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Ways of Hearing, Episode 1 & 2

Episode 1

  1. What is Krukowski’s main point about how we experience time in the “real” world versus are experiences with “digital” time? Why are these differences significant?
  • Krukowski is a writer musician which examines how the switch from analog to digital audio changed our perceptions of time, space, love, money and power. Time” is full of fascinating observations about how digital technology has altered our relationship to time: “if you’ve ever wanted to hit Undo on something in real life, you understand.” Real time is lived time. Time that we experienced in the analog time. On the other hand, digital time is designed for machines. When we trade broadcast for podcast, or analog for digital in the recording studio, we give up the opportunity to perceive time together through our media. Digital time can allow for other kind of variability in ways that can mess up your head. He talked about podcast listening speed, speeding himself up to 1.25x, “like I’m manic”, and slowing down to 0.75x, “like I’m drunk”. The lag between real time and computer process time messed with us too.
  1. What does Krukowski mean when he says that listening has a lot to do with how we navigate space?
  • Listening has a lot to do with how we navigate space. Krukowski means that sound can navigate us where are we. It helps map us from the surroundings. You can detect your way even if you are looking at your screen or doing anything. For New Yorkers, such sound waves are comparable to the usual noise of rain in inclement weather.

Episode 2

  • In the interview at the beginning of the episode, Jeremiah Moss argues that developers in Astor Place are “privatizing public space in a very stealth way.” What does he mean by this? What does Moss say about the distinction between public and private space, and why is it important?
  • This episode shows the way that digital media allows us to control signals we hear in public. Whatever we hear through our headphones and/or earbuds commands our attention, “Cocooning each of us in signal even as we occupy shared space.” The personalized soundscapes coming through earbuds create an interior space as a refuge even while extending that interior space into the street. “Through audio we’re privatizing our public spaces,” Said Kurkowski. When your listening to a broadcast with earbuds, you’ll find out that you aren’t aware of the space around you or of other people. If you are on the street, you won’t hear their footsteps approaching. You won’t hear their coughs, letting you know they are right behind you. You won’t even hear them yelling at you to get out of the way. Some people walk with screens, they main aim is not to be here, they are opting out of the street life of the city. They are creating a bubble to move in public space.
  • What is the significance of Emily Thompson’s idea that the development of concert halls arose from desires to “control interior spaces”? How is this desire, according to Krukowski, related to earbuds and headphones?
  • Emily Thompson’s idea that the development of concert halls arose from desires to “control interior spaces” because there were technological developments occurred in that time. There were too many noises around the people by the working engineers and the machines the workers use, motor of the vehicles moving, elevated trains everywhere and subways were simultaneously being built. This period was very hard for people to hear their thoughts or even try to collect them together. According to Krukowski, this desire is related to earbuds and headphones because these tools help people concentrate in whatever they are doing and help them connect their thoughts and ideas. It can avoid the outside distraction. He mentioned, “They create an auditorium without the walls”. It is in a way creating the same refuge as concert hall can create.
  1. In your own opinion, what are the key ideas from this episode about the relationship between sound and space? What strikes you as interesting about the ways that sound influences our experience of space
  • Damon Krukowski’s Ways of Hearing is an ear-opener. These episodes open the ears through the eyes. Everything changes so quickly, the buildings, fashion, cars, bridges, roads. Yet we don’t. The ways we move through space in crowds, the ways we interact with each other through phone calls, the ways we record, share, and access music. The act of listening, we realize not just in conversation but in our headphones and in the world is significant. How we control sound, how we use it to insulate ourselves, to transport ourselves, to educate ourselves, to provoke thoughts and to distract ourselves from thoughts, to connect, to escape, can have social, even political, ramifications. And listening to podcasts these intimate, sophisticated constructions of sound and ideas can connect us intensely to other people and isolate us from our surroundings at the same time. Hearing involves awareness of surrounding sounds. Listening, paying attention to what we hear, elevates our engagement with those sounds and all they have to offer.