Work Places - Places for creation, purpose and expression of self
Work places can be loosely defined as the locations where we develop individual purpose for our lives; what we create and how we distinguish ourselves from others in the context of our societies. These places require focus and concentration on some intentional act. The sounds of the workplace are the sounds of intention:
"...Generating all of this paper takes some doing in itself. There is really no big incentive to streamline paperwork with the use of electronically generated copies, so carbon paper and manual typewriters are still quite common in Mexico. The United States has moved away from carbon copies, so it is becoming hard to remember that it requires a good deal of force to imprint a triplicate carbon copy on a typewriter; and when you get into four or five layers, it really takes some pounding. I hadn't given this too much though until I went to a fishing administration bureau to get a fishing license a few years back. Once I had received the quintuplicate forms, and the proper outline was determined by the licensing agent, I had to take the package down to the typing pool to get it typed up.
"As I descended the stairs I became aware of a deep thundering vibration in the air. Once I reached the proper floor, I felt the floor shaking. When I opened the solid wooden door to the typing pool I was met with an incredibly loud pounding environment where perhaps thirty women were all hammering out quintuplicate documents on manual typewriters. It was too loud to communicate, let alone think - I suspect the noise level exceeded 100 dB - akin to a heavy machine shop or a forge. I handed my pile of paper to the desk clerk and just stood there, stunned, gawking, jaw hanging open..."
"...In the midst of the battle to save the last of our old growth redwood forests, a group of logging interests and preservationists came together in the California town of Quincy. The called themselves the "Quincy Library Group" on account of their choosing to meet in the public library. This strategy was employed to keep the otherwise violently adversarial groups from shouting at each other out of consideration for library protocol..."
"...What I do know about Jail and Prisons is not pleasant. Jails are designed to humiliate, prisons are designed to de-humanize. Neither of these facilities really have any sound absorptive material anywhere except for bunks and bodies. Concrete and steel are the norm. The higher security the facility, the more hard and reflective the surfaces. In prisons there is no personal autonomy because personal sounds get immediately lost in the cacophony of the personal sounds of the other inmates. Any sounds of affirmation that an individual utters - such as a whoop or a cry - is done so at the obvious expense of everybody else in the space.
"There are many levels of coded communication throughout a prison by way of whoops, tapping on plumbing or walls, or rattling of the cage. The pervasive sounds of steel doors opening and closing is an incessant reminder that people are locked in. Periodically throughout the day there are "concerts" of steel doors and gates being slammed closed for "countdown," when all inmates are returned to their cells for a head count. Inmates are issued soft rubber slippers or permitted to wear soft sport shoes only. The reasoning behind this has to do with not allowing prisoners hard shoes with which they could damage each other; but there is an added affect to this precaution - the inmates can't hear their own walking, diminishing their sense of placement in their surroundings as they move around.
"There is another very eerie sound occurring in prisons which I have been told about. It is a collective wail or moan that all inmates participate in when someone is being killed by other inmates. This wail is generated by the internal fear of the inmates, knowing that what is constantly just below the surface is oozing forth. It is done to hide the location of the act. It is done as a cry of solidarity. It is done to release pain..."