TALES OF TEHRAN STREETS AND SONIC

POSTCARDS


 
Sonic postcards are short audio or video recordings of a place that may also include a commentary by the person recording: describing the place and the sounds, reflecting on the sound and how it makes them feel or talking about their relationship with the sonic environment.
 
We have created a gallery of sonic postcards below and would love to add to it, so please send us your sonic postcards!

SONIC TALES FROM TEHRAN STREETS

May 2021

Mirzaye-Shirazi Street: Inja Gallery

Kamyar Salavati

Built on an Armenian ghetto village in the 1950s, Mirzaye Shirazi street – formerly known as Nadershah street- has an interesting socio-urban identity. Today, it is a mixture of cultural centers such as the Inja Gallery, Cheshmeh Bookshop, Beethoven House-Musem, Hoor Gallery, and O Gallery, fancy restaurants and cafes, pastries, toy shops, and meat shops. Also, it is known for its Armenian residents, although their numbers have drastically reduced since the Islamic revolution of 1979. However, the revolution has had an interesting consequence in how Tehranis see the Armenian minority. In contrast to their social situation before the revolution, now they are one of the few signs of the “outer” world, the somehow western “other” inside the closed borders of Iran; a free minority in absence of foreigners, Jews, and a free authorized lifestyle. Maybe that is why at Christmas time, Mirzaye Shirazi becomes a hot spot in Tehran: people rush to see a public ceremony which is reminiscent of the West and is also one of the few opportunities for urban space to be ceremonial and alive during the cold nights of winter. As some Armenians say, Christmas in Mirzaye Shirazi is now an exhibition mostly visited by non-Christians than Christians.

In the recorded file, can we hear some visitors discussing the paintings of Samila Amirebrahimi in the small Inja gallery. The gallery has a high reverb, and this makes the sounds ambiguous and somehow mysterious. It is a Friday evening, which is the weekend in Iran. The gallery was located in the underground of a Pahlavi era building, with its upper floor hosting a delightful café which also belonged to Inja Gallery.

Mirzaye Shirazi Street- Inja Gallery, Ma
00:00 / 01:28

May 2021

Haft-e Tir Square: Youth Playing in a Plaza

Kamyar Salavati

Haft-e Tir is one of the main squares in Tehran and functions as a traffic hub. It lies at the conjunction of Karimkhan Street, Mofateh Street, Bahare Shiraz street, and Modarres Highway. Each of  these streets has different identities, but Haft-e Tir square is a very public and mixed spot: restaurants, a multi-storey supermarket, women clothes stores, banks, offices, a metro station, a bus stations, bookstore, an avant-garde 1970s designed mosque, and more. Recently, a park and plaza has been built in the square. Its trees have not grown yet, but the plaza now hosts families, youth, and even sometimes street sellers and musicians.

In the recorded file, we hear some youth playing football (soccer), yelling at each other ('who should stop him?!'), a mother talking to her child, and the sound of traffic in Karimkhan street and Haft-e tir square. I passed through the playiing field while recording.

Hafte Tir Square- Playing in the Plaza,
00:00 / 00:34

May 2021

Felestin Street: An Official Meeting in a Governmental Office

Kamyar Salavati

Felestin Street is one of the early modern streets in the centre of Tehran. It hosts several cafes, restaurants, optometry shops, clothes stores, university faculties, offices and a famous mosque from where pro-regime rallies start. Formerly known as Kakh ('Palace') Street, it hosted the houses of various political figures from the 1920s to the 1050s, including Reza Shah and his son and the famous prime minister, Mossadegh.

 

Felestin Street, from the intersection with Enghelab Street to the north, has a youthful atmosphere and is a favourite spot for university students. It is a beautiful narrow street with lots of tall trees and outstanding pre-revolution architecture, making it a good choice for dates or even smoking weed for students.

In one of its alleys, there is the central committee for neighbourhood councils of Tehran; an institution which connects the local councils to the municipality. The attached file is recorded during one of its meetings where different research and design groups were presenting their proposals for some socio-urban and ethnographical projects. In the recordings, we can hear two women, including a sociologist, discuss a project presented by another on urban harvesting. The head of the institution concludes the discussion and while he talks, there is almost complete silence. We can hear a variety of different accents: the proposal presenter had a Kermanshah accent, the institution head has a distinguishable Esfahani accent, and we can also hear a speaker with a light Turkish (Azeri) accent. The participant in the discussion with the sociologist, with which the recording starts, has no distinguishable accent although we can say she is not from a 'native' Tehrani background. Meanwhile, we can hear the ambience of the alley and sometimes cars passing by.

Felestin Street- An Official Meeting in
00:00 / 02:28
Felestin Street- An Official Meeting in
00:00 / 01:47

May 2021

Enghelab Street: Cluna Healthy Chain Fast Food

Kamyar Salavati

Enghelab street is where the University of Tehran is located, the most important university in Iran and the centre of much political turmoil over the years. There are several cheap restaurants, bookstores, cafes and food shops on the both sides of the street. Almost across from the university, there is a “Cluna” chain restaurant. It has a wide glass wall facing the hustle and bustle of Enghelab street. Cluna has become a favourite spot for young people to have an almost cheap healthy meal in a high quality designed space. Also, the growth of vegetarianism among the youth in Tehran has led to a success in Cluna’s work.

In the recording, I am sitting with my colleague and friend, and we discuss food and work. We can hear the sound of the heavy traffic of Enghelab street and also the background music which is playing in this spacious Cluna fast food store.

Enghelab Street, Cluna Healthy Chain Fas
00:00 / 02:22

May 2021

Nami- Qeytarieh Street: After Work Chat in an Architecture Studio

Kamyar Salavati

Qeytarieh is one the wealthy and expensive districts of Tehran, located in the northern part of the city. Ketabi Square is a small traffic square located in the conjunction of small Nami Street and Qeytarieh street, just across from the famous and spacious Qeytarieh park.

In this file, two lead architects in an architecture studio are telling a funny story about one of their friends and former employees, and tehy laugh after a very heavy work day, with three electricity outages during. the day. One can clearly distinguish a special Tehrani accent and speaking tone in the woman’s voice, reminiscent of a socio-economical class which differs from the Tehrani accent of central or southern Tehran. We can hear the light traffic of Nami Street. Every now and then, a car passes with loud popular music playing; however, no such car passed during this recording.

Nami, Qeytarieh Street
00:00 / 01:04

SONIC POSTCARDS

April 2021

 

Amir Abad-e Shomali, with the Milad Tower in the background.

 

"Distance sounds of traffic, with bird sounds in the foreground"

 

(sent by Shahin Abedizadeh)

Screenshot 2021-05-05 at 18.20.19.png

April 2021

 

Park next to Autoban-e Hakim close to Sheikh Bahai Jonubi.

 

"Next to the main road, but still the sounds of birds very loud. You can also hear the sound of wind, partly caused by the passing of traffic. Together with the sounds of crows, which you can't see but which are always in the background in Tehran"

(sent by Shahin Abedizadeh)

Screenshot 2021-05-05 at 18.20.19.png

April 2021

 

"Next to Sheikh Bahai Road. Sometimes when you come to the road, the sounds of birds come from every direction, and you need to search until you find them, since the sounds get drowned out by the noise of traffic but they are there, a lot"

(sent by Shahin Abedizadeh)

Screenshot 2021-05-05 at 18.20.19.png
Screenshot 2021-05-05 at 18.20.19.png

April 2021

"The sounds of the many cats of Tehran. The sounds of their eating, the sounds of their mating ... this one is pregnant ... Here comes another cat"

(sent by Shahin Abedizadeh)

 

April 2021

 

"Reza Computer Bazaar on Vali Asr Road (junction of Enghelab Street). Now it is the holidays and it's closed, but if you come here when it's open, it's full of people buying mobile phones and computers. Full of noise. Also Paytakht Computer Bazaar"

(sent by Shahin Abedizadeh)

Screenshot 2021-05-05 at 18.20.19.png
Screenshot 2021-05-05 at 18.20.19.png

April 2021

Yousefabad

 

"The sound of the water in the joob is an important part of the sounds of Tehran. It's very full right now. There are joobs from one end of Tehran to the other. It's water from the qanat, stream water and waste water"

(sent by Shahin Abedizadeh)

 

 

April 2021

 

"Once again, the sounds of cats, that you hear a lot of in Tehran"

(sent by Shahin Abedizadeh)

Screenshot 2021-05-05 at 18.20.19.png

 

April 2021

 

"Other sounds that you hear in Tehran are car alarms, which you hear a lot, car ignition sounds and the sounds of cars moving. Delivery motorbikes which in the day you hear a lot in Tehran, even more than cars"

(recorded by Shahin Abedizadeh)

Screenshot 2021-05-05 at 18.20.19.png

 

April 2021

 

Valiasr Road (Fariman/Bozorgmehr)

 

"Water is an important part of the sounds of Tehran. Because it's a holiday today, there isn't much water, but most days there is. And you can always hear the sounds of  water, particularly in the south of Tehran where there are so many joob full of water. Because it's a holiday today they have closed the water"

(sent by Shahin Abedizadeh)

Screenshot 2021-05-05 at 18.20.19.png
Screenshot 2021-05-05 at 18.20.19.png

April 2021

"Hakim Highway, close to the International Tower of Tehran and the ISP building. The sounds of the highway and the constant passing of large number of cars. Today is a holiday, but the volume of traffic is still high and on normal days, it is combined with the sound of traffic jams"

(sent by Shahin Abedizadeh)

Screenshot 2021-05-05 at 18.20.19.png

April 2021

 

"Once again we can hear the sounds of birds here, mixed with the sounds of cars"

(sent by Shahin Abedizadeh)