The Sonic Ecology of the Tourist City

9-10 January 2020 // Perception and Narrative
Ivo Louro, Iñigo Sanchez, Daniel Paiva, Margarida Mendes with Brandon LaBelle

Although the Anthropocene is largely represented through graphs, maps and vivid images of environmental disasters, its global changes are equally present in how a place sounds and the way it shapes the possibilities for listening and sounding of situated people and other living beings. From the hums and sonic bursts of deep sea mining to the prospect of silent springs to come, by way of the trolley rattling and engineered-for-authenticity sonic ambiances of the tourist city, listening to Anthropocene topologies invites new reflections on scale, presence, permanence, agency and the experience and politics underlying this proposed epoch.

This seminar invites participants to reflect on these concerns by way of a situated case: the touristification of Lisbon. Recent scholarship has scrutinized the anthropocenic force of mass tourism around issues of sustainability, environmental ethics, power relations, and/or mobility. As Lisbon becomes an increasingly popular tourist destination, these issues are embedded within the city’s shifting sonic ambiances. Through a combination of theory and practice, this seminar will explore the sonic impacts of touristification in Lisbon and ask how the sonic ecology of cities affected by mass tourism can help us sense and reflect on the interplay of global eco-sociological changes turned into local issues and vice-versa.