our research, this location acts as a microcosm for larger global anxieties surrounding diminishing biodiverse habitats attributed to anthropogenic disturbances. We used the sonic geographies method, using hand recorders, to listen to and record sonic environments within the Botanical Gardens, paying close attention to both the bird and anthropological sounds, and the relationship between the two.