Gallery Whispers and Lunch in the Cafe: Mapping Museums Through Their Sounds

“There are so many sounds in museums that we usually ignore that are absolutely engrossing once you take the time to focus on them,” says artist John Kannenberg, who’s been recording museum noise for 15 years.

As we all know, when we lose one sense, we gain a heightened sense of awareness of the other four.  John Kannenberg has taken note of this and is taking a new perspective on a place we’ve all been: the museum.  By taking the sights out of it, which is the primary reason we all go to museums, we’re able to hear all the nuanced and fascinating noises that go on without us ever paying attention.

Kannenberg walks through the great museums of the world with his little audio recorder trying to capture whisper, footstep, and “blistering pops of the old fluorescent lights”.  Once he’s finished he plays it all back and painstakingly reorganizes the sounds to cohesively reflect the emotions and experience he had while walking through the museum himself.  

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