Sound Ecologies

Michelle Duffy

Abstract


Discussions about what constitutes ‘the rural’ invariably focus on notions of spatial location – of inhabiting spaces apart from that of the metropolitan. Deeply embedded in our images of what it means to be Australian, nonetheless our intellectual framing of ‘the rural’ as something outback and beyond has significant implications for our relations with these spaces. The relatively recent phenomenon of sea- and tree-changes has struck many unawares, and not simply because a good latté is so hard to find. Although a frivolous remark, such an apparent lack does shift our focus to a bodily scale of the rural; how is rural place re/made through our experiences of it?

This article originates out of on-going research that explores the practice of listening and sound and the ways in which the body can draw attention to the intuitive, emotional, and psychoanalytical processes of subjectivity and place-making. Drawing on Nigel Thrift’s concept of an ecology of place, I suggest that contemporary heightened concerns with regards to loss and lack in rural Australia has led to a nascent emotional economy – one in which individual and intimate connections to the rural require a rethinking of how we live community and belonging. In such a terrain, what does it mean to be rural?

Keywords


sound diary; sea change; tree change; placemaking

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