Listening / by Katie Edmonds

Listening Together

Directed Listening, Directing Listening

When working with one or more people to capture sounds of a space, you can take advantage of each person's unique experience by verbally directing each other as you capture the sounds. In this transaction, if you keep your device constantly recording, you will find that in communicating with each other you will have a document of the subtle differences in how you experience the space, and be able to call on that again as you review what you recorded. This adds a layer of complexity to the act of recording, as you will both capture the sounds and the cooperation that takes place in the course of recording the sounds. This will also simplify the co-creation of artifacts, as you will have to switch your concentration from listening for sounds to capture, and listening or contributing to the negotiations with your collaborators.  Make this concentration switch intentional.

Steps of Listening

  • Listen alone.
  • Discuss.
  • Listen together.
  • Move.

What to listen for


A soundscape is an entirely passive capturing of the sound in the space. This establishes the kind of place you're explaining.  In order to capture a great soundscape sit and listen quietly. Close your eyes. Try this from a few different spots. Which location has all the qualities you want to capture? Sit quietly and record a nice long clip of the space. Even if it's an empty room. Every space has a sound.


As you listen for the best soundscape to capture that space, think of where you might capture sounds that make you feel like you understand the more prominent features of the space. If this is a conversation, a point of activity, an object that has distinct sonic qualities, approach these and record a nice long clip. Don't interact with what you're recording, rather just let it do what it's doing, but pay special attention to that moment you're trying to capture. This will make your audience feel like the are there in the space with you.

Asking objects or people

What requires a very close examination? What requires a cue? Pulling a lever, scraping a chair, dropping an object on the floor, asking a person a question, these are your moments to get really close to something that you think warrants some extra attention.