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Listening to art. Playing with audio. Sounding out technology. Composing in code. Rewinding the soundscape.

Global Time Stamp of Listening

A small experiment at 2:15am, Pacific Time

20140905-globe

Despite the fairly geographically dispersed nature of my Twitter feed, it has its own evident cycles. Each day around 6pm in California, where I live, the feed quiets down, and when I wake in the morning, generally around 6am, not a whole lot appears to have transpired, despite the presence of plenty of Australians and Japanese, among others, in my mix.

Last night, to probe the dark hours, I set an automated tweet as a little experiment, to find out what people were hearing elsewhere. (I used the same IFTTT.com tool that auto-tweets for me the Tuesday noon civic warning siren here in San Francisco.) I wrote, just shy of 140 characters:

It’s 2:15am (this tweet’s automated). If you’re reading it, you’re likely not in the U.S. Please tweet back what you hear. #listening

The replies were gratifying, like transcriptions of recordings of utterly failed stake-out surveillance from around world.

Martin Dittus, whose account doesn’t list a location but whose desktop.de URL sports the German suffix, wrote:

@disquiet i hear a machine learning geek talking about L1 norms

Beth, who lives in Newcastle, in the U.K., wrote as follows. Her parenthetical — “(distant)” — serves as a nice summary of this entire little endeavor:

@disquiet Autechre, birds, plane (distant), voices (distant).

Darren Shaw, who lives in Rochdale, in the U.K., wrote:

@disquiet office chatter, computer fans, whine of HMI lights, phone notification beeps.

Nathan Thomas, who has a UK URL (afternoondust.co.uk), wrote:

@disquiet photocopier, keyboard clacking, an apple being bitten into, computer fans #officedrone

Inevitably, the middle of the night in the U.S. doesn’t entirely limit North American participation.

Chris Hutson of Peoria, Illinois, wrote:

@disquiet i’m an insomniac in the USA and i hear crickets and frogs

Lee Rosevere, who’s based in British Columbia, wrote:

@disquiet Simple Minds “Don’t you forget about me” playing in the studio.

Joshua Anderson, who lives in Buffalo, New York, and was up early, wrote:

@disquiet crickets, a fan, my wife moving a plastic bag

And Chicago-based Cinchel weighed in after the fact:

@disquiet i’m 3hrs late..but at 5am CST i was listening to cats running around my apt playing with a pen

I may do this again, either the same way, or with a different query and with a different time stamp.

(Globe photo by Kenneth Lu, thanks to flic.kr and Creative Commons.)

By Marc Weidenbaum

Tag: / Comments: 2 ]

2 Comments

  1. Matthew Dean
    [ Posted September 15, 2014, at 5:31 pm ]

    A Junto project Marc? A composition based upon your environmental sounds at a particular time stamp, or some variation thereof? Just a thought.

    • Marc Weidenbaum
      [ Posted September 16, 2014, at 5:44 pm ]

      Just seeing your note. Sorry for the reply delay. This is something. I need to think on it. It’s a very solid foundation.

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  • Marc Weidenbaum founded the website Disquiet.com in 1996 at the intersection of sound, art, and technology, and since 2012 has moderated the Disquiet Junto, an active online community of weekly music/sonic projects. He has written for Nature, Boing Boing, The Wire, Pitchfork, and NewMusicBox, among other periodicals. He is the author of the 33 1⁄3 book on Aphex Twin’s classic album Selected Ambient Works Volume II. Read more about his sonic consultancy, teaching, sound art, and work in film, comics, and other media

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