COVID-19_Belfast City: Lockdown 3

Graffiti text of Covid-19 "keep a safe distance" during Lockdown 3 in Belfast, Northern Ireland
Graffiti text to “Keep A Safe Distance” in one of the alley’s of Belfast

Listening Soundscape Study 4

In the midst of a global pandemic, countries and cities have become literal ghost towns. Once flustered with sounds from human activities, this has now been overtaken from the subtle industrial, mechanical, and natural environment sounds. This project began on Friday, March 27, 2020, during Lockdown 1, after a year of different lockdowns, we were now in Lockdown 3 on Saturday, March 27, 2021. These recordings reflect the one year of changes due to Covid-19 on our urban spaces. Re-capturing the same first 10 locations from a year prior.

Refer to Covid-19_Belfast City: Lockdown 1 for initial listening comparison:
https://georgiosvaroutsos.com/covid-19_belfast-city/

The project maintains the same recording constrictions of using my one daily activity of walking around the city of Belfast and quickly recording various local or touristic points of interest with aid of the VisitBelfast’s visitor map. Each of the soundscapes lasts two minutes because of the strict lockdown measurements set by the government, only allowing us to be outside for limited periods of time for essential grocery shopping, a daily activity, work, or health-related. Once this lockdown is officially lifted, there will be an additional soundscape recording to compare and reflect the changes of these areas such as the Exit Strategies recorded in Summer 2020. There is also the attempt to try and record the locations as close to the same times as the year before.

For this project, the points of interest are (Hyperlinked to Wikipedia Pages):


Please listen with headphones to enhance the auditory experience.

On the left you have the 5th day of the lockdown, on the right will be during or after the lockdown is lifted


Part 1 – March 27, 2021
(1 year from initial recordings of Belfast lockdowns)

Part 2 – July 4, 2021 + August 28, 2021
(1 year from Exit Strategies Summer 2020)


Albert Memorial Clock

Recorded at 6:02 pm

Recording of pedestrians, vehicles, cyclists, and skateboarders in windy conditions.

Recorded at

TEXT


Arthur Square

Recorded at 5:11pm

Recording of an individual gospel preacher while skateboarders, pedestrians, and a flautist. The public setting resembles some of the pre-covid conditions of what I remember, an intertwined community of sounds. 

Recorded at

TEXT


Belfast City Hall

Recorded at 5:05pm

Recording of a group of a gospel preachers in the distance, vehicles, pedestrians, children playing around, and a bit of birds. 

Recorded at

TEXT


Botanic Gardens

Recorded at 4:05pm

Recording of a dog running around me tries to get their toy, passer-by’s chatting, various birds at different distances, someone playing music from their portable speaker, joggers, and groups of people playing sports in the open fields.

Recorded at

TEXT


Commercial Court

Recorded at 5:45pm

Recording of a group of people at a distance but their voices resonate down the cobblestone street, large group of seagulls flying above, sirens passing along another street, and a couple walking down the alleyway.  

Recorded at

TEXT


Great Victoria Street

Recorded at 4:54pm

Recording of vehicles driving past with extremely windy conditions causing some of the plastic tarps from a building under construction to flap furiously.  

Recorded at

TEXT


Queen’s University Belfast

Recorded at 4:19pm

Recording of vehicles, pedestrian cross lights, pedestrians, and distant passer-by chatter

Recorded at

TEXT


Shaftesbury Square

Recorded at 4:33pm

Recording of a street sweeper passing by while vehicles drive on through regular traffic conditions.  

Recorded at

TEXT


St Annes Cathedral

Recorded at 5:36pm

Recording of a few vehicles driving in the area, with distant voices and birds flying around.

Recorded at

TEXT


The Entries

Recorded at 5:22pm

Recording of a nearby generator producing a constant electrical hum, birds flying above, and voices resonating within the alleyway.

Recorded at

TEXT


Extra Recording of St Patrick’s Day Belfast – 2021-03-17

Recorded at 4:13pm

Doubled recording stitched together, beginning near Belfast City Hall where the St. Patricks Parade would usually march off from. Without the annual parade, there is only regular city noises from birds, dogs walked, vehicles, cyclists, and pedestrians.
The second half of the recording ventures into Botanic Gardens, in which, large groups of people who were set up partying in the middle of the big empty field. There was dancing, shouting, balls kicked, mixed in with the wildlife of the park. The ending of the recording has the park staff closing some of the gates to direct people through main gates as the police came in to disperse the crowd.


Additional Contributions

1Sounding 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- 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.


3- 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.

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