BLDGBLOG just posted a nice look at Rutger Zuydervelt's Take a Closer Listen, in which the Dutch graphic designer asked different people to describe their favorite sounds. The results range from pithy—"snow lightly hitting a glass window," "rain falling on a tent's roof,"—to longer passages tied to specific memories or places.
The project raises questions about the relationship between sound and memory—is it the memory or something intrinsic to the sound that fills us with pleasure?—and as BLDGBLOG's Geoff Manaugh notes, it plays with the perception that humans are incapable of accurately describing or recreating the things we hear:
The assumed ephemeral nature of these found sounds becomes readily apparent after reading Zuydervelt's edited collection; but is the intangible, nostalgic, beyond-grasp nature of sound inherent to the sonic experience, or simply an artifact of the rhetorical tone most often used in today's writing about the acoustic environment?
In other words, are sounds really the disappearing remnants of a world that we are always trying—and failing—to reassemble? Is there really always a connection between sound and memory or sound and nostalgia—not sound and physical experience, say, or even sound as a subset of astronomy?
Manaugh also posits that the project should be opened up to the public with a dedicated website, which sounds like a fantastic idea.
What's your favorite sound?