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  • Writer's pictureConfessions of A Listener

Stage Two: Where is this project heading?

Whilst gathering field recordings, I witnessed my thoughts becoming more meditative and present in the moment. However external sources filtered influencing my behaviour and emotions. This isn't new knowledge but what interest's me is how aware I am to these signals and the emotional/thought response. For instance, some recordings were focused on capturing the squeaks, creaks and groans of Aspen trees. I imagined these minute sounds were messages being sent across the woodland from tree to tree.

Other factors like age, mindfulness, yoga and practicing focused listening are contributing components in raising this awareness. But it's through being in a place of stillness that connects the mind back with the body. To quote acoustic ecologist Gordon Hempton:

"Silence isn't the absence of something, but the presence of everything. It is time undisturbed. It can be felt within the chest. It nurtures our nature. Every place has a sound….and all [nature] experiences connect us back to the land."

I really resonated with Gordon's words (spoken in this video: How to Find Silence in a Noisy World), especially when he mentions listening:

"When I listen, I am quiet. I become very peaceful. And I think what I enjoy most about listening is that I disappear."

Through this meditative reflection, I'm beginning to pin-down what my recognisable style/themes are:

· Context of this project is the use of external sources to express my relationship between external stimuli and introspection.

· Investigation of this exchange is carried out through mediums of sound and visual.

· Past work has been made as a static outcome (i.e looped sound and visuals), but this method has a distancing effect with the audience because the narration has been predetermined.

· Moving towards performance enables the interaction of material and creativity to be experienced there and then, as well as an immediate connection for the audience (they can see the piece evolving) .

So here is some more context behind my exploration into external stimuli and introspection.

This project began looking at external sources and the positive/negatives of unwanted sounds or noise. I was also feeling this internally. Moving to a new city, starting a masters, entering into an industry that is highly competitive and can be somewhat isolating, moving in with strangers and so many more external factors were contributing to an inside discomfort. To manage this, I had to (and still do) create time and space where stillness/quiet would allow the unpacking of unbalanced emotions, and to centre myself in the present again. Sound played (and continues to play) a huge part in this.

Place and nature are also important elements in this investigation. Finding a space where there is less noise from cars, machinery, electricity etc. is getting harder in the western world. But where it is less intense, we can push this annoyance to the background and enjoy connecting back with ourselves. Hence, I chose easily accessible locations without long hauls of travel. It was then a matter of organising my time, direction of recording (which would capture less unwanted noise) and being flexible around weather forecasts.

As well as gathering material, I tried projecting my first Ableton and Resolume creations and the results were promising. I was a little concerned about the resolution used (640x280) and how it would aesthetically affect the overall feel. Thankfully there wasn't too much graining or distortion.

I've now upgraded my laptop and can produce screen recordings of the work without any CPU lag! Below are some experiments from this week.

I've also worked out how to use the controller between both softwares and can set any parameters I wish. This is fantastic but overwhelming at the same time, aha! Hence my next plan is to create an outline sketch of audio, visuals and the effects, for the performance. Any tips on how to keep track of where each effect is set (I keep forgetting and have to CmdM to see which effect is with each knob!) is greatly welcomed.


Links to other sites:

Gordon Hempton's work:




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