Tuesday, February 07, 2017

Multi media

My sound artist colleague N came to the Sacred Mountains class today. I was expecting to contrast the fresh raw recordings he made along our Kailas trip with the highly composed soundscape we experienced last week - but that just shows how naive I am about sound! Replication, N said, is an unfruitful ideal; better to recognize that every act of listening or recording is an act transformation! We each hear different things, differently, understand them in different ways because of our experience, identity, concerns. Soundwalks like those he conducted in the Kathmandu Valley are inseparable not just from the moment and space but from the person making the recording. N accompanies his recordings (like the one above of a 3-hour hike up and back down a mountain) with other kinds of data: not just snapshots but a map (GPS linked to time), his altitude, speed of motion and heart rate. He's not sure what they show, he laughed, but they're sort of interesting anyway, aren't they? I see the open-ended data-collection as consonant with the commitment of the soundwalker to try to attend to everything you don't customarily notice. The not quite assimilable jumble of "data" reminds us how remarkable a thing is the synthaesthesia of our experience. 

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