Listening To The City is an experimental, reality-based meta-narrative of the urban experience constructed from fragments of overheard conversations and visuals of extraordinary moments in Toronto's public spaces. Currently in production with generous support from the Canada Council, Ontario Arts Council, Toronto Arts Council and the Liaison of Independent Filmmakers of Toronto.
Using a process-based approach, and inspired by verbatim theatre, fragments of diverse overheard conversations will be transcribed and edited to create a cohesive narrative. Visuals that capture quiet instances of magic in the everyday will be shot separately and (of subjects different than what is being recorded on audio) on a variety of formats and combined with the audio in post. The narration will be recorded by many different voices and underscored by an evocative soundscape. The visuals will be manipulated to have many textures and fluidly interwoven with the sound design to create a compelling metanarrative of human experience in the urban context.
We live in strange times. Increasingly, what we choose to consume for entertainment are stories that in the recent past would have been considered extremely private: the intimate details of famous strangers lives and the ubiquitous schadenfreude-soaked chronicles of reality television.
Meanwhile, those of us who live or work in large urban centres are surrounded by millions of wondrous stories every day. Our sense of private space has shifted; people now talk about their innermost lives freely in public spaces, but many of us find the cacophony overwhelming. We block out the crowded realities of the people around us with our iPod headphones while sending texts or updating our Facebook status.
These tenuous social networks give us the illusion of connection, but behind our mobile screens, surrounded by millions of other people, we are more disconnected from one another than ever before.
Perhaps when we overhear fragments of private conversations in public spaces some essence lingers, wrapping around our consciousness and imprinting these narratives onto our collective soul in subtle ways, connecting us to the larger collective unconscious of the social organism. What would happen if we tuned into this frequency and really listened?