Rhythm Analysis

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Traffic islands are filled with histories, sounds, sights and movements…a cacophony of relations and possibilities.  Spend a moment on an island, listen, look, learn about the history, about these spaces all over the place. There is much to see in the Islands of LA Nat’l Park. This is just what we did tonight.  A small group of us gathered on an island in Glassell Park – Ismail, Maryam, Eva, Ari.  Some of us have visited this location before and one person went to school around the corner from here.

The event was led by artist and urban geographer, Ismail Farouk, who was here from Johannesburg on a fellowship with the MAK Center that is called the Urban Futures Initiative.  Several years ago, Ismail came up with a methodology he calls a Rhythm Analysis for learning about a place.  It involves spending time in different parts of a place observing, reflecting and interweaving the various perspectives.  It creates a tapestry that brings together history, an understanding of social, economic and political dynamics with the sights and sounds, and relations of a place into a picture of the here, the present moment.

The advantage of this is it includes the complexity of history with what is right in front of us.  An active showing of the now.  We played with this methodology for a couple of hours, just a brief experience of this approach but one that left an impression.

After discussions of history, class, economics, population we engaged in layers of listening.  How can we listen?  We can listen and write a word.  Listen again, for duration…and now, listen for relationship, dominance, which sounds continue and which are brief, sharp, dull.  And what is the implication?  The tempo?

Look.  Have I looked the way I just listened?  Write what you see.  Look again.  Write. And again.  Write and now write a a sentence, a paragraph, a poem, a text.  Do this over and over, for periods of time and different spots.  As this collects, the analysis forms.

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