The Art of Noise

For many urban dwellers, tussling with a wall of urban noise is a zero-sum game: Either submit to the discordant city orchestra of bleating horns and wailing sirens or, as Jamie Lauren Keiles suggested in the New York Times Magazine, stock up on disposable foam earplugs in an effort to seal a membrane between self and sound. With little nubs stuffed in your ears, she wrote, “everything is the same as before except thrillingly dampened.” Faced with the prospect of some muddied,...

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