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Photo Laudan Nooshin



Sonic Tehran is an interdisciplinary project exploring Tehran as a sounded space and funded by the Leverhumle Trust. The project is located at the intersection of ethnomusicology, sound studies and urban studies and its central questions address the relationship between sound and urban space. The project asks how sound shapes, and is shaped by, the urban environment.  What kinds of affective knowledge are generated through sonic experiences and how do those experiences change over time? What might an in-depth attention to sound reveal about the city, its shared spaces and conflicted history? How have Tehran’s changing sounds been remembered, historically imagined and (re- )shaped through memorialisation and nostalgia? How are dimensions of difference such as gender, class and religion inflected in the city sounds? How are competing claims over the control of urban space negotiated through sound? And how is sound implicated in the construction of place and community, particularly in the context of rapid urban change and regeneration?

Tehran offers a significant case study as one of the largest cities in the region and one that has experienced rapid change and social upheaval in its recent history.

At the heart of the project is an understanding of sound as an active agent in the production of urban space and an integral part of a rich, multi-sensory urban environment. The act of listening is understood as an intensely haptic and generative process by which sound can be both experienced directly, remembered and imagined

Through personal memories, oral history interviews, sonic diaries, blog posts, sound walks and sound mapping, the project aims to document and explore Tehran's rich sonic heritage.

صدا، صدا، تنها صدا


صدای خواهش شفاف آب به جاری شدن


صدای ریزش نور ستاره بر جدار مادگی خاک


صدای انعقاد نطفهٔ معنی


و بسط ذهن مشترک عشق


صدا، صدا، صدا، تنها صداست که می‌ماند

Sonic Tehran image.jpeg

        Sound, sound, only sound


        Pleading sound, of clear running water


        Sprinkling sound, of starlight on sheltered mother earth


        Setting sound, of the seed of meaning


        And the growing link of mind and love


        Sound, sound, only sound remains

        From ‘Only Sound Remains’

        Forough Farrokhzad (1934-1967)

        (translation by Jilah Peacock)

        © Sonic Tehran image by Jilah Peacock