Mis-Guide to Concordia University: A Sound Map

by Rory Warnock and Dan Bevc

This project is a “mis-guide” map, a psychogeographic tour intended to expose the sonic structure of leisure spaces within Concordia’s Sir George Williams Campus. It is intended to encourage the use of the auditory senses as a tool for reframing one’s perception of how these spaces, which are open to all students, are inhabited by particular bodies based on common interests and identities. It also demonstrates that the differences in these spaces are perceptible even on an auditory level. In order to properly analyze the auditory characteristics of the spaces, one must begin with a careful listening excursion. The sound map provided is intended to guide the viewer on such an excursion and to shift their focus away from the dominant visual mode of understanding space. This will allow them to rediscover locations and to consider the importance of sound in representing the way students define spaces and are defined by spaces.

The sound map assembled by our group surveys seven leisure spaces in Concordia’s downtown campus.These areas are located in Concordia’s H Building, LB Building, Molson School of Business, EV Building, and Visual Arts Building. The intended purpose of this map is to facilitate listening in these spaces rather than the process of getting to these locations. Moreover, the map can be completed in any order, as long as each location is visited. See the photos attached to each location point on the map and listen to the audio files to orient yourselves in the space.


Some helpful questions to think about that frame how bodies and environments are perceived in the locations are: What content is being discussed in the space? Is there a high or low density of bodies in the space? What is the energy in the space? Is it dynamic or passive? What is the size of the space? What is the movement like in the space?


One comment

  1. The mis-guide that our team has chosen to evaluate is called: Mis-guide to Concordia University: A Sound Map. This map has 7 locations, clearly indicated on Google maps, along with a picture and a minute long recording of the ambient sounds of each area.

    Before starting the tour we reviewed every location and listened to the recordings. We were impressed to find that by simply listening to the recordings and looking at the pictures provided we were able to get a clear idea of what the environment in those spaces were like. By listening to the recordings separately from the other elements of the project we realised how much we rely on sound, and how important it is for the understanding of our environment. For example, the recordings for the EV Foyer, EV Deans and EV third floor all have a lot of echo, giving the impression that it is a big room with high ceilings. In the LB Lunch Room recording we can hear chairs being moved, some trays being dropped and some distant laughter, those sounds are indicative of a cafeteria. Our only problem with the sound part is that since most rooms are study halls and dining areas, they all sounded similar. It would have been interesting to use 7 rooms with distinct environmental sounds, such as a classroom while a teacher is giving a lecture.

    The use of Google maps facilitated our journey through the downtown campus as we did not have to physically search for the locations nor did we have to ask around for directions. Making all the information, the recording and the image, accessible when selecting the location on the map made it more user friendly. No more going back and forth between internet pages. Furthermore, it gave the map visual appeal.

    To conclude, we think the creators, Dan and Rory, did a fantastic job. Their project forced us to analyse the ambient sounds of the different spaces in order to understand what was going on around us. It gave us a different perspective of familiar places by simply making us aware of noises we usually ignore.

    Kamelia Dore & Fiona Schlumberger

    Liked by 1 person

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