Category Archives: Audio or Sound

Robert Bean and Barbara Lounder, Breathing-in-the-Breathable (2017-19)

Breathing-in-the-Breathable is an on-going collaborative artwork by Robert Bean and Barbara Lounder. Their project presents walking as experience, public art and pedagogy. To date, the artists have contextualized this artwork in relation to four sites; 1) Breathing-in-the-Breathable: an annotated walk (2017) on the ruins of a tuberculosis sanatorium in the Polish town of Sokołowsko; 2) Breathing-in-the-Breathable: Weathering (2018) based on a number of walks in the Lake District; 3) Breathing-in-the-Breathable: The Commons (2019) in Halifax, Nova Scotia; 4) Being-in-the Breathable: 44.649589,-63.574150 (2019) a public walk and installation based on a visit to Halifax in 1973 by the Japenese Conceptual artist, On Kawara.

This participatory project utilizes event scores, objects, sound, and walking to consider how the atmosphere and environment are made explicit through militarism and the climate crises. Along with the site-specific projects, the concept of “being-in-the-breathable” (Sloterdijk, 2009) provides Bean and Lounder with an adaptive framework for this collaborative artwork. The project engages an understanding of walking as an experiential method which simultaneously disturbs histories, ideologies and habits and also generates new networks of meaning spanning temporal frames, public spaces, disciplinary boundaries, and embodied sensorial modalities (Ingold and Vergunst, 2008).” (credit)

 

Catherine D’Ignazio, It takes 154,000 breaths to evacuate Boston (2007-9)

(credit)

“Catherine D’Ignazio ran the entire evacuation route system in Boston and attempted to measure the distance in human breath. The project also involves a podcast and a sculptural installation of the archive of tens of thousands of breaths .

The project is an attempt to measure our post-9/11 collective fear in the individual breaths that it takes to traverse these new geographies of insecurity.

The $827,500 Boston emergency evacuation system was installed in 2006 to demonstrate the city’s preparedness for evacuating people in snowstorms, hurricanes, infrastructure failures, fires and/or terrorist attacks.

It takes 154,000 breaths to evacuate Boston consists of:

  1. a series of running performances in public space (2007)
  2. a web podcast of breaths (2007)
  3. a sculptural installation of the archive of breaths (2008)

Website & Podcast

Project Website: www.evacuateboston.com

Archive of Breaths (sculptural piece)

Medium: custom-made table, 26 jars, 26 speaker components, wire, 13 CD players
Dimensions: 45″x72″x16″

I created a sculptural & audio archive of the collection of breaths. There are 26 jars on a custom-made table which correspond to the 26 runs it took to cover the evacuation routes. Each jar size corresponds to the number of breaths from that run. The speaker inside the jar plays the breaths collected from that run. (Better documentation coming soon)

This piece is on view in Experimental Geography, a traveling show curated by Nato Thompson and produced by ICI.

Kay Burns, Footnotes: Cape Jourimain (2008)

lighthouse audio walk

Footnotes: Cape Jourimain, 2008, Cape Jourimain, NB

This 2 km walk took participants along the Lighthouse Trail at Cape Jourimain Nature Centre during the 2008 Eco-Arts Festival. The lighthouse on the island was home to 4 generations of the same family for nearly 80 years; the experience of those who dwelled there becomes the subject for exploration within this walk. Notions of the sense of isolation, the challenges and hardships of living at the lighthouse, as well as the pleasures and pastimes, are alluded to in the content of audio. The stories are told as remembered fragments – moments recalled about life on the island.” [credit]

Max Neuhaus, Sound Walks (1966)

Listen Postcard

Listen-postcard, 1979
Courtesy Estate of Max Neuhaus [credit]

“Work description by Manuela Ammer

With Sound Walks, Max Neuhaus intended to take the use of everyday sounds in the concert hall, as propagated by John Cage and others, a step further. Instead of bringing sounds to the audience, he took the audience outside to experience the acoustic everyday world on site. The Sound Walks began with Neuhaus asking the audience of the performance/concert to gather outside. He then put a stamp with the word LISTEN on their hands and led the group through its everyday environment. The idea was for people to concentrate in silence on the listening experience until they returned to the point of departure, thus refocusing their auditory perspective. Neuhaus also led excursions to places that could not be entered and that caused noises that could not be recorded. In 1978, he produced a do-it-yourself version of the work in the form of a postcard bearing the word LISTEN, which the owners could place at selected locations.” [credit]

Patrick Gillespie, Prosthetic for Public Space (2008)

man walking in sheepskin body suite

Patrick Gillespie, “Prosthetic for Public Space” (2008) – photography of documentation in “On Procession” book

Some artists might take dramatic action to hone in on sound, such as Patrick Gillespie (1980-) in his performative walk, Prosthetic for Public Space (2008) in which he donned a suit made of sheepskin that limited his sight and ability to speak. As he marched wearing this suit in a parade  curated by Fritz Haeg, entitled East Meets West Interchange Overpass Parade (2008), he mainly relied on sound and directions from others to make his way, discovering new people and objects.

Christine Sun Kim (LISTEN) (2016)

[CREDIT] – “A Silent Soundwalk, Noisy with Abstract Compositions” via HyperAllergic

person with ipad outside

Christine Sun Kim during her sound walk (LISTEN) on October 29 (all photos by the author for Hyperallergic unless otherwise noted)

“What is the sound of arms moving? Or of rats gossiping? What about the sound of slight anticipation, or the sound of memories?

These were among the many sounds that artist Christine Sun Kim invited us to consider during “(LISTEN),” a recent soundwalk she led in the Lower East Side organized by Avant.org. We were a group of about a dozen, following her as she visited a handful of sites around the neighborhood to pause, share a personal memory of hers, and offer us an accompanying composition.

But these compositions were technically silent. Serving as audioguides of sorts, they were void of mp3 players, headsets, or other audio devices. Instead, Kim presented a series of textual prompts on an iPad, like flash cards, that described sounds ranging from those that may play immediately in our minds (the sound of a bicycle spinning) to those that are utterly abstract (the sound of an urge to punch someone). Born deaf and originally focused on painting, she has been exploring sound as a medium for nearly a decade and the various ways we may experience and understand it.

(LISTEN)” readapts Max Neuhaus’s own soundwalk, “LISTEN,” when, 50 years ago, the musician took a small group of his friends on a sonic journey through the Lower East Side. For his iteration, Neuhaus stamped the word LISTEN on his companions’ hands and encouraged them to absorb the familiar noises of the city. As he recalls:

After a while I began to do these works as ‘Lecture Demonstrations’; the rubber stamp was the lecture and the walk the demonstration. I would ask the audience at a concert or lecture to collect outside the hall, stamp their hands and lead them through their everyday environment. Saying nothing, I would simply concentrate on listening, and start walking. At first, they would be a little embarrassed, of course, but the focus was generally contagious. The group would proceed silently, and by the time we returned to the hall many had found a new way to listen for themselves.

person with ipad outdoors

Christine Sun Kim during her sound walk (LISTEN)

“(LISTEN)” made me hyper-vigilant of surrounding sounds, but with its designated stops and paired stories,  it also brought a more focused approach to Neuhaus’s exercise. At each site, Kim animatedly relayed in American Sign Language the associated memories that her interpreter Vernon Leon spoke aloud. They ranged from her serendipitous encounter with someone who ended up writing her a recommendation for graduate school to a rage-filled bike accident outside the New Museum caused by a negligent cab driver. Outside Audio Visual Arts gallery (currently on hiatus), she recalled experiencing John Andrew’s 2009 exhibition The Now with Before and AfterShe could not hear its audio component, but she pressed her hands against the room’s yellow walls and through the strong vibrations, experienced the throbbing waves.

The iPad slides that followed such recollections probed our own understanding of sound: descriptions moved from the familiar to the obscure, increasingly prodding individual memories, imaginations, and sensibilities. Short but suggestive, the text pushed sound beyond an experience dependent on hearing; it may be seen or felt, as Kim made incredibly clear as she invited us so associate it with the material and texture (“the sound of pavement floor”); with moments (“the sound of condensation”); with emotional states (“the sound of uncertainty”); and with action and restraint (“the sound of not trying to smell”).

a drawing of words

Christine Sun Kim, “a map of a sound as a space” (2016) (image courtesy Avant)

Parentheses often appear in Kim’s visual works, which deal largely with text. The coupled curves appeared in “(LISTEN),” too, bookending each phrase she showed. When anchored in the space between the two lines, words and their sonic implications are visually isolated and highlighted yet are also reduced in both presence and volume. The physical pockets of the neighborhood Kim carved out on her soundwalk worked similarly, becoming temporary spaces for each of us to consider the subjectivity of experiencing sound, which extends beyond the use of just a single sense.

We ended “(LISTEN)” at a quiet creperie next to a boisterous bar, where Kim crossed out the word stamped on each of our hands. As I walked away, my ears picked up the rough grating of a trash can hobbling across park gravel; the metallic tinkling of a trotting dog’s leash nudging its collar.

(LISTEN) took place on October 29 and October 30 around the Lower East Side.

Hamilton Perambulatory Unit, Mall Walk (2014)

mall walk collage

[credit]

The Hamilton Perambulatory Unit is a group of artists, writers and educators, co-founded in 2014 by Donna Akrey, Taien Ng-Chan and Sarah E. Truman. The HPU orchestrates participatory events to engage with historical and current ideas around perambulation, and to explore walking in conjunction with artistic practices and research-creation. Our methodologies have included stratigraphic cartography, locative media experimentation, sensory synesthesia poetry-writing, and found material sculpture-making. HPU has given walks in Montreal, Toronto, Windsor, Buffalo NY, Sydney Australia, London England, Galway Ireland, Memphis TN, Tokyo Japan, the online sphere of Zoom, and our home base of Hamilton Ontario.

Raquel Meseguer Zafe, A Crash Course in Cloudspotting (the subversive act of horizontality) (2020-)

While laying down might feel like the antithesis of walking, this is an important project highlighting the need for rest and disability awareness for participants struggling with chronic illness and fatigue.

“A Crash Course in Cloudspotting is an intimate audio journey exploring the depths of human connection and the subversive act of lying down.

Over the past four years Raquel Meseguer Zafe has collected over 250 stories from people living with invisible disabilities and chronic illnesses around the country. This immersive audio installation invites you into the heart of these personal experiences by weaving together some of the stories and voices. In this delicate and beautiful space, Coventry residents and participants from across the UK and Europe, will illuminate your horizontal journey with a gentle choreography of lights, activated in the space by patterns of rest we so rarely see.

“A Crash Course in Cloudspotting is about finding, making, and acknowledging the connections between people….the show lets us imagine ourselves as part of a web reaching out across the world.” Exeunt Magazine.

This installation & live performance project, includes Relaxed performances, Audio Description and Touch Tours. The Cloudspotting Digital Archive is available online.

Raquel Meseguer Zafe is a UK based dance theatre practitioner. She acknowledges ‘crip’ as a tool in her artistic process, and ‘rest’ as a creative impulse. Raquel is the artistic director of Unchartered Collective, a Lost Dog Associate Artist, and a Pervasive Media Studios Resident. Her work is supported by Unlimited and MAYK.

Conceived by Raquel Meseguer Zafe. Devised in collaboration with Artist & Theatre Designer Sophia Clist, Composer & Sound Artist Jamie McCarthy, Associate Artist Laura Dannequin, Artist & Designer Tom Metcalfe, Sound Designer Charles Webber. Software Developers David Haylock & Joseph Horton.” [credit]

Moira Williams, Fissures, Holes, Limbs: Breathing Dislocated Scales (2019)

person with large had and group walking outdoors

Credit: http://www.moira670.com/#/fissures-holes-limbs/

“Fissures, Holes, Limbs: breathing dislocated scales is an eco somatic sound walk centering disability.

I-Park Kicks off Seventh Art Biennale in East Haddam

BY CATE HEWITT, SEPTEMBER 23, 2019 ART & DESIGN

EAST HADDAM — At night, animals, birds, flowers, and even mushroom spores become active, moving about, making sounds and leaving traces, mostly unbeknownst to humans.

Participants in artist Moira Williams’ sound walk called “Fissures, Holes, Limbs: breathing dislocated scales,” were invited Sunday to shift from “daylight to moonlight” and experience night sounds and images she had recorded onsite at I-Park, an international artist-in-residence program founded in 2001.

Williams, a New-York-City-based artist, is one of nine artists in I-Park’s seventh Site-Responsive Art Biennale who spent three weeks on the program’s 450-acre campus “creating ephemeral artworks that respond to the property’s natural and built environments,” according to the program notes. The artists’ works can “take the form of environmental sculptures, videos, aural experiences or performance pieces.”

At the beginning of Williams’ sound walk, participants were asked to choose a stick from a number of precut tree branches, mostly about five or six feet in length. These branches were used as “limbs,” extensions of the human body, to explore holes and fissures in the path, as well as rocks and lichen.

After the band of sound walkers set off along a path, Williams stopped the group at a field and played a recording she had made while camping onsite of an owl hooting.

“Think of how the owl moves so quietly throughout the night and what it disturbs and what it accentuates, think of the different way our breath moves and accentuates as well, think of the spores and the seeds that we never see that we move,” she said.

She asked the group to face the field and to lift up their shoulders and think about them as wings, with the limb as an extension of sorts.

“Think about how they feel in the air and what you can move and what you can share and extend,” she said. “If you have a limb, an extra limb with you, please raise your limb in any way that you like, and think of your shoulders and your extra limb, think of the breeze going through your shoulders and your extra limb.”

Dressed in a white hazmat-type suit embellished with bright neon stripes made from tape, Williams carried a roll of black wire on one shoulder, like a techie epaulet, and a small speaker and projector connected to her mobile phone in a pouch around her waist. On her head was a wide “hat,” made from a piece of flat white painted cardboard with a space cut out for the top of her head, and long neon green streamers attached at each end that trailed behind her when she walked.

As the group proceeded down the path, Williams removed her hat and projected a tiny video of a fox she had recorded at night, letting the walkers experience the sight and sound as they hiked past.

She asked everyone with “an extra limb” to use it to touch the rocks, holes and lichen along the path, as a way to experience the site.

Soon the group came upon a field where Williams had created a labyrinth.

“Choose a path and walk to where you can find a white stump,” she instructed. “We’re under a full moon in the middle of the night, it’s an extraordinary full moon.”

Soon the group gathered around a white stump that had holes drilled in it about the size of the limb walking sticks. She asked those who had limbs to share them with those who were without.

“Those who haven’t had an extra limb, think of the limb that they now have and how the previous person used that limb and what that means to them not to have it now,” she said. “And think about whether the bark is smooth and whether there’s holes or fissures or lichen or even insects on your limb.”

Williams invited everyone holding a limb to place it in one of the holes in the stump, which created a kind of tree sculpture. The new tree symbolized connection, she said, and could forge a new identity for everyone who took part.

people putting sticks in a trunk

Credit: http://www.moira670.com/#/fissures-holes-limbs/

“If you walked with an extra limb and want to think about if you have a new name, you can say your new name out loud if you do have one, or if you can think of a new name that might incorporate an extended limb,” she told the group. “My new name would be Lichen.”

Of the 20 participants, names like Woody, Meadow, Shaggy, Hiawatha and Tripod emerged.

Then Williams directed the walkers’ attention to the far side of the meadow where a large tree with bare branches reached to the sky, a living reflection of the group’s tree made from limbs.

“Look at the tree in front of us and think about the tree behind us and the juncture of all of us connecting all of us,” she said.

Williams next led the group to a boardwalk that snaked through a marshy area with numerous streams flowing along the ground.

At one point she stepped out of the path and projected a video of mushrooms sporing onto a series of white vertical boards that were set in the marsh.

“This is an image of sporing mushrooms that only spore at night and these are things we seldom get to see,” she said. “They’re just ghostlike spores that we’re gathering on our own bodies and sharing with the rest of the world.”

Williams, who holds a BFA from the School of Visual Arts, a graduate certificate in “Spatial Politics,” and an MFA from Stony Brook University, said her underlying interest is about “making the environment accessible to all people, especially people with disabilities.

“It’s about thinking in ways that are not about independence but more about connectedness with the environment and one another,” she said. “It’s connectedness as a holistic ecosystem, we’re not just this very big myth about how we’re independent.”

She explained that her white outfit reflects a philosophy of healthcare — “the idea of nursing and empathy and being a caregiver.”

“I think of myself as a steward caregiver. I love wearing the white suit because I’m in the lead and I want people to see me,” she said. “The hat is a device to say, hey, here I am, come and join me, but it’s also the width of walkways that need to be for people that need a wheelchair.”

By walking through the marsh and the woods, participants will carry traces of the environment to new places, she said.

Near the end of the path, Williams crouched down, removed her hat and projected a time-lapse video of a lotus flower opening and closing at night on the pond at I-Park, a film she made while floating on the water.

The tour was over and she bade the group good-bye by saying, “Good morning everybody.””