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Aural Topography 

Walk, Sound, Photography, 2015-2018

Aural topography is the development of an understanding of place in terms of sound.  In the same way that physical topography records and analyses the way that land goes up and down, the way that one can move from enclosed to open areas, the way that landforms shape our experience of the world, aural topography enhances physical space and makes shapes of its own in our minds. The depth to which aural topography reaches is in many ways more profound than that of the land, insofar as it can cut across time through memory and it can trigger feelings and emotions that are part of our rapport not only with a place but also with people, animals, plants, the wind … that run across it.  Sounds can be made by people and things that we know, but their origins may also come from people and things that are unfamiliar.  I explore aural topography by walking.  It is the physical connection with the place, the kind of foot-to-the-ground connection that cannot be made from a moving vehicle, that brings me in contact with sound.  I seek to record and experience sounds and to observe how a place creates, shapes and offers sound to those that pass through it.  I seek to understand how the fabric of sound clothes the spirit of the place, and how both sound and ground bring joy to the freedom of movement.

Aural Topography, Walk

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.

Aural Topography, Tehran, Grand Bazaar
Tehran Grand Bazaar - Raheleh Filsoofi
Tajrish Bazaar
Tajrish Bazaar - Raheleh T. Filsoofi
Timche - Tehran Grand Bazaar - Raheleh Filsoofi
Aural Topography, Timche at Tehran Grand Bazaar
Jomeh Bazzar
Jomeh Bazaar - Raheleh Filsoofi
Shah Bazaar
Shah Bazaar - Raheleh Filsoofi
Kashan, Bazaar
Kashan Bazaar - Raheleh Filsoofi
Isfehan Bazaar
Isfahan Gand Bazaar - Raheleh Filsoofi
Kerman Bazaar
Kerman Grand Bazaar - Raheleh Filsoofi

Aural Topography - Walking the Longest Street of Middle East

Walking the Longest Street of Middle East

Valiasr Street is the longest street located in the Middle East and it is located in the heart of Tehran. The length of the street is 20 kilometers. It is the primary axis that joins the cool mountain districts above the city with the hot, southern reaches out on the plain.  It is the confluence of people and the sound of their incessant activities on a daily basis.  In 2015 I walked this street from one end to the other recording these sounds, in order to capture the complexities and contradictions of the many things that go on in the city.   Old and new come together in ways that are repetitive and yet new each day.  It is that fabric of sound that clothes the spirit of the city, and I attempt to explore each thread and the weave that binds them at the same time. The walk itself was also the symbol of remembrance and stability. A symbolic gesture and performative act with an aesthetic creativity, which spontaneously and legally celebrates the appropriation of public space to make a great statement on peace and stability, which we strive in the Middle East. The street becomes a symbol and the walk is the medium.

Aural Topography , Valiasr Street, The longest street of Middle East
Walking the Longest Street of Middle East - Raheleh Filsoofi
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