Welcome to the second issue of Curious Quarterly. Where the first issue tackled the theme of Collections, this issue we explore the theme of Noise.
I am very pleased to be guest-editing this exploration. Noise gets a bad rap when perceived only as irritation. But what if, instead, we consider Noise as a signature of multiple voices and creative inclusion. Noise in this context makes one take notice.
Here at the Royal BC Museum, our fundamental mandate is to tell the natural and human history stories of British Columbia. That’s a lot of stories to tell, and, let’s face it, the sheer volume can create quite a bit of ruckus, an environment ripe for creative and thoughtful story-telling.
At the same time, the pervasive noise in today’s media-driven society can also deaden our creativity, by obstructing our ability to slow down, contemplate, and make connections. Museums, as contemplative spaces, can function both as a respite from noise, as well as a place to explore it. Curious Quarterly gives us an expanded opportunity to do just that.
The articles in this edition are historical (see An Ominous Noise), archival (see The Right Kind of Noise and Brother XII and Visual Noise), relational (see The Pride of the Drumbeat and Marrying a Museum Curator), botanical (see Trembling Aspen), related to memory (see Insomnia at the Museum and Amplifying Discord), connected to upcoming exhibitions (see Finding the Words), inspired by intangible heritage (see Museums and Memory), regarding fieldwork (see Cascading Carcasses and Tracking Singing Insects and Across the Bering Strait), about the sounds in the galleries and in the photography studio (see Making Rounds, Negotiating Sounds and Leaf Shutters), and even about something you might make with a soldering iron (see Sound Objects) …many different approaches but all with a sonic sensibility.
Interspersed between the articles is a selection of BC’s punk and new wave bands of the 1970’s and 1980’s –when music was unapologetically noisy– compiled from the BC Archives by Archivist Michael Carter. We are pleased to dust off these recordings and let them pop through the issue. Also check out our playlist of a sample of the featured bands.
Your sonic journey for this edition of Curious Quarterly though begins with a sound-map, created by Rob Anderson, that travels the public and non-public spaces of the Royal BC Museum.