Hilton Soundscape: internet-based sound art

Peter John Stollery (Producer)

Research output: Non-textual formWebsite, Blog, Social Media


In August 2003, the School of Education at the University of Aberdeen moved from its Hilton campus in Aberdeen to the refurbished MacRobert Building in King’s College, Aberdeen. Shortly before we flitted, I emailed members of staff to ask if there were any sounds (loved and not so loved), that they would like me to preserve through recording before the buildings on the campus were pulled down. I wanted to create what R. Murray Schafer calls a sound romance - any past or disappearing sound remembered nostalgically, particularly when idealised or otherwise given special importance. Many such sounds were often regarded as unimportant when actually current; yet later, hearing them may trigger strong memories. Clicking on the pins on the map allows you to listen to the sounds and re-imagine, through memory, the locations they once belonged to. You can also make a comment on the sound, reflecting on memories that it might evoke. With the Historical Imagery function selected (View >Historical Imagery), you can move through the timeline to the present day and view The Campus Executive Housing Development which replaced the old buildings. However, you can still access the sounds recorded in 2003. The next stage of the project, 15 years later, is to record new sounds as near as possible to the location of the originals and place them on the map, providing a kind of sonic archaeology. In the future, these houses may need to make way for a new road, or large TescRose Ultramarket development - perhaps someone will record a new bunch of sounds and put them on the map too. Schafer also talks about Museums for Disappearing Sounds - ...I have many sound memories which are no longer to be heard (milk bottles, steam whistles, bicycle bells, horseshoes being tossed against a metal spike)...We listen back and notice how much has slipped away unperceived. Where? Where are the museums for disappearing sounds? (The Tuning of the World, Schafer 1974). Through sound maps like this, we can preserve sounds, or at least copies of them, in a way that allows them to be re-visited, like a photograph, but in a different way; with sound’s strong link to memory, they can take people to places in ways that sight is not able to.
Original languageEnglish
Media of outputOnline
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2018


Dive into the research topics of 'Hilton Soundscape: internet-based sound art'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this