Bodies in motion

After two weeks of warm up, followed by seventeen days of recovery, came the real olympics, where applause and cheers were offered up for personal life triumphs, rather than for just winning on the track. The ordinary Olympics prepared the way, and put people in the mood for the Power-olympics.

The other mood clinchers for me on a balmy Saturday morning at the Olympic stadium were the sounds.

The inevitable commentator solicited audience enthusiasm, occasional music burst from the ample speakers suspended from the canopy, and over sixty thousand bodies roared and clapped.

The silences too had an effect: including the momentary quiet that followed the request at the start of the men’s 100m T11 semi finals — so the visually impaired runners would be sure to hear the starter pistol.

The next day we were positioned at the corner of Cornhill and Gracechurch Street for the marathon. The drumming in front of Leadenhall Market Arcade tugged at the viscera, nudging the spectators into readiness. First came the escort cars and motorbikes, then three-wheeled racers appeared from nowhere and turned the bend within inches of outstretched arms and cameras.

Sports can be moving after all, which is what bodies do, however they are assisted.


See Accidental people, Panoptic man, Mad crowds disease, E-motion.
“Athletes who are blind compete in Class 11. They are permitted to run with a sighted guide. Field athletes in this class are also permitted the use of acoustic signals (voice, electronic, clapping etc) in the 100m, long jump and triple jump. Class 13 athletes have more useful sight than Class 12 athletes.” Anon. 2007. The London 2012 Guide to the Paralympic Games. London: London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games and Paralympic Games Ltd, p.44 PDF


  1. Tianying Chu says:

    After reading this blog, I have several viewpoints about sounds.
    Firstly, I would like to discuss the effects of sounds on people’s emotion in sports meeting. Definitely, the cheers of audience give these disabled athletes great courage and power of progress. Even if in failure, the applause they obtain also lets them no longer feel failure and stick it out. It is obvious that sounds can influence human’s emotion and it inspires people’s strength and confidence. So we can use our sounds to show our carefulness and love to others. I can’t agree with more about the opinion that “the silences too had an effect” in this blog because I believe it is a way to express care although we give silences.
    Then, let us call back the situation about sounds in our daily life that impact our emotions. Every morning I hear the sounds of the road construction, I will feel a vague fidgety. Sounds performance a state of people’s life and every city has its own sounds. I remember in the class, we watched a video about the matter that a girl carries a recording equipment to record the sounds beside her. It is interesting and meaningful.

  2. Eleni Mitsi says:

    I find very interesting the production of live sounds when it is created by moving bodies interacting in real time and the difference between recorded sounds of the same place. Live sounds are temporary and always in a state of change (Raffaseder 2007). But it is completely different when it comes to a recorded sound. A recorded sound can bring on the surface a memory of a place or even excite our imagination for place which we have never visited before. It can provoke nostalgia. A recorded sound can also be commercialized product. The majority of our audio experience (Augoyard, McCartney, 2006) consists of “still sound” and most of the times it is close to authenticity. However, when it comes to spaces and places I believe that recorded sounds can hardly mirror the constantly changing character which is taking place in real time.

    Goethe said that “architecture is frozen music” (Goethe 1829). This definition implies that sound embodies a liquid form. So the recorded sounds of places can never be the same as the sounds of the place itself. They can be tags and implications of space but they do not tell us what that place sounds like now. In our time we rarely pay attention to live sounds around us (Schafer 1977) as we do to the recorded ones. Thus, to experience liquid – live sound today is more special than it ever was to Goethe. Interactive – digital tools make an effort to bring recorded sounds back into liquid form through the process of accessing the data such as jumping to different parts of the recorded sound randomly or through some composed strategy (Roads 2001). If we embed these processes in a live context we can construct an exciting dynamic performance, which is not neither frozen architecture nor a liquid music. They can be regarded as fractured and shard of sound.

    I believe that we can produce different forms of sounds such as the previous one, but I am convinced that there will never be a way to produce the authentic character of a place which is created by the moving bodies as it is created in real time.

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