Listening in/for Ekbatan
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acoustic ecology
social change
urban planning


This article develops through dialogues between a poet, English teacher, and musician based in Ekbatan, Iran, and a sound artist and anthropologist based in Wakefield, England. These dialogues center on a listening in/for the town of Shahrak-e Ekbatan, Tehran, Iran and aim to situate it according to its material structure and sonic ecology. In June, 2021, the authors listened to and recorded Ekbatan every day for about an hour around sunset. This text provides (auto-) ethnographic reflections on the soundscape of Ekbatan via original field recordings and interviews, and through discussions of shared memories from an autobiographical perspective. By analyzing first-hand accounts and recordings, the authors also meditate on noticeable changes within the soundscape and discuss their social-political and economic underpinnings. Ekbatan is a planned town, located near the western borders of the Iranian capital Tehran. For the authors—current and former residents of Ekbatan—it represents a prototypical utopic neighborhood; its cold and robust façades offer warm interiorities; its spatial organization creates liminal spaces that manifest disalienation, community, and collective identity.
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Copyright (c) 2023 Hadi Bastani, Navid Soltani