Sounding Belfast During Covid-19: Lockdown 1 and 2
The governmental regulations of business closures, distance from people, and Stay-At-Home orders emptied the urban environment from the presence of people. This effectively created new sonic relationships between natural and urbanised sounds within our built society.
As Covid-19 has instilled a state of abandonment from our urban spaces with each variation of lockdowns, there was an opportunity to document these changes through a sonic-journalistic approach.
The research is developed through artistic practice-led creative projects which captures the transitional events of Lockdown 1 and Lockdown 2, between March—October 2020, in Belfast, Northern Ireland. There are 15 locations and 41 audio-photographic files captured during this period which focus on the perception and observations of Covid-19 and the sonic effect on urban spaces.
This collection of material benefits the documentation of place through sensory information and distributed onto online platforms such as soundmaps, which allow for revision and reflection of changes on a communal scale. The creative projects also provide a timeframe on how each of the lockdowns have changed our relationship with our urban spaces during a global pandemic, accounting for the regulations and distancing from others in order to combat the virus.
This paper discusses the creative procedures of capturing material during the events of Covid-19, with a critical discussion on the sonic relationships of urban spaces and the perception of sounds in our surrounding environment.
Sonic Arts Research Centre | Queen’s University Belfast
Georgios Varoutsos (b.1991) is a sonic artist from Montreal, Canada. He is currently completing his PhD studies in Music at the Sonic Arts Research Centre (SARC) at Queen’s University Belfast, Northern Ireland. He has graduated with a Master’s in Research, Pass with Distinction, in Arts & Humanities with a focus in Sonic Arts at Queen’s University Belfast. He has also completed a BFA with Distinction in Electroacoustic Studies and a BA in Anthropology, both from Concordia University in Montreal, Canada.
As an artist, he explores the field of sound through an extensive range of projects and performances. His works have been presented in the form of concerts, installations, and presentations throughout Europe and North America. Presently he is merging various backgrounds of study into research projects consisting of urban arts, sonic studies, sonic arts, and socially engaged arts.