The escalators are always moving. Always. Past the time when no one is allowed inside the building anymore, the escalators keep on moving. When the escalators aren’t moving, people not only notice, they panic. They lose part of their routine, and a lot of times get really upset by the fact that they may have to take the stairs, or even just the elevator. This disruption of routine is even better exemplified by the silence that pervades the air when the escalators are out of order. There is no comfortable hum, and there is no background noise but people talking and eating. Another major difference I notice is the buzzer that sounds when someone leans on the railing for too long. This buzz is sharp and deliberate , and when it doesn’t happen from time to time, it feels like the building isn’t moving to match the flow of traffic trying to get through it. I think there is an association between the hum of machinery and efficiency. When we don’t hear machines, we are uncomfortable with the pace of everyday living. Especially when that hum has been there every day for however many months or years we’ve been walking past the escalators. It’s silent, and we hate it. And our disdain for the lack of escalators is not reflective of the actual gravity of our problem. Three flights of stairs are not that much of an inconvenience in the scheme of getting to class on time. But the fact that the sound is gone, the reassuring drone that is always there and always assures us we will get to class on time–this is the worst aspect of the whole ordeal. It’s an immediate signal that something is wrong. And if this one thing is wrong–if this indisputable fact of life can be disrupted so easily and startlingly, then it makes us fear for all the other aspects of our routine: can they be banished just as easily? The sound serves to reinforce our disappointment in a way almost no one will ever notice or address.
Noise Intercepted Collaborators
Garrett Hood - Student
Why do I want to participate?
As a theatrical sound designer, I am always looking to develop a deeper understanding of the sounds around us, in order to create deeper, more immersive onstage environments. I want to challenge myself to think in new, creative ways.