Archives for the month of: October, 2013

An inspiring event offering many insights into the evolving individual methodologies and collective collaborations of The Landscape Quartet. Much of their work parallels my own, there are, inevitably, many points of convergence and departure. In my reflections here I would like to share some insights I have gained over the years that may be relevant to the evolution of their own practice as interrogators and performers of the environment, I offer, with respect, a number of extended techniques, both thoughts and practice, derived from my own experience, which may be useful.

As conscious beings we have custodianship of the planet. Yet it is our material father and mother, it sustains and feeds us, waters us, provides us with energy, materials for tools and dwellings, digests our waste, and our pollution – up to a point. It exists harmonically in a myriad of states in complex dynamic rhythms, vibrations and motions operating on wide-ranging time scales and including living and non-living participants. It is ancient, it is the inheritance of hydrogen and vast cosmic forces. And its musicality can be observed, felt and heard in every moment of our existence in any and in every environment, and at every scale from cosmic to atomic… Read the rest of this entry »

When does environment become landscape, and vice versa, at what point do they interleave, and what are the useful distinctions to be drawn? Where is performance, and when does documentation become art? When does ‘working together’ as an ensemble start? — is it at the point where two people walk together in silence through local woods, deep in individual thought; or when they work together to construct an instrument for one of them to play; or when they stand, knee deep, in either a rushing river or summer corn, enticing violins or flute to respond sonically to the elements; or when they gather in an anonymous, well-worn university performance space (part studio, part concert hall) to talk, share, and present their work in progress? Memories and personal histories are so embedded in the places that matter, or come to matter, that making ensemble work from response to landscape surely involves addressing a human counterpoint of different sensibilities and contexts, and means working to address this landscape, too? Read the rest of this entry »

University of Surrey, 12th and 13th October 2013. Studio 1, PATS Building

We will be presenting new works from our various Swedish residency projects, as well as new duo collaborations, and with presentations on the work from our special guests, Katharine Norman and Max Eastley.

Saturday 12th October
10:00-12:30 – presentations and discussions on work in progress
14:00-17:00 – presentations and discussions on work in progress
19:30-21:00 – concert by LQ and guests

Sunday 13th October
10:00-12:30 – presentations and responses
14:00-16:00 – responses and general discussion

All attendees are encouraged to participate with questions and comments and critical reflections. All events are free. Please confirm attendance ideally by Oct 1 to Matthew Sansom: m.sansom[at]

Next symposium will be at Newcastle University on 25th and 26th of January, 2014.

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A personal reflection on the first half of the Landscape Quartet project by Matthew Sansom, given at the first symposium, Newcastle University (UK), July 4-5 2013.


This paper reflects on the initial stages of a research project, called the ‘Landscape Quartet’, exploring practical strategies for ecological sound art and their significance. It is research with experimental art practice at its core, determining both research process and research outcomes (Borgdorff in Biggs & Karlsson 2010: 57), seeking to critically engage with notions of the environment and our relationship with it. Broadly speaking, it joins a number of other areas of arts practice, academic endeavour, and philosophical enquiry to question the paradigm of post-Enlightenment thinking, and offer critique on Cartesian notions of the world, perception, understanding, consciousness, and so on.

I begin with an account of a performance of mine from the 2011 WFAE conference. The performance was an improvised hour-long multi-channel collage using field recordings made during three days of listening-led walks in Corfu town. Halfway into what was a hot and humid midday hour, storm winds began to rattle the open windows of the Old Fort’s Wheatstore – the venue for the performance. The wind and then rain began to weave their presence into the space; distant rumblings and thunder added their voices to an electric atmosphere. It was an exhilarating and arresting intervention that drew attention to my sense of separation between the containing architectural space of the venue and the weather-world outside by virtue of way these circumstances, as they unfolded, acted to remove that same sense of separation. Read the rest of this entry »