‘Night Swimmer’ is created from field-recordings of nocturnal swims and paddles made during the summer of 2013 in Ontario’s Georgian Bay. As evening would fade into night, the athropophony and biophony tended to become muted; this resulted in a significantly increased signal to noise ratio, or what acoustic ecologist R Murray Schafer describes as a transformation into a ‘hi-fi environment’. This expanded sonic horizon – coupled with a reduced amount of visual information – encouraged a heightened focus on the act of listening: the manner in which landscape filters and reflects sound became significantly more perceptible and I often found myself in an acousmatic space in which most of what was heard could not actually be seen. In this intensified state of acoustic awareness, one can perhaps detect a more primal way of responding to our environment, an echo of a past that predates the primacy of the visual.
‘Berlin Anamnetic’ is the outcome of a two-month residency at Berlin’s ZK/U (Centre for Art and Urbanistics). It seeks to integrate the ‘real’ acoustic soundscape with the embodied, imagined soundtrack evoked by a particular time and place.
The working process for this series involved long walks, generally from the outlying regions of Berlin to the city centre; these were documented via audio recordings, photos, and notes. Particular attention was placed on locations of emotional resonance, whether the source of this resonance was historical, personal or serendipitous. The associated sound files were then subjected to extensive spectral processing, melding the mnemonic soundtrack (usually overheard pop songs or earworms) with the real (diegetic) soundtrack. As such, sounds were structured in a quasi-painterly fashion rather than arranged in a more conventional linear time-line (i.e. in a DAW such as Ableton, etc.). Correspondingly, the pieces that comprise ‘Berlin Anamnetic’ also seek to adopt a narrative form that is textural and emotive, eschewing typical narrative structure for something that is more akin to the body’s ‘real’ movement through a landscape.
I’ll be participating in a discussion about sound + space…over brunch: