For this soundscape project, I did a sonic portrait of my mom. The reason for choosing my mom as my subject is because I realise the sounds that are related to my mom are sounds of childhood, which is meaningful to me. These are the sounds that I have been listening after I am dismissed from school from kindergarten till the days when I was in junior college. And also, I realised that amongst the people that I observe, I actually observe my mom the most in my life due to me being inquisitive ever since I was a kid.
In this soundscape, there are some elements of what I thought were some iconic elements that remind me of my mom. Although the sounds depict the subtle things that she would do around the house, they still instil a sense of nostalgia. My mom is the only one who would wear bedroom slippers around the house. Spraying the plants instead of watering them (very inefficient). Settling down for a cup of iced milo and butter crackers before cooking for dinner. And also, I remember her tuning into 958 FM (she refuses to tune into 933 FM) as an accompaniment while she cooked for dinner.
All in all, I would say the concept of this soundscape would be more oriental, raw and homely.
The sounds in this soundscape are all recorded by me except for the radio static sound.
- Opening of metal gates
- Handling of the keys
- Spray can
- Water from the sink
- Dropping ice into the drink
- Stirring of drink
- Munching on biscuits
- Flipping of newspapers
- Starting the gas
- Turning on the radio
- Taking out chopping board
- Taking out ingredients from plastic bag
- Chopping of fishcakes
- Frying of fishcakes
- Clearing of throat
As for research, I went to listen Hildegard Westerkamp’s Kits Beach sound walk. I really like the variation of volume, allowing me to imagine the distance of her from the ducks and that she was near to the crashing sounds of waves, just the space between her and the subjects at the beach in general. This inspired me to have a variation of sounds in terms of the volume and the direction as well. Whenever my mom comes back from work, the sound of the gate opening would always be from the left as I stay at my study table and also since my room is far away from the gates, this explains the low volume of the gates. In contrast, the dropping of keys on the table and frying of dishes will always be remembered as the louder movements.
Also, as for the background sounds, I decided to use the sounds in the morning when there are sounds of bird chirping to depict a more peaceful mood when my mom is having afternoon tea.
In this soundscape, I tried to feature a few movements of my mom at once such as listening to the radio while cooking, reading newspapers while munching on food because my mom is known to be a multi-tasker. And in fact, she is very good at it. I actually focused a lot on my mom cooking because when I was young I would always sit at the dining table and watch her cook and I would remember how the sounds of the radio diminishing as she is trying to fry food. These are the little details that I have noticed and they’re edged pretty vastly in my mind.
So, all in all, presenting to you, Nostalgia.