The Paris Soundscapes Archive
"There is an atmosphere in sound that belongs only to Paris".
Ludwig Koch, 1952
Creating the Paris Soundscapes Archive involves capturing and archiving the everyday sounds of Paris in, as far as I know, a more comprehensive way than it’s been done before.
The Paris Soundscapes Archive is an extensive collection of my recordings of the contemporary sound tapestry of Paris. It currently contains around 3,000 sounds of the city, including sounds from each of the 20 arrondissements as well as sounds from the surrounding suburbs.
The archive is my private collection but I am gradually transferring sounds from the archive to my Paris Soundscapes Collection in the sound archives of the British Library in London.
Sounds from the Paris Soundscapes Archive have been used in radio, film and television across the world and I make the sounds available for research purposes and for people with an interest in the sound tapestry of the city.
Since sounds don't exist in a vacuum, either in reality or metaphorically, I use my Soundlandscapes' Blog and my Paris Sound Map to contextualise some of my sounds of Paris.
I try to capture all aspects of the Parisian soundscape from the depths of the Parisian sewers to the magnificence of the Élysées Palace, from the spectacular to the everyday sounds around us - the sounds we all hear but seldom listen to - the sounds of what is happening when nothing is happening.
My Paris Soundscapes Archive is an archival project aimed at capturing every aspect of the multi-faceted contemporary Parisian soundscapes. But it's also a dynamic project in that it captures the changing soundscape of the city by location and over time - how the soundscape changes as one moves from the centre of the city to the periphery or how some sounds vanish and new sounds appear.
Paris is on the cusp of great change. The Greater Paris Project, the plan to create a sustainable and creative metropolis by absorbing the suburbs and redeveloping the city centre will change the visual landscapes of Paris and I'm anxious to capture and archive the changes in the city's sound landscapes that will inevitably follow.