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Environment, Space, Place

Volume 7, Issue 1, Spring 2015

Katrina Simon
Pages 28-46

Re-casting the Past: Re-instating Once Broken and Tuneless Bells and the Recalling of Past Urban Landscapes

Th is paper explores the perception of urban landscapes through sound, using two case studies of cities where bells played a significant role in the city, where a particular dramatic event silenced these bells, and where the act of remaking broken or tuneless bells re-creates an engagement with the lived places of the past. At Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris, newly cast bells recreate the melodious peal last heard before the French Revolution, and ChristChurch Cathedral in Christchurch, New Zealand, bells damaged by destructive earthquakes of 2011 will eventually ring out their familiar tones in an urban landscape that is physically almost unrecognisable. Both case studies demonstrate the ways that the inadvertent and the deliberate transformation of soundscapes continually interacts with ideas of place and meaning within the constantly changing city.

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