Ketki Mudholkar is an Urban Designer at HawkinsBrown
The best part about living in London, in my view, is the way it really comes alive in the summer. The long days punctuated with sounds that feel distinctly of this place – from the chatter of unfamiliar tongues on the overground, to the co-ordinated harmony of a gospel choir hidden from view, to the background hum of people in the park interrupted by the regular sound of opening beer cans.
The past year has not only reined in this dynamic experience of London, but it has also prevented us from sharing these experiences with each other. The lockdown has allowed us to get to know the daily melodies of our neighbours, while also becoming increasingly in tune with voices from around the world through digital platforms. Yet, the last few weeks of getting out and about has slowly reminded me exactly why I live here. The overwhelming excitement of the arrival of summer combined with the much-awaited easing of restrictions has been the light at the end of the tunnel of a long and dark winter. I can not wait to once again be physically and mentally exhausted by this city.
It is through the revival of these familiar yet curious sounds that we can participate in the process of refamiliarizing with each other and the city – a sure sign of people slowly coming back together.
Explore the architecture of social housing in North London including Highgate New Town and Lismore Circus in Gospel Oak through deep listening, mapping and playing with artist Alisa Oleva.
Take a walk through the varied landscape of Deptford for Deptford X Festival, which includes a community art trail, a festival fringe and other commissions across the area, as well as a collaboration with AAJA radio to provide the soundtrack to your journey.
Any such list would be remiss if it did not encourage a visit to the Serpentine Pavilion, designed by Johannesburg-based Counterspace, directed by Sumayya Vally. It pays homage to existing and erased places that have held communities over time, such as the East London Mosque and the famous Mangrove Restaurant in Notting Hill. They will be running a programme of sound commissions, workshops, education packs and listening sessions will offer ways of listening to the city together.
Rich Mix will be hosting Shubbak Festival, celebrating contemporary Arab arts and culture from 5th July – 17th July. I am particularly excited for Fierce Voices, which features a phenomenal range of London-based Arab female DJs, spoken word poets, music and rap artists.
Continuing the aural journey, head over to Greenwich or the Royal Docks and let Larry Achiampong’s audio artworks labelled ‘Sanko-time’ accompany you on a round-trip on the cable cars. Threaded with a powerful narrative about the legacy of colonialism from Achiampong, Sanko-time is a hypnotic synthesis of poetry, field recordings and music.
And if all this is not enough to overwhelm the senses. The ever-reliable folk at 180 The Strand are hosting the largest exhibition of Ryoji Ikeda’s work ever staged, a multi-sensory exploration of light and sound.