I posted a while ago about this fascinating documentary project: In Pursuit of Silence and as a backer its been great receiving the rewards, including postcards from around the world as their shoot progresses..
I’ll repost the outline of the project below, but they have recently launched a second Kickstarter funding round, to get them through the remainder of the shoot and into post production – if you value your ears & can spare the price of a cup of coffee, or more, please have a look at the project here & help contribute to the creation of this incredibly worthy project.
Some of the available Kickstarter rewards are so excellent, for example: “You and up to 2 guests can spend up to 30 minutes in the anechoic chamber at the famous Orfield Laboratories near Minneapolis, rated the “Quietest Place on Earth” by the Guinness Book of World Records”
And I love these Moleskin ‘silence journals’
Relatedly I had a fun afternoon, meeting up with Guido from Soundeffects.ch who is on holiday in New Zealand for a couple of months & it was interesting to chat with him about his experiences recording in his home country of Switzerland as well as many other countries in Europe and abroad. One of the comments he made that has stuck with me, was how difficult it is to find quiet in Switzerland. For example while there are plenty of rivers & streams there, to be able to capture wider perspectives of them is very difficult due to noise pollution.
Nowhere, New Zealand included, is free of noise pollution but there is a direct relationship between population, land mass and noise pollution. Unfortunately once noise pollution actually becomes an issue it is way too late to do anything about it: progress, endless population growth and development will be the inevitable undoing of the human race and it won’t be a quiet process. So it will be very interesting to see how far this documentary pursues the wider issues associated with the political & commercial agenda of constant expansion, and the long term costs associated with it.
Another aspect I am interested in is what the actual physical & health impacts are from living in a ‘noisy’ environment. Do you simply become desensitized? I notice it in a small scale by now living effectively in the country side – when I go into the city I feel the effects of the traffic & general busyness, and I don’t really relax until I get away again. But in Japan it is even more pronounced, I well remember spending a few days in the relatively small town of Nara for the film festival, and then returning to Osaka and instantly feeling the huge contrast in every day life, but especially in the evenings: Nara was quiet at night, whereas I suspect Osaka is never actually quiet.
Of course that is part of the ‘buzz’ of spending time in a large city, and each person finds their own balance and their own quiet places for necessary respite. But what does it actually mean to ‘get used to’ living & existing in a relentlessly busy, noisy environment?
UPDATE: there is an interesting interview with the director here
“IN PURSUIT OF SILENCE is a meditative film about our relationship with sound and the impact of noise that will be released globally. The award-winning Los Angeles-based filmmakers are currently in the final stages of production, and have launched a Kickstarter campaign to finish the film. The funding will allow them to complete the last few production trips and move deep into the editing process towards a final cut of the film. This unique crowdfunding campaign includes a range of exclusive rewards for backers to engage with silence and sound, including 30 minutes in the quietest place on earth, dining at a silent meal (to be featured in the film!), a custom made “Silence Kit”, pre-orders for the completed film, limited edition prints, and more. All funds raised will help the film to serve a catalyst for a global movement towards a better sounding world.”
The campaign ends November 7, 2014 – more details about the project are at Kickstarter
The film intends to explore the following:
– Silence as perceived by different cultures
– The dimensions of silence and how we perceive it
– The benefits of silence from a psychological, neurological, spiritual perspective
– The basic science of sound, how we perceive it, how it influences us
– Noise pollution and its negative effects on health, cognitive development, autism, our general perception of the world around us
– Solutions to noise pollution (i.e. city planning, product design, architecture)
– Hearing loss and other diseases related to hearing and sound
Support the project on Kickstarter here