In October 2020 the record label Flaming Pines asked me to contribute a track to the 2nd edition of the album Footfalls. I had spent some of the summer in lockdown in the rural mountain village of La Fatarella northern Spain. It had been difficult to summon the interest to do field recording while everyone was scared of dying, the focus of my time there had been to continue recording the wind turbines in the region, however, I became more interested in the little moments of celebration taking place in the village. This piece was a document of experiencing those moments while trying to listen to the soundscape of wind farms. Click Here listen to the work.
Words on the exhibition
Although the exhibition features a significant amount of audio, a large part of the show was concerned with the physical space of the gallery. Each room represented a different way to experience sound, and all of the objects had a clear connection to the sounds in the space. It was hoped that the listener would engage with both, not seeing sound and space as separate.
The second large space works with a material I have used since 2006, Panphonics sound showers©. These speakers are used to create directional sounds and work best with the human voice. In the exhibition the speakers are directed in to the corners of the room pushing the sound into the centre bypassing and merging with each other. The sounds create a representational or imagined space of memory and experience collected from participants of this project.
The objects in the gallery, old radios, gramophones, the cast iron lamp post, were iconic representations of how sound was experienced from the 1940s to the 1960s (street lamp posts were used as antennas for transistor radios, by urban teenagers, so as to be able to pick up international radio signals).
The work, in its examination of the impact of mediatisation from this period, found that just like today, sound, music and technology were used to re-appropriate space by urban teenagers. Audio technologies allowed them autonomous listening spaces as well as access to media, news and music, from other countries.
The sound works within the show were a mix of stories told by older people from Dublin’s inner city, the voices of individuals remembering singular significant sonic moments, and a montage of old radio sounds from the 1930s to the 1970s. One could experience an inner and outer sonic event as you moved through both the sounds and the space.
This work is grounded in both Thompson’s (1995*) concept of mediatization and Lefebvre’s symbolic spaces. Lefebvre (1974**) argues that a space becomes what users imagine and emplace. Sounds define the rhythms of a place, they create patterns of meaning and regulate daily activities. In this way sound is an integral part of productive space, as “space is listened for, in fact, as much as seen and heard before it comes into view” (Lefebvre 1974:200).
(video to follow shortly)
* John Thompson, The media and modernity,Stanford University Press, 1995
** Henri Lefebvre, The Production of Space, Wiley-Blackwell, 1974