Coop Fountain at Pomona Friday, 14 October 2018, 3:15 pm


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Location: Front of Coop Fountain. Located in the first floor of the Smith Campus Center. Pomona College, Claremont, CA. The TASCAM DR-40 Sound Recorder was placed on a table located at the front of the establishment and near the kitchen section of the establishment.

About the soundscape: Located at the heart of the Smith Campus Center, the Coop Fountain is a must-hear aspect of Pomona College that all visitors of the College are recommended to visit and enjoy. The student-run restaurant has been supplying Pomona with food and employment opportunities for years, and has played an integral role in supporting its culture, throughout that time. For instance, there have been many times where I was forced to seek out the eatery’s services. I have spent many moments in the Coop Fountain to both eat and study, and for this reason, I thought it would be interesting to record what a typical afternoon sounded like at the restaurant.

I arrived at the Fountain at about 3:15 p.m. in the afternoon and the first sound that was most distinguishable to me was the music. The student workers are in charge of supplying the dinery with music through their phones and an AUX cord. As “Wake Up” from Travis Scott’s Astroworld album sounded through the eatery, I looked around the cafe for an open seat and set up my laptop at one of the booths. After taking a moment to hear other sounds, I looked around at the walls of the establishment. As the doors opened and closed, the metallic sound as the pull of air rushed through became more noticeable the more I focused on them. In conjunction with the sounds of doors, the background noise of the Coop Fountain was marked by the sizzle of the stove, the murmuring of the air conditioning vent, the general chattering of the student workers and restaurant customers, and the squeezing, airy sound of the cushion of the booth seats as people sat in them. All of the sounds were initially masked by the sound of the music playing and did not become immediately apparent to me until I started looking around and focused on others.

Due to the music being so loud, it became apparent to me that it was meant to be the aspect of the restaurant that attracted people, characterizing it as the signal of the establishment. While I initially characterized the sound of the doors as keynote sounds; after reflecting and even before noticing the sound itself, I noticed how my eyes would automatically shift and glance over at the doors as soon as I heard them open, in order to see who would be entering the establishment. Thus, I would also argue that I am consciously listening to the sounds of the doors, characterizing them as an additional signal sound. Although none of the sounds in the Coop Fountain were clearly manufactured by the natural environment, I would characterize all of the components that contributed to the background noise as the keynote sounds of the restaurant. This includes the sounds of the people air conditioner, general kitchenware and seats.

Other sounds that I expected to hear more clearly included the sounds of footsteps and the sounds of plates and kitchen utensils being used. While I could not consciously define those sounds, the sounds that I was able to distinguish intrigued me and all contributed to the feel of the establishment.

While the actual recording of the Coop Fountain was fairly similar to my observation, there were a few differences. The actual recording of the soundscape was marked by the chatter of the customers, the general sounds of kitchenware, the sound of the doors closing, and the music of the establishment. Additional sounds included a footstep (2:57) and sounds from a faucet (or another instrument of liquid dispersion) of some sort (5:42). I could not distinctly hear the sounds air conditioning vent or the booth seats, which may have been present but masked due to the increase in the amount of people from the time in which I originally wrote about my examination of the soundscape. Under the context of the recording, both the music and the sound of people talking were the most notable (and attractive) aspects of the soundscape, making them both appear to be signals. With the other miscellaneous sounds, I would again regard them as keynote sounds in the fact that they formed the background of the soundscape.