SOUNDCITYVE - Archaeology of the sound landscape: a sensitive restoring of the Sounds of the past in the City of Lyon (2017)

Scientific coordinator: Véronique Eglin (LIRIS)
Subjects: Computer science – Architecture – History – Linguistics – Information and Communication Science
Laboratories: LIRIS – EVS – ISH – ELICO – ICAR – LHC
Partners: Lyon city library – Lyon city archives – Musées Gadagne – Archives of Le Rize


The SoundCITYve project addresses the very recent field of archaeology of the sound landscape, and aims to reconstruct the sound reality of selected neighbourhoods in the City of Lyon in the 18th and 19th centuries, periods in which we did not yet possess sound recordings, only accounts, images, maps, plans and notebooks on business and trading activity; disparate and heterogeneous sources of information containing a multitude of clues as to the sound atmosphere of the streets of the town. The project focuses in particular on the automisation and extraction of relevant information from primary sources based on two centrals tasks. The first task concerns the extraction of the terminological relationships (in their contexts of use) linking the sound clues and atmospheres for these periods, leading to the construction of a specialised terminological dictionary. The second task will involve the creation of a multimodel information research system based on the construction of mixed requests linking texts to images and enabling the mining of the heterogeneous collections of these primary sources made available by the project's practitioners.
The project will then seek to reconstruct in concrete terms the information discovered in these documentary sources in the form of sound extracts to immerse the observer (expert or otherwise) in the city atmosphere as it was in the target periods. This archaeological activity applied to the urban environment constitutes a veritable enrichment of the data and a step towards better sensitivity, apprehension and even understanding of history. It also gives rise to new, richer and original information formats combining physical media (through real noise and sound recordings) and virtual media (through composition work and the reconstitution of atmospheres).
The SoundCITYve project offers the City of Lyon the first chance to shed light on multidisciplinary activities seeking to create a new form of media and representation of its history. It forms part of a more general approach to heritage promotion and outreach, corresponding to the culture ministry's recommendations to the projects' practitioner partners. We hope that this project will prove the feasibility of this approach and will be transposable to other cities and European capitals, notably through a response to Horizon 2020 call for projects in the medium term.