From soundwalk to exhibition/ from headphone experience to a sound universe
A research project by Cilia Erens
supported by AFK, the Amsterdam Fund for the Arts.
After some 30 years of pioneering the concept of the soundwalk for a headphone wearing audience I want to take a next step in my development as a sound artist.
This is my first blog about a for me brand new research in the next couple of months. Instead of devising headphone experiences in the public domain (location specific) I am now going to explore ways to exhibit my sound material on loudspeakers in neutral interchangeable locations. This is where individual visitors can choose their own way through a sound universe evoked by precisely positioned speakers.
Can it be done?
The AFK has given me a Development Budget to try and find out.
Time Lapse China (1986-2015)
In 2015, thanks to successful crowdfunding at the Platform voor de Kunst, I was able to go back to China. I found myself listening to and making binaural recordings in the same cities I had recorded 29 years ago, at a time when the sounds of the West were only just beginning to penetrate Chinese society.
When I landed in Shanghai in 2015 I felt as if in just one moment I had travelled through time. It was an impressive experience which, two years on, I’m still trying to get to grips with.
How to express this Time Lapse in sound? That is what I want to investigate but in a different way from my first effort in 1987 when I used my binaural cassette-recordings to create ‘China Daily’, my first ‘soundwalk’. As a result hundreds of sound walkers ‘walked the walk’ in a number of Dutch cities. Eye and ear were separated and Dutch street scenes mingled with a 3D Chinese world of sound in what was, in fact, a form of augmented reality.
This time I want to explore an exhibition concept.
STEIM, studio for Electronic-Instrumental Music, (one of the few studios without a fixed speaker arrangement) has invited me to take part in their artist-in-residence programme. Leo de Klerk, Bloomline Studio, is lending his revolutionary ‘unaudible speakers’.
In the studio I will be towing speakers back and forth, from the most conventional speaker systems to unconventional ones. Collegue Justin Bennett and Robert Bosch Geluid will supply me with advise.
For me a new era opens up: I will be listening out
for the best match between speakers and ambient binaural sound,
for ways of creating a dialogue between sounds evoked by precisely positioned speakers.
for ways of sounding out Time Lapse China.
Will it become filmic without film; an installation may be? Am I going to process my recordings? Will it travel? It’s all there waiting to be found out. I’m looking forward to it and will keep you posted in my blogs.
I will be finishing the sound research with a four-day public pilot, for which I will invite you to nearer the date. I am currently looking for an exhibition space in Amsterdam, and of course all suggestions are welcome.
To be continued.