Sound controls

Artist works with Richmond residents to tell community stories through sound

Armed with a shotgun mic, recorder and headphones, Richmond residents create their stories with the sounds of the city – with the help of a filmmaker.

Sebnem Ozpeta is one of Richmond’s engaging artists in the community this year, and she’s partnered with Walk Richmond and the Richmond Fitness and Wellness Association to host Sound Walk workshops for her public art project, WALK .

“The idea is to collaborate with members of the community.

“As an artist… it really is sometimes a challenge that you just don’t have full control over. But over the years, I think I started to like that component of my job,” Ozpeta said.

Community is very important to the Vancouver filmmaker, and she hopes to bring Richmond residents together and encourage them to get out and explore.

“Participants just bring their headphones and they just plug in. And we start recording,” Ozpeta said.

By giving participants professional sound equipment, she hopes they can start thinking about what it means to listen and understand how they are part of the sounds of the city.

Each workshop begins with a crash course in sounds and sound recording. After walking around and recording sounds to their liking, participants can share their stories and reflect on their experiences.

With their permission, Ozpeta would then return to the venue another day and film 360-degree videos to accompany the attendees’ stories.

Ozpeta hosted the first workshop at Garden City Park in June, and so far she’s collected four stories from participants.

“One of the stories is to compare with where [the participant] comes — the sound, for example — and how it’s different,” she said.

“It’s really up to you to create this safe place where people can connect… I live with them too, don’t I? It’s not [just] myself going and recording the “best” sound. That’s why I really appreciate it,” she said.

The stories from the first workshop paired with interactive 360-degree videos will be uploaded to the project website after being edited. Upon completion of the project, Ozpeta hopes to provide a glimpse of what the Richmond community looks like right now.

“It’s not just the sound of the location. It’s the collaboration of who lives here or who goes here… The stories are simple… But I think it’s important to have these stories,” she explained.

Follow the WALK storytelling project on the project website. Those interested in participating can register for Ozpeta’s next workshop at Horseshoe Slough on July 13 at 9 a.m.