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Message posted on 04/06/2024

EASA2024 – Invitation to join Ethnographic Experiment on Noise in Barcelona

Dear all,

We would like to invite you to join and register to an experiment/outdoor multimodal tour of noise “Silenci – El Soroll Mata!: an ethnographic experiment in the doings and undoings of urban noise” (L009) during the EASA2024 conference in Barcelona.

You can find information here: // nt-easa2024/


El Soroll Mata!

Environmental and recreational noise have long been matters of concern in Barcelona, not just as nuisances, but as forces that kill. According to the local authorities, 57% of its population is exposed to harmful levels of noise, due to road traffic, street morphologies, the density of neighbourhoods, rise of tourism, bars and terraces. This has resulted in several initiatives (e.g. the banning of megaphones, the formation of pedagogic mediators, installation of noise monitoring infrastructures, and recently, plans to regulate tourist spaces).

However, noise in cities has an ambiguous status: it is a sign of conviviality, of a vibrant urban life, but is also its harmful consequence. Noise can be regarded as an index for both the doing and undoing of urban life: simultaneously a sign of “modernity” (Bijsterveld 2008) and of its unforeseen consequences, of functioning infrastructures and their breakdowns. Noise itself is an elusive phenomenon, doing and undoing what counts as reliable knowledge. It takes shape within the “dynamic friction” (Peterson 2021) between techniques, media and forms that seek to objectively fix it, and the sensibilities and bodily practices through which it is perceived.

We would like to invite EASA2024 conference participants to join us for an ethnographic experiment during their time in Barcelona to try to attune to and capture its noises. This experiment will happen along curated itineraries to places where noise has particular textures and resonances: to experience different kinds of noise, where noise has long been and still is a source of urban conflicts, and to test different modalities for attuning to specific noisescapes. At each noisy place, participants will be asked to attune to noise through a specific mode and medium: a drawing or sketch, a written description or text, photographs, or sound recording. The aim is to explore the challenge of capturing, attuning and relating to noise in distinct ways, and to reflect on the difficulties of making noisy knowledge.

This experiment seeks to provide conference goers an opportunity to explore the city of Barcelona through an acute urban and environmental issue while they are not at the conference venue. Instead of a specific place and time for the experiment, we will ask the participants to use their moments outside of the conference throughout the week to follow itineraries and participate in the experiment. In advance, participants will be provided a dossier/guidebook/map to guide them, while also providing contextual information about the noise issues, and instructions for attuning to and documenting noise. To avoid contributing to the situation we seek to explore, we will not form as a large group at a specific time and location in Barcelona, but will ask participants to individually, or in small groups, follow the guidebook and map themselves. We will also ask participants to upload their materials digitally throughout the conference. During the final day of the conference (26 July, 11.15-13.00), participants will be invited to come together for a session to share their materials and experiences of noise in Barcelona. During this de-briefing session, an expert from the Barcelona city administration will also join the conversation to discuss and re-act to our noisy experiences.

Itineraries will include curated noise walks through Raval, Gràcia, the Waterfront, Eixample, and Sagrera.

There will be a pre-conference information session for interested participants on Zoom. During this information session, we will provide further details of the ethnographic experiment, instructions for the attunement exercises, the digital upload process, and the noise walk itineraries/guidebooks. Date of this session will be during the week of July 08-12, 2024.

L009 Time: during the conference Location: specific locations in Barcelona De-brief session: Friday, July 26, 2024 – 11.15-13.00 (at the conference venue)

If you would like to join the experiment or if you have any questions, please contact us through email:

Deadline for registration: July 08, 2024

This is part of the ERC project called “Urban Vibrations: How Physical Waves Come to Matter in Contemporary Urbanism” (WAVEMATTERS) led by Ignacio Farías at Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin.

Brett Mommersteeg (he/him) Senior Researcher ERC WAVEMATTERS Dept of EuroEthno Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin

Variations of a Building (2023, Palgrave)

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