Archives for the month of: November, 2012

The material for this piece was recorded on September 22nd and 23rd 2012 at Howick, Northumberland.

On the 22nd we made recordings directly at the ocean with a seal as the audience.It did spend the whole afternoon with us and seemed to listen. As soon as we were done it disappeared.

The next day we went up the river into the woods. I was very drawn to the horsetail. This plant is 400 Million years old and has a very unique methode to survive. It has a huge brachiate root system, that has little nodules with reserve solids, that helps the plant to survive. Because of this, it survived through all the times. OK –  it’s much smaller now than it used to be, but it is is still here. I was also very fascinated by its layers that it has and its  pretty clear structure.

I sat there for a while and just tried to “listen” to this plant to this ancient heritage it has and imagined the huge plants and the woods out of horsetails and ferns that used to grow in the prehistoric times. The plants used to be 30 meters high.

With a small dpa microphone inside a bansuri – an indian bamboo flute – I recorded the enviroment while listening back to it and respond to and interact with it. I was mainly sitting in a “field” of horsetail while playing the flute and I also the dry horsetail leaves played onto the flute. I kind of created a new instrument – kind of a a horsetail flute, that reacted on blowing and fingering.

      

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Resonant Pathways is a solo project of mine that has been going on for just over two years, and which was partly responsible for developing ideas for Landscape Quartet, the four-way collaboration funded by the Arts an Humanities Research Council that is documented on this website. In Resonant Pathways an acoustic violin (or two) – usually deployed in unorthodox ways such as dragging, floating, submerging, etc. – interact with the natural environment, developing an environmentally-situated sonic arts practice that is ecosystemic. That I call this an ecosystemic practice should convey a sense of participation and connectedness with the environment, in which the composer/improviser works directly with the sonic affordances of a particular place, not only recording environmental sound (collection) but generating it in a “collaboration” with the environment. This is not usually a sonic art of observing and collecting – which has a long and distinguished history, a history which inevitably informs much of this work – but of putting oneself into the natural world as simultaneously a perceiver and producer of sound. As the philosopher Salome Voegelin has pointed out, we not only perceive our sonic environment but add to it through making sound ourselves. We move and react in response to sound. Our response to listening/hearing is often to make sound ourselves; or to make ourselves sound. The attentive and silent listening of the Western art music tradition has tended to swarm out (Foucault’s term) and colonize all forms of listening. Resonant Pathways attempts to search for alternatives to this state of affairs, as well as alternatives to practices that attempt to impose sounds onto the environment. Gardening, of one sort or another, stands near to the start of the emergence of human social civilization, and takes different forms in response to the affordances of the existing environment – only certain plants will grow, certain animals survive, in particular environments. Resonant Pathways tries to start from a similar position, and work with it. Read the rest of this entry »