Urban Art House asks: How can the sounds of a city tell a story about its people?
Mohsen Shahrnazdar answers: Streets, traffic, cafes and restaurants, factories in the suburbs, voices, speeding cars, their horns, construction, and music in public spaces–underground in the metro and above on the streets–all weave into the sounds of nature to create an audio labyrinth, the cacophony fuses into one distinct sound.

The sound of Tehran is unique and special. In this city, the buzz of an industrial metropolis reverberates alongside sounds that have inhabited this city for centuries. Peddlers, mosques and bazaars–they have all given and continue to give Tehran its characteristic sound, with its twists and turns. It, like the population and society, changes often and abruptly.

In this recording, you will hear the voice of Summer 2012. It is an audial image of a flâneur’s experience in Tehran–using public transport, on the metro, on a bus, in taxis (with their special Iranian flair), in a castle, at a restaurant, in holy shrines, parks, bird shops, old markets, and traditional coffeehouses.

Trendy cafes and restaurants brimming with modern, fashionable youth lounge a short five hundred steps from the shrines and traditional locales frequented by the now aging generations. This recording encapsulates the sounds of Tehran’s co-existence, of this city’s intense cultural and social differences thriving and rubbing against one another.

Photos by Roozbeh Shahrestani.