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PORTFOLIO: SOUNDSCAPING

Pierre Bismuth, Following the Right Hand of Audrey Hepburn in “Breakfast at Tiffany’s”, 2007, marker on Plexiglas over C-print, 32 × 49". From the series “Following the Right Hand of,” 2007–.

AUDREY HEPBURN ON THE PHONE. It’s a quintessential image of the soundscape of daily life. She waves her hand through the air as she talks, punctuating every word with a gesture, embodying language as a physical act. What makes this so special is the fact that it’s sound we see, not sound we hear.

The soundscape is expansive. It’s everywhere. People, dogs, birds, trees, cars, radios, rain, Jimi Hendrix spilling out of a boom box, Adele leaking out of headphones, Thomas the Tank Engine chortling from a Kindle—it’s an immeasurable and unholy mix of frequencies, both heard and beyond hearing, stretching from the streets of New York to the woods of the Yukon. For decades, the soundscape has been subject to archival preservation: The Library of Congress has a vast collection of sounds gleaned from everyday life—even sounds from remote places far from human habitation. In December

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