Thursday, November 11, 2010

Inukjuak Sound Map:: Georeferencing Culture in the North

image:: Screenshot of Nimalan Yoganathan's Inukjuak Sound Map {click on image to navigate to site in a new window}

This is the second instalment of an occasional series on the North and circumpolar issues

I've been researching applications of social media and the web in the North this week and came across this sound map that georeferences sounds recorded in Inukjuak, in the Nunavik region of northern Québec. Nimlan Yoganathan, a sound artist, activist, and composer based in Montréal, created the Inukjuak Sound Map as a result of a residency. Here's an apt description of the project from the site::
"[Nimlan] was studying and recording the sonic environment to gain insight into the richness of Inuit culture. This included natural sounds such as the wind, Hudson Bay, mosquitoes, and huskies, as well as cultural sounds including carvers at work, youths building kayaks, and throat singing. The Inukjuak Sound Map aims to create an archival database of these recordings."
The recorded files are tagged and georeferenced with locations, ranging from throat singing to sounds of nature {his original concept was to record the sounds of wildlife}, as well as the sounds of everyday life—elders carving soapstone to sports championship parades.

This Nunatsiaq Online article details some of his experiences on the project and what he wants to do in the future, which involves creating audio archives of the North. It might be also interesting to see if there is interest in crowdsourcing georeferences sounds by those living in the North. Here's a Capital News Online podcast that features an interview of Nimlan, his experiences recording in Inukjuak, why he feels sound is important to document sound, and the process of creating a sound map. I think he's absolutely right when he says that urban developers and planners use sound maps to factor in the soundscape when building urban environments.

This reminds me of the film Il Postino {1994}, where Mario Ruoppolo uses Pablo Neruda's tape recorder to capture the sounds of island where the exiled poet was staying.

Twitterversion:: [blog] Nimlan Yoganathan's sound map of Inukjuak in Nunavik region, Quebéc documents culture & environment through audio. @Prof_K

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