Aural Topography (Grand Bazaar, Tehran) Walk, Sound, Photography, 2015


Tehran Grand Bazaar - Raheleh Filsoofi
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Aural Topography - Bazaar

A Middle Eastern bazaar is a symphony of commerce.  From the earliest hours, when the shop owners open their stalls, to the late in the afternoon when they close the business of selling gives way to an experience that is greater than any product or any sum of money that may change hands.  The bazaar is an aural experience – the call of those that advertise bread and other food products, the quiet murmur or open laughter of the people that pass along its corridors, even the uncanny silence of certain sellers of candied fruit, who need not explain the value of their wares. 


The bazaar is a warren of enterprises that redistribute items that keep the city going; it is a myriad of accounts that keep the economy of the city in good order.  Despite modernity, which has wrought countless changes on the socio-economic landscape of the city, the bazaar is still the heart of a city and it pumps the sustenance of daily life through the individual transactions of those that visit it.  The bazaar is not just an economic enterprise, either – it is an arena for social and even political action.  People meet and inevitably discuss private and public affairs as they ostensibly go about their shopping.  The sounds of the bazaar cannot be controlled because they have no one source and the forms that they take have such a wide range, from human discourse to the chirping of birds.