This project involves the research and production of a guide to the city of Tallinn from an auditory perspective. Working as an interdisciplinary group (Anthropologists, Architects, Urbanists, Artists), the initial phase involves researching the sonic qualities of the urban environment including its spaces, flows, characteristics and cultural life. We will be asking if a city has its own sound and if so, what defines this sound and how does this shape its identity?

The second phase will be to translate our research data and transform it into a visual language that reads as a map. This map, with its symbols, diagrams and text, must act as a guide to both the permanent inhabitant and the casual visitor, who will hear the city in a new way by tuning in and listening with open ears. The final form will be printed and distributed freely during the event of the Culture Capital 2011.

The “Sound Map of Tallinn” is being conducted in the frame of Tuned City, a platform which proposes an examination of the relations between architecture and sound. The project draws the traditions of critical discussion about urban space within the architecture and urban planning discourse, as well as its strategies and working methods, into the context of sound art.

Research Structure

Forms of Sonic Analysis

  • Measurement : metering by technical means, SPL volumes, frequency analysis, delay times
  • Historical / Cultural : stories, languages, music
  • Architectural / Landscape : buildings, spaces, structures, monuments, parks with unique sonic qualities
  • Mediated / Commercial : experience through technical interfaces, recorded, playback, transmitted

Topics of Sonic Effects

  • Translation : association through images, memories, emotions
  • Meaning : interpretation, reflection, creative response, intervention
  • Social convention : behavioral responses, public ethics, legal mandates

Spatial and Temporal qualities of urban sonic experience

  • spatial
  • fixed point perspective (ie, linnahall steps echo)
  • wide perspective (ie, electrical plant sounds from anywhere within earshot)
  • multiple perspective (ie, trash bin frequency filters, anywhere a bin is present)
  • temporal
  • anytime (sound always present)
  • conditional (seasonal, depending on weather, time of day, fixed event)
  • historical (no longer present, due to landscape change, one-time event, etc)

Representation of collected data

  • visual / print media : A3 fold-out, A4, broshure, A5, booklet
  • multimedia / electronic : recording, video, photo, website, installation
  • human / social : discussion group, workshop, guided tour