You’ve Got Mailby: Jennifer

There was a time, when I was in grad school and living just off Wilshire Boulevard in Los Angeles, when I was cued by more interesting sounds–the tolling of the amplified church bell down the block telling me that hours had melted away while studying (and I hastened closer to death but not closer to finishing Foucault) and my personal favorite, the waterfall of alcohol bottles from the Soju bar my building shared a parking lot with. . .tinkling against the dumpster at approximately 2:15 a.m. letting me know that it was time to put the books down and try to get some sleep.

I rarely see that side of 2:00 a.m. anymore and I measure out my time not in Edgar Allen Poe-like church bell increments, but in 25 minute efficiency-enhancing Pomodoro blocks.  But like the bells and the alcohol bottle shower, at least those are predictable.  Unfortunately, the sound that now cues me most throughout the day is my email tone, to which I have a truly Pavlovian response.   They say that the unpredictable email noise creates responses akin to a gambling high–and I believe it. That low-toned ping gives me an excitement I cannot entirely explain—-does it hold out the possibility of good news?  does it taunt my job-induced solitude with human contact–news from the outside world? does it merely offer a distraction–one that feels enough like work to fool myself that it is not a disctraction? or, perhaps more dangerous, does that little sound promise a fire to be put out–a race to the heart, an angry jolt to the system of stress that I cannot go too long without?

Unlike the bells and the alcohol bottles, I can control this sound–I can turn it on and off. But it seems that, after just a little while of being in its thrall, the damage has been done.  Even without the lure of sound, I already checked my email twice while writing this post.  And in a turn of events that would horrify even Poe, with every new system update, it seems the pings and the pongs return without me having called them forth, daring me to turn them off once more.

Noise Challenge #7by: Cath

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Listening to other animals’ voices locate us geographically and temporally. This is a Torresian crow calling in the afternoon heat at Watarru Rocks in remote central Australia. Noise Challenge #7


Click-Click-Whir-Bzzzby: Mari


When I sit at my desk for 6 or 7 hours a day, my world becomes fixated on the light-emitting box in front of me. I swivel in my chair, click my nails on the keyboard, push the scroller wheel on the mouse up and down. There is the downbeat ding  of the email notification sound, the staccato click of the mouse, and the ambient hum of the various electronics in front of and beside and underneath me. I am in a nest of electronic noise, yet I am in the center- a breathing, talking human being. I sigh and murmur to myself, and break the steady rhythm of  sounds by my variability.

sequencingby: Andrea

the waking sound in the hall

the sound of the shower

the front door opening

the creak of a floorboard

Textsby: Alex

No time to post. People keep texting.

Typing cuesby: Soeine

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• Typing a facebook message.

• Typing an essay.

1, 2, 1 2 3 4by: Richard

The cue, the cues! There are just so many.

I thought about the multitude of e-prompts that beset our online lives, the behavioural prompts that our societies drape around us, the “persuasive” hints that infuse so much audiovisual communication.

Many of the cues turned out to be interruptions rather than productive prompts. So in the end, I choose a cue that is a recent addition, and has been a nudge in the right direction. So the musical snippet below is derived from the letters of the phrase “Noise Challenge”. Rather than record it, here is the score, itself a cue to make some noise. All together now…


Music score for Noise Challenge #7: The Cues

Loon callby: Stephen

The call of a loon is one of the most evocative cues for me – I wrote a song cycle and created a performance piece around it.

across_acrossby: jessica

walksign is on

joue joue jouer

waiting for the wind to carry this

Tower Clock Strikes A Cueby: Barbara

Every morning I hear the tower clock as my day begins. It is the sound that is anticipated. I almost hold my breath

wondering if for some unknown reason the clock will not chime out the time, will break that link between my present  and its past. What we have in common is a past forged from the future and a present forged from the past

2013-05-24 18 48 3

Noise Challenge #7: The Cuesby: Nostalgia

The Journey

I have been a teacher for 16 years- my day is constantly punctuated by bells ringing- the school bell is my cue- John Betjeman wrote Summoned by Bells-  I read his poem Guilt over the sound of the ringing bells…

Cue the Sound of the Alarm and the Gift of Rain: Rainy Day Millionaireby: Kate

This submission could be considered a combination of several previous projects. The further we move through the challenges, the more aware I’ve become of the interconnectedness of sound to thought and mood and memory. The drone of a mower on a hot day (Challenge #2: The Little Things), rain hitting the windowpane (Challenge #1: The Pulse – of Vancouver), and the infernal buzz of the alarm – especially the infernal buzz of the alarm (Challenge #7: The Cue).

Rainy Day Millionaire - Kate MacDonald

Chill the F**k Outby: Alan

As with any city in Berlin there are often conflicts between the various groups that use the roads for transport.  Buses, taxis, motorists, cyclists, Mercedes drivers, and even pedestrians all take a strong view on who has the right of way in a given situation.  Luckily in Berlin there is a friendlier attitude on the roads when compared with other cities.  In a lot of areas the cycle paths are on the footpath though.  Talk to any tourist in Berlin and they will tell or encounters, near death experiences, or even injuries suffered after unwittingly strolling into the cycle lane.  Despite all this courtesy there is a certain breed of cyclist that when a pedestrian accidently gets in their way they act as if you have committed the ultimate sin.  They will throw a barrage of insults at you and will probably almost run you down.  Why there are some like this when most others find the balance and show courtesy? Rather than anger towards these individuals I only find amusement.  This piece is dedicated to them, it’s entitled Chill the F**k Out.

Singing Sandsby: Kathryn

I’ve been on vacation this week, so my ‘everyday life’ is on hold. While I initially decided to skip this challenge, an interesting sound presented itself. This is not a cue from my everyday life, but instead a cue that I’ve taken a much needed break and far from home. Take a moment and listen to the Singing Sands near Basin Head, Prince Edward Island.

Singing Sands, Basin Head, PEI

The Noise Project #7: The Cuesby: Elizabeth

My cell phone is my information cue for everything.

From an alarm clock to a calendar notification to message received.

In our society, we are so easily connected to each other through text messages, emails, and social media which we can access on our phones. However, we are disconnected from one another. We spend more time with technology than engaged with our family and friends.

Recently I went a week without my phone or internet (no access). I detoxed from technology and learned to reconnect with myself, my husband, and friends. I spend less time around technology and more time with books, painting, friends, baking, family, and walking.

Rules for Living Life with Less Technology

Let your phone go to voicemail when you are engaged with friends.

Only check your email once an hour at work or at home.

Turn off the TV. Music is much better background noise.

Go outside, go for a walk, and listen to nature.

Play cards and board games like Dominion, Seven Wonders, or Catan.

Talk your dog for a walk or your children to the park. Pack some snacks and stay a little later.

Use a paper map instead of GPS. Learn to read the map and learn where north is. Take a chance getting lost for a little while because you never know what you will find.

Read a book, a real paper book. Smell the pages, turn over the corner, and write a note in it.

Have a cup of tea with your grandparents, parents, sister, and friends. Listen to their stories, their problems, let them vent, make them laugh, let them cry on your shoulder, then hug them.


The Cues : Layersby: Elizabeth



The sound of an alarm, ringtone, or any digital noise that comes out of an electronic device brought to mind this feeling of reverberation and active tension. These noises strike sound waves and send them out in all directions which reverberate through space until they hit our ear drums.

When I started to visualize this action, I also started to picture how these sounds layer overtop of the existing ambient noise which creates new patterns. It just so happened to be quite easy to transfer those patterns into lines and shapes on a piece of paper, at least what my mind’s eye saw.