Levack: “Ochlophonics Hong Kong: Everyday Sound Practices Within the Crowd”

Music, Sound and the Reconfiguration of Public and Private Space Conference – “Urban and mobile music/sound” panel continued:

John Levack Drever’s (Goldsmiths’ College, London) talk “Ochlophonics Hong Kong: Everyday Sound Practices Within the Crowd” was next. I picked up a few random points that don’t reflect the soundscape recording focus of his talk. Levack taught at a university in Hong Kong and observed that it was perfectly normal for students to talk on the phone and text during lectures.

He also observed a very different notion of public and private space, especially as many spaces are highly commercialised. People in Hong Kong don’t seem to listen to (their own) music primarily on their mobile devices, in stead radio listening, and especially Cantonese opera, horse racing, business news and Buddhist chants. Levack reported that many people listen only with one earpiece in public, a listening strategy also observed by a later presentation by Nicola Dibben and Anneli Beronius Haake on “The Experience of Music in Office-Based Workplace Settings”.

The last random piece I noted from this talk is a set of items that are traditionally burned for the dead in Hong Kong. Traditionally this used to be money, but now representations of all sort of consumer goods are also burned. The package Levack showed contained, headphones, hearing aids, radio, mp3 player and mobile phone – all mobile audio devices!

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