In the Field – ‘Collective, virtual and mediatised fields’

In the Field Symposium

Is the in-between space of the migratory context a sonic ‘field’? What is the field like that Networked Migrations performances such as ‘Letters and Bridges’ and ‘Migratory Dreams’ have created? How do you record it? These were some of the questions that I developed for a paper offered at the ‘In the Field’ International Symposium, which explored the art and craft of field recording and was organised by CRiSAP and the British Library (British Library Conference Centre, London, February 15th and 16th, 2013).

My participation in the panel ‘Collective, virtual and mediatised fields’ allowed me to explore the process lived by participants in the two performances, and raised my awareness of the layers of fields that were involved in each performance.

My abstract states:

‘While the migratory condition pushes participants to search for a sense of belonging in the new or original location, sound improvisation through the Internet and with a Deep Listening approach, creates for them virtual alternative fields. When they share their feelings related to their migrations, through voice expression and pre-recorded sounds, new resonances seem to create spaces detached from physical locations.’

After two days of the symposium reviewing historical, multipurpose, and creative experiences of recording in the field, my proposal of these alternative fields increased in my mind as being relevant. The perception of the inhabited space through different practices and technologies that expand our listening experience help us to inhabit known and unknown territories as a whole and expansive field. It’s about listening to nature and the temporality of decay (Chris Watson), to rural environments through an intimate filter of wool touching our ears (Felicity Ford), human activity that is influenced by acoustic landmarks in a mixture of ecological preoccupation and poetical rendition (Peter Cusack); it’s about locating our body as a field, too (Davide Tidone), it’s about experiencing in about 50 seconds the squeezing of a built space suggesting a memory of catastrophe (David Velez), and it’s about voicing the experience with sound, embodying the field in our voice (Salomé Voegelin).

Looking at my notes from my panel, I see the technology field is crucial in this expansive field. The importance of ‘liveness’ via radio streaming (Udo Noll) makes me think of metaphors for the network: a landscape of consciousness, a real time that is shared time, a sort of augmented audio reality? Zoe Irvine makes us aware of the routes taken by flying audiotape, creating memorials of audio kept in place. And Francesca Pannetta invites us to know the technological developments that allow narratives built from organised layers of sound, from the soundtrack tradition, using maps in London. Reconstruction and deconstruction of sound space, and the volatile nature of sound in a field, is a key point that this panel has left in my memory.

Grateful for this opportunity to listen, share and find connections.

To listen to the Symposium, click here.


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