street surface rhythms – seoul

Lamella expansion joints, as used in the construction of many bridges, create an rhythmic effect in combination with passing cars. Depending on the speed and type of car, patterns – in sound and rhythm reminiscent of hoofbeats –  are generated which vary in tempo and pitch, while an overlaying meta-rhythm is created by the traffic density.

While walking on a bridge over the river Han, the sound waves of heavy traffic passing underneath suddenly pop out – the bridge works as a screen deflecting the sound of these cars. On the opposite side of the street, a cut out effect would be noticed.The cut-out effect can be described as a sudden drop in intensity in connection with a change in the spectral envelope of a sound. It is an important effect for the perception of space and time, allowing us to distinguish between different spaces and locations.

While walking through the center of Seoul, i turned into a cobbled street and was immediatley reminded of my neighborhood Prenzlauerberg in Berlin, were one still can find many streets with cobblestones. This experience shows the evoking power of sound – the so called anamnesis effect, where a past situation or atmosphere is brought back to the listener’s consciousness.

The movements of the city in time and space are conducted by the architecture of streets, sidewalks, traffic lights, timetables, and so on. The whole situations feels as if it were staged.
This crossroad is directly over Sinchon subway station.