Hildegard Westerkamp

(10 points)

Hildegard is a radio artist, composer, and sound ecologist. She performs, has workshops, writes and gives lectures. She considers her work as important and at the same time underrated because not many people understood the purpose of her type of work. She studies sounds and applies it to the world surroundings. Hildegard thinks her field of work is a craft. People just like her feel as though they are more connected with the world. Soundscape is music based on more naturalistic sounds. It also involves the art and science behind sound. She wants people to know that sound whether people notices or not controls a lot of factors in our lives. Sound is more louder and noticeable now, from toys, to appliances, to film sound has changed.

Sound-walking is suppose to open up our ears to the sounds of the environment. The purpose is so that we acknowledge sound that we hear all the time but possibly on a deeper level. Sounds change, especially overtime as the environment changes. Where there were factories in the past there may be parks, where there was small traffic before a new highway has been built so there is more cars, where there were empty spaces it is now filled with houses. The sounds that were once being made from factories, small cars, and empty spaces are now occupied with different noises. I think Hildegard wants us to realize that although we notice a difference, we don’t necessarily notice a difference in sounds often enough. She notices noises that were once there, are not there anymore.

Sound does not have to be based on quiet and loud, or good and bad, but more-so how does the sound make you feel when you are hearing it. She studies sound in it’s context. She states, “Soundscape recordings are excerpts of moments in time, nothing else” which means sounds can either have a negative or positive effect on someone. It can be a sound that helps relive a good time. Or it could be a sound that makes you think of the bad. Either way she wants sound to be as meaningful to others as it has been for her. Once a sound is recorded and replayed, the listener can only be in that moment. Trying to re-record that sound may not work out because it may not sound the same way.

Hildegard choice of work makes her feel free and not limited. She speaks of quiet and silence, as quiet still has noise but to be silent is to be completely still with nothing moving. The sound of silence, for her can be correlated with emptiness and possibly fearful. However, quietness can express peace and clarity. Personally I find her job to be weird and before this article I had not known that people actually do this.

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