COVID-19

Belfast, Northern Ireland

Covid-19-Notice-Sign-Social-Distance-NHS-Public Health Agency
COVID-19_Beflast City – Social Distance Notices

Description:

In the middle of a global pandemic from the on-going spread of infection and mortality rates caused by the Coronavirus, or otherwise known as COVID-19. The entire United Kingdom, on March 23, 2020, was instructed by Prime Minister Boris Johnson to commence an official lockdown and quarantine. Only allowed to exit our homes for essential needs: Shopping for necessities, one form of daily exercise, medical attention, and travel to work.

We are witnessing an unprecedented change in cities around the world, for the first time in the 21st century, we are living among ghost cities. As I am currently living and researching in Belfast, Northern Ireland, a city that is widely known for being ‘small’ yet represents a large presence of interactions across different social groups. It was interesting to consider from an auditory and sonic art perspective how the city sounds like without the presence of humans or the normal amount of human density in popular areas.

There is also the lockdown in one’s own home that strikes an opportunity to consider their immediate sonic environment. Usually we are considerably ‘busy’ people, but this lockdown provides an opportunity to sit and listen to what is around us. The idea is to absorb and focus on local sonic markers that identify your space and surroundings.

Timeline of the COVID-19 pandemic in Northern Ireland: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Timeline_of_the_COVID-19_pandemic_in_Northern_Ireland_(2020)

Below are on-going projects related to COVID-19, click the title for further information and media


Montreal, Canada

After a year and two lockdowns in Belfast, Northern Ireland, I was able to return home to Montreal, Canada for a short period of time. During this time, I wanted to expand on my research practices of Covid-19_Belfast City and take a soundscape recording approach to the lockdowns in some areas of Downtown and Old Port Montreal. The entirety of Quebec faced different zones of lockdowns; Montreal was in its second lockdown since September 2020 with a home curfew being ordered in early January 2021.

I kept the same recording constraints of only capturing five minutes of audio and composing two-minute listening experiences. Places were chosen by a similar approach of using the VisitBelfast Tourist Map while in Belfast, whereas in Montreal this was the Carte Touristique Officielle/Official Tourist Map 2019-2020. Locations focused on touristic places, hospitality sectors, retail sectors, educational areas, and public urban spaces. Parts 1 and 2 focus on the same three crossroads along the famous Saint-Catherine St in Downtown Montreal, Part 3 on Old Port Montreal, and Part 4 on the Quebec Home Alert for the curfew put in place.

Timeline of the COVID-19 pandemic in Montreal: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Timeline_of_the_COVID-19_pandemic_in_Montreal


Additional Contributions

1NI Science Festival: BEHIND THE SOUND | Sounding Belfast During Covid-19
https://nisciencefestival.com/e21430-sounding-belfast-during-covid-19

During a global pandemic, countries and cities have become literal ghost towns. Once flustered with sounds from human activities, it has now been overtaken from the once subtle industrial, urban, and natural sound environments. Recording multiple points during the lockdown, we are able to chronologically experience the differences imposed by Covid-19 restrictions and how these spaces have changed from the start of the global pandemic.
This project reflects through an auditory and sonic art perspective how the city sounds like without the presence of humans or the normal amount of human density in popular areas in public spaces of Belfast.

This project is accessible via Echoes (GPS soundwalks): https://explore.echoes.xyz/collections/QZQN9a10To92iDoM
Or alternatively scan the QR code below…


2- COVID-19 Sound Map  
http://www.tinyurl.com/covid19soundmap

“Since the start of the COVID-19 lockdown in March, Pete Stollery has been compiling a Google Earth-based sound map, designed to document changes in the soundscape which are occurring as a result of restrictions put in place by governments around the world. With over 190 sounds on the map from 18 countries to date, the project is now beginning to document the changes as we move out of lockdown (and sometimes back in again). “
Scroll to Northern Ireland and you will see all files I have recorded.

Prof. Pete Stollery is a Professor of Composition and Electroacoustic Music at University of Aberdeen in Scotland, UK.


3- Social Distancing Art Festival (SODA)
https://www.sodafestival.de/artists/georgios-varoutsos.html

This website is especially designed to show a variety of artworks that were made during the times of the Covid-19 crisis. Artists from over 20 countries participated in our open call and are represented here. We are aware that the movement of social distancing art is still in its infancy. At the same time we present the selected works of art as documentation, of the present “unimagined” time. Without a doubt, the contributions will last for weeks, months and years and gain relevance as a historical statement.

The Social Distancing Art – Festival SODA is a project of the Arrival Room gUG. Arrival Room gUG is a non-profit organization registered in Saarbrücken (Germany). As a cultural organization Arrival Room promotes art projects of locals and migrants in Germany and beyond.


4- Cities and Memory
https://citiesandmemory.com/covid19-sounds/

This sound map is part of Cities and Memory: #StayHomeSounds is a global field recording & sound art work that presents both the present reality of a place and an alternative, reimagined sound world – remixing the world, one sound at at time.
Scroll to Northern Ireland and you will see all files I have recorded.


5- Science + Media Museum Present: Sounds of my quarantine
https://padlet.com/platformmuseum/q9unei4soco98xu8

To celebrate the #WorldListeningDay on 18th July 2020, the Science and Media Museum has launched a collaborative map of the sounds of quarantine! Share with us what you have been listening to in lockdown: what sounds have kept you in touch, cheered you up, calmed you down, made you think, brought back memories, inspired you for the future? You can can share on the map audio files, pictures, videos, YouTube/Soundcloud links, and any other web content!
Scroll to Northern Ireland and you will see all files I have recorded.


6- Radio Aporee – Soundscapes in the Pandemic:
https://aporee.org/maps/work/projects.php?project=corona

The platform radio aporee is online since about 2000, the project radio aporee ::: maps has started 2006. it is a global soundmap dedicated to field recording, phonography and the art of listening. it connects sound recordings to its places of origin, in order to create a sonic cartography, publicly accessible as a collaborative project. It contains recordings from numerous urban, rural and natural environments, disclosing their complex shape and sonic conditions, as well as the different perceptions, practices and artistic perspectives of its many contributors. this makes it a valuable resource for art, education and research projects, and for your personal pleasure.
In addition to aspects of collecting, archiving and sound-mapping, the radio aporee platform also invokes experiments at the boundaries of different media and public space. within this notion, radio means both a technology in transition and a narrative. it constitutes a field whose qualities are connectivity, contiguity and exchange. concepts of transmitter/ receiver and performer/ listener may become transparent and reversible.
Scroll to Northern Ireland and you will see all files I have recorded.


7- Internet Archive (Archive ORG):
https://archive.org/search.php?query=georgios+varoutsos

Internet Archive is a non-profit library of millions of free books, movies, software, music, websites, and more.
Database hosts all recordings uploaded onto Radio Aporee, you can search Georgios Varoutsos and find all recorded material.

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