Rhythms of Rota: Jordanna Ibghy’s Sonic Journey through Urban Landscapes

In the picturesque coastal town of Rota, Spain, artist-in-residence Jordanna Ibghy spearheaded an innovative project called “Soundscapes.” This endeavor not only transformed the urban landscape into a rich tapestry of sounds but also encouraged residents and visitors to engage with their surroundings in new and profound ways. Through her work, Ibghy explored the essence of urban walking and its impact on our sensory experiences, challenging us to reconsider our daily movements through the “soundscapes of everyday life”.

At its core, “Soundscapes” was more than just an auditory exploration; it was a holistic study of Rota’s unique sonic landscape as an expression of its urban, cultural, and economic identity. By creating site-specific sonic choreographies, Ibghy sought to document and express the sequence of sounds that define a city’s musical score. According to Ibghy, “every city has a sonic identity, and the procession through a city can be seen as a kind of sonic landscape composition”.

Image courtesy: Jordanna Ibghy

Ibghy’s approach to this research is deeply rooted in her personal philosophy towards movement within urban settings. She shares, “I am a walker. I walk for the pleasure of walking, to discover new places, and sometimes as a meditation.” Her passion for wandering on foot is evident in her work, which uses rhythm as both a medium and guide for discovering oneself amidst urban chaos.

The essence of “Soundscapes” lies in its ability to cultivate an embodied understanding among participants. Through silent walking tours designed by Ibghy, individuals were encouraged to tune into their surroundings more acutely than ever before. These walks served as both cognitive exercises and sensory experiences that prompted participants to map their city not through visual cues but through sounds that usually fade into the background noise of daily life.

Accompanying these silent tours was an exhibition where visitors could listen to recorded soundscapes from various journeys through Rota. This component emphasized listening as a form of cognitive mapping—where sound becomes the primary navigational tool through which one understands space. It challenged conventional perceptions that prioritize sight over other senses in experiencing urban landscapes.

Image courtesy: Jordanna Ibghy

Central to understanding “Soundscapes” is grasping how walking constitutes an everyday urban experience that shapes our sense of place. Ibghy’s project underscores walking as not merely functional but as critical to designing responsive urban walkscapes that cater to human sensibilities rather than mere transit needs. Drawing from extensive literature on urban walking and theories related to the development of a sense of place through pedestrian movement, “Soundscapes” presents itself as both an artistic endeavor and scholarly research.

This exploration into sound’s role in mapping memories and spaces suggests that our engagement with cities can be much richer when we allow ourselves to be guided by the nuances of city life. Such perspective shifts promise deeper connections with our environments—turning routine commutes into opportunities for discovery and reflection.

Image courtesy: Jordanna Ibghy

Jordanna Ibghy’s initiative is compelling for its dedication to engaging communities directly through accessible yet thought-provoking art. By weaving her personal philosophy, such as her meditative approach to walking, into her work, Jordanna Ibghy creates a profound connection between her artistic vision and the daily lives of her audience. The project aimed to immerse the public into the soundscape of daily life, encouraging a deeper awareness of the subtle elements that make up the places that we co-inhabit.

Image courtesy: Manny Inoa


Tags: Jordanna Ibghy, Rota, sensory experiences, Soundscapes, urban landscapes, urban walking

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