Documenting Sounds in Urban Places: Belfast During Covid-19 Lockdowns 1 and 2
Government-regulated business closures, social distancing from people, and stay-at-home orders emptied the urban environment of the presence of people. This effectively created new sonic relationships between natural and urbanised sounds within our built society. As Covid-19 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-based creative projects that capture the transitional events of Lockdown 1 and Lockdown 2 between March and October 2020 in Belfast, Northern Ireland. Fifteen locations and forty-one audio-photographic files were captured during this period, focusing on perceptions and observations of Covid-19 and the sonic effect on urban spaces. This collection of material acts as a documentation of place through sensory information and has been distributed onto online platforms such as soundmaps (soundwalk apps or browser maps), which allow for revising our understanding and reflecting on changes instilled by the pandemic. The creative projects provide a timeframe of how each lockdown changed our relationship with urban spaces during a global pandemic due to the regulations and distancing from others to combat the virus. This exposition discusses the immediate planning and procedures for capturing material during the events of Covid-19, with a review of certain soundscape compositions based on the sonic relationships of urban spaces.