An exploration of sound and place, featuring work by Chris Watson, Jo Kennedy, Heloise Tunstall-Behrens, Tim Shaw, James Davoll, Andrew Tuttle, Tony Dupé, Julie Stoneman and Ben Gale.
Our perception of place is, traditionally, deeply linked to our sight, to visual information – we summon our favourite place in our mind’s eye, our recollections are visual, our primary descriptions are images. We close our eyes to help us imagine a place – we rarely block out sound. What does this mean? Is sound unimportant to the definition of our favourite places? When we imagine a beach, is the sound of crashing waves incidental? The overbearing roar of life in a city scene? Birdsong in ancient forests?
Landscapes, historical moments and narrative scenes are silently offered in our museums and galleries, the descriptive imagery enough to build scenes in our minds. There are good historical reasons for this – our technological ability to record visual information predates our ability to record sound by around 40,000 years. But before recorded sound, human experience of environmental sound carried the same responsibilities – archeologists now believe the sites of many of the oldest cave paintings were selected for their acoustic properties, for the ways they amplified or enhanced both natural and human-created sound.
This collection of work presents a variety of different approches to sound and place, each taking it’s place at a different point along the line of balance between audio and visual, from Chris Watson’s environmental audio to Julie Stoneman’s ecological narratives. The works bleed into one another through a shared influence – they were all initiated (if not completed) at our residential arts facility, CAMP. The Pyrenean mountains formed the backdrop, inspiration and source material for much of this work, with each artist drawing different conclusions from their explorations of the landscape.
Heraclitus wrote: “You cannot step into the same river twice”; change is constant, and whilst a river flowing for eternity seems a most permanent and unchanging thing, it is never the same from one moment to the next. These artists all worked in the same landscape, the same river, at different times, and the river was not the same. Perhaps more importantly, by stepping into the river, they themselves changed it.