Manitoba

Audio postcards explore the unknown, return to the familiar across Canada

Although a picture may be worth a thousand words, an online exhibition of audio postcards shows that the sounds of the adventures into the unknown or a return to the familiar can elicit a swath of unique emotions.

Audio Postcards Canada online exhibition showcases 16 curated postcards

The Audio Postcards Canada online exhibition was launched by the Canadian Association for Sound Ecology on July 18 to showcase the diverse acoustic features of Canada. (Jonathan Alcorn/Reuters)

Postcards cross the country and the world each day showcasing photos and short stories of the tales of friends and families as they explore new areas and experience different environments.

Although a picture may be worth a thousand words, an online exhibition of audio postcards shows that the sounds of the adventures into the unknown or a return to the familiar can elicit a swath of unique emotions.

The Audio Postcards Canada online exhibition was launched by the Canadian Association for Sound Ecology on July 18 to showcase the diverse acoustic features of Canada.

The exhibition contains 16, one to two minute "audio postcards" from across the country, according to a news release from the association.

"It was me and my older brother Peter and we'd always take turns, the two of us sawing and chopping wood," Jim Hope said in one of the recordings from the village of Fort Simpson, N.W.T.

While Hope recalls his childhood the melody of chopping and sawing — the sounds of staying warm in the brisk weather — subtly play in the background.

"It's cold when you get up, and that's whoever makes the fire first is the guy, the person, that gets up first or wants to get up first," Hope said.

Just like postcards sent through the mail, audio postcards are short explorations and celebrations of places, project lead Carmen Braden explained in a podcast on the association's website.

"Except these postcards explore and celebrate the sounds and not the sights of the place," she said.

In the summer of 2015, the association put out an international call for audio postcards with the requirement that all sounds had to be made or captured in Canada. They received 87 works and through a lengthy process they were curated down to the 16 featured on the website, according to the release. 

From the bells ringing in Toronto Old City Hall to midnight frogs singing in Squamish, each piece makes people see, smell, and taste while evoking memories of different times in their own lives, Braden explained. 

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