City Sonic Places: experiencing the urban soundscape

City Sonic Places: experiencing the urban soundscape

2 Feb 2018 | 11am - 7.30pm

Led by Cathy Lane, Peter Cusack and Lisa Hall

At London College of Communication

Artworks: 11am - 2pm  |  Symposium & Performance: 2 - 6pm followed by a drinks reception until 7.30pm

How do we hear the city? Why do cities sound like they do?  What are sonic places?

To celebrate the publication of Peter Cusack’s Berlin Sonic Places: A Brief Guide, CRiSAP invites you to City Sonic Places: experiencing the urban soundscape, an event exploring artistic and planning interventions into city soundscapes.

Prior to the symposium a specially commissioned programme of sound art interventions will take place around the Elephant & Castle, exploring the city and it's sonic places. The commissioned artists; Alicia Jane Turner, Brigitte Hart, David Bloor, Debbie Kent, Maja Zećo, Richard Allen and Shanti Suki Osman.

The symposium presentations will consider how we hear the cities in which we live and what kinds of sonic interventions might be possible or desirable in contemporary urban environments. The guest speakers are; Sam Auinger (founder of O & A known for large scale public sound installations);  Lisa Lavia (Managing Director of the Noise Abatement Society); Gascia Ouzounian (musicologist and co-director of Recomposing the City) & Dr Sarah Lappin (architect and co-director of Recomposing the City) and artist/musician Peter Cusack (CRiSAP, London College of Communication) who will also give a unique Berlin Sonic Places solo performance.

“Cities are just too large and our ears cannot register the entire soundscape as one” Berlin Sonic Places: A Brief Guide introduces the idea of a “small sonic locality in a city that is sonically coherent enough to be studied as such.”

“They are present everywhere; in public and private space, streets, parks, inside buildings, at home, at work, below ground in subway stations or cellars and above in towers or sky scrapers. At any one moment their size is limited to the range of our hearing and their soundscape a product of the acoustic activity there, in resonance with the material, architectural and social character of the place.”



Seven specially commissioned artworks will be exploring and contributing to the sonic places of Elephant & Castle between 11am and 2pm. Read the full programme here.

Take Another Little Piece of My Heart

By Alicia Jane Turner

A one-to-one performance that intimately explores our awareness of the sounds that surround us in public spaces and city landscapes, and how we negotiate our connection with ourselves within them.

Available 12 - 2pm |  Dur: 5mins | Sign up on arrival | Read more

@Tinysound Takeover

By Brigitte Hart
Twitter takeover

A sound-based social media experiment using a simple poetic narrative to explore the sonic properties of urban and other environments. Tinysound will takeover the CRiSAP Twitter account creating sonic portraits of urban life in and around Elephant and Castle.

Online between 11am - 2pm | Read more

The Composition of Urban Material & Surface

With David Bloor
Workshop (limited availability) 

This workshop aims to explore the resonant properties of the materials, surfaces and spaces in Elephant & Castle by recording and performing on a series of devices built by the artist. 

11am - 1pm | Dur: 2 hours | Read more & *book a place*

t_h_reading the labyrinth

By Debbie Kent
Audio walk 

An audio walk tracing the mesh of historic pathways that lie beneath the traffic system outside the College, reading, treading and re‑threading an ancient subterranean network beneath the city and attempting to rekindle its power.
Available 12 - 2pm | Dur: 30 mins | Read more


By Maja Zećo

The artist, wearing a white suit covered with sound-proof panels, noise dampening headphones and earplugs, moves through the streets of Elephant & Castle, her presence exploring ideas of identity, sense of place and sonic activism.

11.30am  - 1.30pm | Read more

Pick Up

By Richard Allen
Audio intervention

Encountered in a phone box, this audio intervention connects overheard samples from films in which characters receive and make calls on public phones, with listeners who pick up this ringing phone. 

Available between 12 - 2pm | Dur: 5mins | Read more

Sense Us

By Shanti Suki Osman
Audio intervention (participation welcome)

Sense Us takes the binary data produced by census data of the SE1 6SB area and injects ‘living statistics’ comprising voices and sounds from the community into the city environment.

1.30 - 1.50 | Dur: 20 mins | Read more


Symposium Presentations & Performance

The symposium will consist of four presentations and a performance that will start from specific experiences of the city of Berlin and then be applied more widely. In particular the symposium will examine the local, detailed and intricate perspective of individual places, often experienced by artists engaged on practical urban sound projects alongside the wider overviews of city planners and developers who need to take many other, non-sonic, considerations into account. In City Sonic Places we will make space for an appreciation of, and an enquiry into, the city’s soundscape in all its moods of noise and quiet.

Sam Auinger

Founder of O+A known for large scale public sound installations

The World We Hear

After almost 30 years of creating sound installations in public space I would like to share some insights in our (O+A…..Bruce Odland /Sam Auinger) work process, how we approach, discuss and work on a chosen site to develop an installation; and show some findings from our long term artistic research on the topic of Sonic Commons and Hearing Perspective.

Read more.

Lisa Lavia

Managing Director of the Noise Abatement Society

Practical Approaches to Tuning Spaces, An Exploration of Applied Soundscape in Brighton and Hove

Soundscape is a multi-disciplinary new science, rooted in sonic arts and the human perceptual response to sound in context. To support its practical use in urban planning contexts it is essential that well evidenced case studies are developed to help practitioners, citizens and local authorities in line with the international soundscape standard.

Read more.

Gascia Ouzounian & Sarah Lappin

Musicologist; Architect, and directors of Recomposing the City

Acoustic Ordnance or Acoustic Surveillance? Mapping Sound and Noise

Taking inspiration from Peter Cusack’s seminal project Favourite Sounds of London, this talk explores the politics of sound mapping and noise mapping in urban contexts.

As part of their AHRC-funded research, Dr Sarah Lappin, Dr Gascia Ouzounian and Dr Rachel O’Grady have written The Sound-Considered City, an Advice Note which emphasizes the potential of sound and the practice of sound artists to make better cities.

Read more.

Peter Cusack

Artist/musician, CRiSAP, London College of Communication

City Sonic Places: Introduction

The City Sonic Places introduction will give a brief overview of some of the question that inform this symposium, namely how do we hear the city, why do cities sound like they do, what are sonic places and what kind of sonic interventions are possible or desirable in contemporary urban environment?

Read more.


To attend the event, please register for a free ticket on Eventbrite

The ticket will reserve you a seat at the symposium and give access to all artworks during their specified times on a first come first serve basis, aside from the workshop with David Bloor. ** The Composition of Urban Material & Surface workshop has limited capacity, please book a place in addition to your event ticket by emailing **

A full schedule, including locations of the artworks, can be collected from the registration desk in the College reception. 



London College of Communication is located in Elephant & Castle, on a single site, within easy reach of tube, bus and rail networks. Full travel details are available on the LCC website.

Address: London College of Communication, Elephant & Castle, London, SE1 6SB

Image credits: 'Take Another Little Piece of My Heart' image by Joe Twigg; 'The Composition of Urban Material & Surface' image by Bart Photography; 'Silencer' image by Karolina Bachanek; Sam Auinger, photo by Thekla Ehling.