“Are there pictures of you in magazines when you put on weight?” “No.” “Oh, so you’re not that famous.”

June 17, 2013 § Leave a comment

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WASHINGTON—According to a new report released Thursday by the U.S. Census Bureau, by the year 2043, the majority of the American population will be composed of those people. “Based on future projections of childbearing, mortality rates, and net international migration, we can safely say that the number of those types in this country will double, if not triple, within the next 30 years,” said report co-author and Census statistical analyst Ken Shefner, adding that as the baby boomer generation begins to die off, Americans can expect to see “more and more of those kinds hanging around every day.”  read more

ART: Henri Matisse

I am almost frightened out of my seven senses

June 13, 2013 § Leave a comment

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I went out during the day and recorded sounds that I thought might be useful and evocative. It turned out that most of the sounds – even the church organ in Southwark Cathedral – seemed to converge around a common rhythm. It’s a bit too good to be true – that every large city should have its own rhythm, but here it is.

Byrne’s claim that London has a fundamental rhythm of 122.86 bpm could be generously described as a poetic truth. The most common rhythmical sound outdoors in the city is footsteps, the individual rate of which is usually between 80 and 100 steps a minute…
 
There is an atmosphere in sound that belongs only to Paris.
 
This must be true for some parts of Paris, but it also seems likely that there will be others which don’t sound very different to their equivalents in Lyon or Toulouse. If people’s voices are excluded, they may not be easily distinguished by ear from many cities throughout the industrialised world. Economic development tends to reduce the variety of public sound environments at the same time as it multiplies what you can choose to hear in private.
 
Let’s set aside the issue of comparisons and consider if it’s worth asking what the characteristic sound profile of a single city might be, a bit like how astronomers have tried to discover the average colour of the universe. This is the sort of question which journalists like to ask – so, what exactly is the sound of London? – and one which Byrne astutely foresaw. Unfortunately, it’s also ill-posed. First, any measure along a single dimension, such as London’s average sound frequency being x-number of hertz, doesn’t contain much information of interest. What understanding could such a fact lead to? Second, differences in what’s sampled and how will produce wildly different results. You can’t record everything.  read more
 
PHOTOGRAPH: Joyce Kim

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