Sonic Commons

Sonic Commons is an art project that studies listening and¬† soundscapes. It chronicles the journey of Simo and Tuike Alitalo¬īs artistic work. During the thirty years of practice, our field recordings and archives have become an evidence collection of changes in the North European soundscapes. The main concern is in the role of air traffic in our sonic commons.¬†

Our experience was¬† that soundscapes¬† are changing in one direction only with the expansion of air traffic. We realized this in the 1990s when working with a commission from SFB radio station sound art gallery in Berlin. They were interested in our nature/forest recordings and commissioned a sound map of ¬† ‚ÄúA Finnish forest‚ÄĚ.¬†

Later we have learned that unforeseen changes also affect soundscape. Volcanic eruptions, global epidemic diseases, and different military aggressions cause significant changes in the air traffic and consequently in soundscapes and natural environment. Thanks to artist residence programs, we have happened to be in perfect observation spots in  September 2001 in New York, in April 2010 in Lincolnshire England and in March 2020 in Paris.

The changes can be momentary, like the silent two weeks in 2010 that the volcanic eruption at Eyjafjallajökull caused. They can also be prolonged and significant, like the changes in European flying routes caused by the shooting down of a Malaysian Airplane in East Ukraine in July 2014. 

These experiences have made us wonder: could we control our sonic commons?Could we all have role in planning and deciding what we would like to hear while sitting in our own yard or in a public parks.