Viewfinder: The Silence of Denali National Park

“The Silence of Denali National Park” is a clip from the upcoming film In Pursuit of Silence, which explores our relationship with silence and the impact of noise pollution on our lives, which the World Health Organization considers a serious health threat.

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The clip begins with a wide shot of Denali National Park in Alaska and “34 dB” at the bottom right of the screen. For reference, 30 dB (decibels) is about as quiet as a whisper in the library from 6 inches away, while a telephone dial tone is approximately 80 dB. This tremendous wilderness is utterly quiet and free of highway or construction sounds. Davyd Betchkal, a soundscape technician, walks through the white landscape and records the soft noises from the crunch of snow to the wind. He says the still environment “gives you this incredible sense of space, this openness”.

It’s a glimpse of a much greater project, named “In Pursuit of Silence”. The meditative film seeks to examine our relationship with sound and the impact of loud noises on our lives. People rarely notice the overbearing presence of noise around them, to the point where silence is considered awkward. The World Health Organization considers noise pollution a serious threat that can cause many short- and long-term health problems. You can see more information on this film on their Kickstarter page.

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