Capturing the Din

When I was in grade school, I had created a new hobby -  When I was in a room busy with discussion, I would record bits and pieces from the surrounding conversations.  I forced myself to be automatic.  I only ever wrote words chosen at random.  I didn't pick and choose what to write or not to write, I would just hone in on any sentence and write it down.  Whatever seemed loudest in my ear

The result would look something like this:

No I never said that its not even a paper what did she say it was the last one in to the got a new hair color she's so stupid skiing last week what the **** its not like I cared no and my fist was like embedded in his skull like this

It would go on like this for pages and pages, a jumbled mess of words. 
That's just a made up one.. except for the last sentence. 

My goal was to visually convey the confusion of noise. When you're in a room full of people, you're able to sift through the sounds and focus on one person speaking, even though there are dozens of people speaking around you.  I was somewhat fascinated by this.  I wanted to experiment with suppressing the filtering process, and to get an essence of the student body's mind.

I lost all of my records but for some reason I remember that one sentence.  It was a boy named Paul, fourth grade in Mrs. Pernell's class, and he was describing to his friend "my fist was embedded in his skull, like this..."  bragging about some fight he had been in, I suppose.  That stuck out in my mind.  Other things stuck out too.  I would look back to my records and see that most of the conversations were made up of violence, materialism, and gossip.  I stopped listening eventually and learned to block all of the noise.

EolianDeparting EolianDeparting
1 Response Feb 7, 2009

That's a really interesting exercise... though I find your ultimate conclusion sad. Those snatches of conversation probably were really indicative of the sad state of humanity, even at that age.