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SoundScapeIssue 02 42Cooperation in Science and Technology) Action on the Soundscapes of European Cities and Landscapes; and the International Organisation for Standardization Working Group 54 on The Perceptual Assessment of Soundscape Quality. In April 2011 the pioneering initiative commenced with a workshop hosted with Brighton and Hove City Council in England to facilitate exchange between international soundscape experts and community, government and local government stakeholders. The primary focus was on soundscape issues related to the health, quality of life and restorative functions of the environment. The workshop provided opportunities to discuss how soundscape concepts might, alongside tackling conventional noise problems, contribute to local planning and environmental improvement in Brighton and Hove in a range of environments, e.g. the seafront, foreshore, historic terraces, squares, lanes, parks and gardens. Perhaps most importantly it encouraged exploration of new ways of listening to local soundscapes and new ways of tackling noise and improving local soundscape quality.To this end, on 29th October 2011, the NAS along with Brighton and Hove City Council, Brighton & Hove Arts Commission and the COST Action on Soundscapes co-commissioned a series of sonic artworks, produced especially for White Night, the city's annual all night arts and cultural festival. The works were designed to provoke debate, challenge notions of sound in public spaces and initiate innovative explorations to help solve noise disturbance in urban environments. The project was part of White Night's commitment to 'new work' and 'new approaches' through cultural solutions for wider social concerns.A night to rememberFocused around the festival's theme of 'Utopias' the following programme set out to raise awareness of new possibilities for quality soundscapes through immersive sonic experiences, using artistic and musical interpretations and interactive lectures:West Street Story - an original 3D outdoor soundscape installation transforming the atmosphere and ambience in the heart of Brighton's cacophonous clubbing area, was created by Martyn Ware of The Illustrious Company. Martyn, a founder member of The Human League and Heaven 17, is a musician committed to helping the public understand positive soundscaping. Situated in part of West Street, in the heart of Brighton's night life, the installation consisted of two rows of speakers and created a 3D soundscape, through which people walked. Martyn presented original compositions of both recorded and live sounds from a kiosk at the side of the street. The soundscape presented a contrast to the raucous disharmony so frequently heard in lively areas at night, and connected with visitors to the area and residents, as well as those exiting the clubs. Come Together - a special event exploring 'sound and rapport', in Brighton University's Sallis Benney Theatre, where audio from West Street Story and live footage of crowds in the West Street area was fi lmed and broadcast by Driftwood Productions. There, psychobiologist and communications expert Dr Harry Witchel facilitated three entertaining, interactive, masterclasses about Body Language, Music and Social Territory. These enabled participants to analyse the effects of soundscapes on the body language and behaviour of people in general, as well as those fi lmed during White Night. Dr Witchel, from Brighton and Sussex Medical School, is also well known as a media personality and body language commentator for Big Brother. He is author of You Are What You Hear, How Music and Territory Make Us Who We Are. Sounding out the Museum - Peter Vogel Retrospective Exhibition, staged by Brighton University, was the fi rst exhibition in the UK of Vogel's pioneering and infl uential sound sculptures, which were activated by the movement, gestures and sound emanating from audiences as they entered the space. Julian Treasure and Dr John Drever, both sound experts, ran interactive lectures in Brighton's independent coffee houses, as part of a wider programme for White Night involving independently minded thinkers. They demonstrated how certain sounds, which are fi tting in one space, are disturbances in another. Sounding Brighton is encouraging exploration of new ways of listening to soundscapes, tackling noise and improving local soundscape quality Martyn Ware from Illustrious composed West Street Story

SoundScapeIssue 02 43Julian Treasure of The Sound Agency discussed Utopia Sounds: "In our louder and louder world," he asked "Are we losing our listening?" Julian shared ways to re-tune our ears for conscious listening - to other people and the world around us. In Creation Power, Dr John Drever from Goldsmiths, University of London illustrated how designers of gadgets and machines, and the individuals using them, should be aware of the impact of sounds associated with these products and the ways in which they affect people - and spaces.And, last but by no means least, Brighton Remixed was a soundscape installation by Esther Springett, a sound artist and facilitator, working with Dv8 Training Brighton, who run innovative, creative and media based training for young people. Esther helped a group of 16-18 year olds to explore their own soundscapes, listen in new ways and learn practical, technical skills, to help open up new opportunities for them in the creative industries. Their White Night soundscape installation, the culmination of a vocational based learning project, featured their recordings 'remixing the sounds of Brighton', presented through an audiovisual display.Clarion callMany applauded Sounding Brighton at White Night as brave and ambitious. But did it work?A core aim of the festival is to make use of the city's cultural resources to enable creative interventions that address city issues. The impact of alcohol abuse is an increasing problem for Brighton and Hove. 27% of adult drinkers are estimated to be binge drinkers and at weekends the city is a destination for clubbers and drinking. West Street with its pubs and clubs is designated as a 'stress area' by police.West Street Story: Come Together set out to be an antidote to the Saturday night drinking culture by creating sound 'occupations' which would change and soothe the noisy atmosphere of this street on a Saturday night.The scientifi c premise for the experiment was based on research compiled by Dr Harry Witchel in his book You Are What You Hear, How Music and Territory Make Us Who We Are which proffers that music can engender territorial and pleasure responses depending on whether listeners like what they hear. In this way music makes a space a place. Organised ambient soundscapes are a form of music and therefore can perform a similar function in making places enjoyable and welcoming.White Night's 'Utopias' theme was the perfect opportunity to focus on how sound could evoke the installation's goal of creating a place of togetherness, joy and love. To show a noticeable result this needed to be demonstrated in a diffi cult area like West Street. The festival enabled the project to take a creative and collaborative approach to challenging issues.Most importantly, combining arts and social action in an upbeat party atmosphere sent a positive, non-judgmental message, promoting cohesion rather than entrenchment in established views. Audiences on the night were large, positive and curious, engaging with the issues, which was stimulating for the artists. The experiment saw new audiences involved in White Night in West Street; and the original 3D ambient soundscape saw people laughing, hugging and dancing spontaneously - a marked departure from the normal tensions and aggressions the area is known for.Providing feedback on the event, police commented on how much quieter the West Street area was, so much so that they were confi dent enough to redeploy police elsewhere in the city. 96% of the audience surveyed felt safe that night as compared to 50% on a usual night. And the Alcohol Programme Board in the city are interested in supporting further work building on the lessons from West Street Story.With continued support from the council, police, residents and club owners the work begun during White Night will build on the experiment's fi ndings and trial new ways to address the city's night noise issues.Tuning the worldIn his legendary book The Soundscape: Our Sonic Environment and the Tuning of the World, Canadian composer and theorist R Murray Schafer states: "In various parts of the world important research is being undertaken in many areas of sonic studies. These researches are related; each is dealing with aspects of the world soundscape, the vast musical composition which is unfolding around us ceaselessly." And, he continues "This blurring of the edges between music and environmental sounds may eventually prove to be the most striking feature of all twentieth century music." Town planner and soundscape specialist Max Dixon concurs, "For the future, we will need more understanding, not just of how to control noise levels in decibel terms, but of the qualitative aspects. This includes what the sounds of things mean to us in context. The paradigm shift that R Murray Schafer began in coining the term 'soundscape' has far reaching implications for a truly ecological approach: developing soundscapes that are supportive of human wellbeing." Brighton and Hove City's foresight and commitment show that practical approaches towards better local soundscapes can be explored by engaging audiences in new ways of experiencing the richness and creative power of sound - and demonstrating how it can be viewed as a valuable 'resource'. It's time to get back to the future and as Schafer suggests "hear the acoustic environment as a musical composition and own responsibility for its composition."We must hear the acoustic environment as a musical composition and own responsibility for its compositionR Murray Schafer