March 2, 2019 11:00 AM - 2:00 PM

Saturday, March 2, 11am-2pm
$30 for nonmembers, $25 for members
Register at:
Space is limited!

MOCA Tucson invites you to join a soundwalk through the urban ecosystems of downtown Tucson’s streets, washes, gardens, and parks. Led by local field recordist David Dearmore, this hike will aim to hone participants’ ability to discriminate between the multitudes of signals which buffet the ear of the city dweller, through a combination of “naked-ear” and amplified listening.

Soundwalking is a practice of constantly renewed awareness that can elicit dramatic change in an individual’s perception of their environment. Raised in an almost exclusively visual society, it can be difficult for many of us to open ourselves to a broader sensory range; the simple act of listening intentionally becomes radical in its ability to run against dominant cultural narratives. As Tucson neighborhoods continue to gentrify, how can a sonic dimension inform our understanding of what is being lost and what may take its place? As Tucson faces the impacts of a climate in flux, can acoustic surveys of its habitats become part of a citizens’ toolkit for reconciliation with our “wild” neighbors?

Beginning at MOCA, our group will move steadily along a predetermined route, listening carefully for patterns and eruptions in the soundscapes we pass through. The key here it to expect to be surprised—soundwalks are marked by their accommodation of the unpredictable as well as their participatory nature. At any point on the route, participants may elect to stop and focus in on a particular sound using their bare ear or a set of microphones and recorders (provided), as well as any personal equipment. On returning to the museum, participants will receive a ‘zine compiled by Dearmore outlining soundwalking practice, field recording principles, and other resources.

NOTES: many of the areas we cross may not be wheelchair accessible

Participants are encouraged to bring their own recording gear, though some will be provided. A mobile and relatively cheap introductory microphone can be found here that can be plugged into iPhones.

Thrift stores/used electronics shops/eBay are a good bet for cheap gear. Like with photography, plenty of good recording (and more importantly, listening) can still be done with subpar equipment.


David Dearmore is a young man constantly rewriting his own curriculum. Born and raised in Tucson, he dropped out of high school in hopes of piecing together (on an individual basis, for now) the “school-without-walls” found in cities around the globe: a network of craftspeople, neighbors, museums, and other such “resources” revolving around a central ethic of self-actualization and autonomy. Since then, David has provided a helping hand at local printshops, makerspaces, cafes, laboratories, libraries, and farms. In his view, citizens must reclaim the competence and awareness of their ancestors in conjunction with modern techniques. Without an agile populace that can begin again to read their surroundings, the full range of solutions to a changing world’s issues cannot be realized. In this, Dearmore sees field recording as a useful tool—one with reunites art and science, carried along by the visceral sensory experience of an amplified world that refused to be tuned out.