seasonal sound walks

sonic coast sound weekseasonal sound walks: https://ridgewaysounds.wordpress.com/
The South Dorset Ridgeway Landscape Project, seasonal sound walks, offered the participants theexploring the local opportunity to experience Dorset’s beautiful landscape from a new perspective. The theme ‘open your ears and listen’* directed the walker/recordist to investigate the landscape and its subtle changes over the year. Highlighting Trevor Cox’s statement that ‘A soundwalk reveals that there are sounds in our everyday life, that if we choose to listen to them, will surprise us with their diversity and uniqueness’. ** The audio editing workshops that followed the walking day, passed on new skills that, by using ‘freeware’, a CD of their sounds and a workbook would give participants the choice to carry on editing their recordings. link to PDF booklet

Outcomes:
aporee maps – as part of theSDRLP-project-on-aporee workshop the recordists’ ‘field recordings’ were placed on aporee maps,*** a global sound map project initiated in 2006, with over 1,200 participants and 3,000 sounds (all of whom are informed when a ‘new’ sound is uploaded). http://aporee.org/maps/work/?loc=21470this was a totally

Soundcloudhttps://soundcloud.com/ridgewaysounds

DIVAcontemporary Radio – podcasts and live broadcasts as part of other studio projects Archived audio : Please contact info@divacontemporary.org.uk

open studios – incorporating still and moving image and ‘field recordings’. https://divacontemporary.org.uk/audio/rigewaysounds-autumn-walks-2013-open-studio8/

mandy-april-sunriseassociate artists practice – Mandy Rathbone has gone on to develop her practice, placing sound works on aporee maps, being inspired to walk the whole ridgeway to celebrate a ‘special’ birthday (Archived audio : Please contact info@divacontemporary.org.uk) and create the ‘MYSUNRISE’ project https://mysunriseproject.wordpress.com/.

Gabrielle Fry was so inspired by the seasonal sound walk she participated in, on her return to Australia she organised a series of sound walks for 4-12 year olds during the Easter vacation. https://divacontemporary.org.uk/2015/04/24/associate-artist-gabrielle-fry-sound-workshop-with-young-children-in-australia/.

app1 site visitSatsymph – potential inclusion in the South Dorset Ridgeway Landscape Partnership APPs.

When gathered together the archive of sounds filled 12 CDs and is now registered with the British Library Sound Archive, listed as one of the highlights of the collection, under the heading Natural Sounds. http://britishlibrary.typepad.co.uk/sound-and-vision/2015/04/creating-a-directory-of-uk-sound-collections-an-update.html

DIVAcontemporary sound walks:
I came hereThe seasonal sound walks project was conceived by DIVAcontemporary Studio based upon the experience, expertise and creative practice of the studio and its associate artists. Beginning in 2010 with ‘audiolab’ at The Salt House in West Bay https://divacontemporary.org.uk/audio/soundwalk1/ (PVA medialab), which subsequently took us to the Whitstable Biennale 2010/12/14. Along the way the studio has organised and led sound walks and listening walks regularly, as part of World Listening Day http://divacontemporary.org.uk/audio/coast-to-coast-whitstable-to-west-bay-wld2013/ , Climate week https://divacontemporary.org.uk/audio/climate-week-listening-walk-langdon-wood/ and recently International Dawn Chorus Day http://www.idcd.info/. Associate artists have had their work feature on a number of marcusfield recording and acoustic ecology downloads http://sonic-terrain.com/releases/str012/, as well as radio broadcasts on resonanceFM, Soundart Radio and framework radio (with a special edition dedicated to associate artist Joe Stevens) http://www.frameworkradio.net/2014/12/493-2014-12-21/.langdon wood walk

A Background to sound walks:
Sound walks, field recording and acoustic ecology is about our relationship, mediated through sound, with the environment. Starting in the late 1960s, when recording equipment became more portable, R. Murray Schafer, Barry Truax, Hildegard Westerkamp, Bruce Davies and Peter Huse started the World Soundscape Project at Simon Fraser University (Vancouver, Canada). The interest in this practice has grown enormously, based upon their pioneering and innovative project and acoustic ecology has raised interest from researchers and artiI enjoyedsts from all over the world.

Today it is studied, practiced and popularised by academics such as Professor Cathy Lane (CRiSAP, London), sound artist Bill Fontana (USA) http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/entertainment-arts-14970347 and sound recordist Chris Watson (BBC, UK). Sound art finally reached a UK audience in 2010 when Susan Philipsz won the Turner Prize with her soundwork ‘Lowlands’. The Turner Prize 2015 will bring sound art tobeing with people the fore again this year, with a newly commissioned work by the London based artist Janice Kerbel, ‘DOUG’ a musical composition for unaccompanied voice.

Susan Phportesham is prettyilipsz new soundwork ‘As Many As Will’ is at Hauser & Wirth Somerset until 21 June 2015. Janice Kerbel’s ‘DOUG’, will be at Glasgow’s Tramway from 1 October to 17 January 2016. And closer to the studio, Artangel, b-side and BBC R4 installed a new artwork by artist Katrina Palmer ‘The Loss Adjusters’ at 52 Easton Street, Portland until 28 June 2015 (extended and available for download as well as in Contemporary Projects: The Weight of Data at Tate Britain, until 25 October 2015). Over the last year mainstream television and radio has also joined the trend and offered up ‘acoustic’ programmes, such as ‘Tweet of the Day’, CountryFile’s ‘sounds of Spring’, an hour long television broadcast ‘Dawn Chorus: The Sounds of Spring’ on BBC4 TV and ‘Soundstage’  http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b05mt6m2 BBCR4 both with Chris Watson

Sound art is here to stay (John Kieffer :: The Guardian 7 May 2010)
Sound artist Susan Philipsz’s inclusion on the Turner prize shortlist should make Britain sit up and listen

The presence of Susan Philipsz, an artist who works primarily with sound, on the Turner prize shortlist is welcome but overdue recognition for a major part of our cultural life. Sound art is nothing new: it has its roots in the early 20th century, with the dadaists and futurists – perhaps even as far back as prehistory, when someone first hung a gourd rattle in a tree just because they liked how it sounded when the wind blew.

And, in London at least, the sound art scene has never seemed so vibrant: Céleste Boursier-Mougenot‘s guitar-playing finches at the Barbican; Florian Hecker‘s solo exhibition at the Chisenhale gallery; the extraordinary range of work at the AV festival; and Bill Fontana‘s installation River Sounding in the light wells under Somerset House. The Turner judges have taken the first step in what will turn out to be a long and interesting journey .

But what actually is “sound art”? The answer is that it’s hard to define narrowly. There are fruitful overlaps with contemporary classical composition, experimental rock music and improvisation. Sound artists use everything from sine wave generators to lectures, wildlife recordings, public space, bell ringing, electromagnetic fields – even the odd folk song.

More importantly, perhaps, sound art can be as much to do with the act of listening as it is with making the work. Many of us now live in a world of visual and auditory overload. We happily make do with a pixelated version of music on our MP3 players, and end up hearing things we do not want to. We tolerate buildings and public spaces that look OK, but sound terrible. We eat and shop in places where music and noise are calibrated just short of inducing hysteria. We stick our fingers in our ears when trains screech on dirty tracks. For those of us who live under flight paths or in hectic, noise-filled cities, the recent cloud of volcanic ash brought with it something astonishing – the revelation of hearing the sound of birds and insects for the first time.

Clearly it would be daft to claim that sound art can be instrumental in resolving all, or any, of the above. But maybe it’s a start. And, as a more modest proposal in the meantime, I would suggest that taking some time out to visit Fontana’s River Sounding, or Chris Watson’s forthcoming Whispering in the Leaves in the Palm House at Kew, or Paul Rooney’s sound work McKenzie in Liverpool later this month. All will change how you listen to the world.

John Kieffer

*open your ears and listen.
patrick mcginley :: framework radio

** Sonic Wonderland – a scientific odyssey of sound by Trevor Cox, published by The Bodley Head 2014.

*** aporee maps initiated in 2006, a global soundmap dedicated to phonography, field recording (and related practices) and the art of listening. It connects sound recordings and places, in order to create a sonic cartography, open to the public as a collaborative project. (as of April 2015 the map had 64d, 02h, 41min, 50sec at 24795 places).

All inset quotes from Seasonal Sound Walk participants.

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