The sound bank is inspired in the world’s oral traditions, in our ability to listen and learn, in our ability to produce languages from sound to communicate ideas and generate meaning, in the possibility of sound to represent space, history, and guides.
The goal is to build a world cartography of sound. It is not about accuracy and precision but rather about highlighting that in each form of representation there is a subject that tells, exalts, exaggerates, or appeases.
Nonetheless, this intervention is not neutral. It is a useful sound geography, but it is not indisputable. The bank itself questions the mechanisms of measurement, storage, edition and asks how these direct how people interpret the world.
1. Implied in the sound of language, there is a geographical conditioning.
2. Implied in the sound of language, there is a social representation.
3. Sound has a psychological aspect.
The word recording is understood today around sound equipment. However, its original definition referenced the act of remembering.
Whistling perhaps developed from our fascination with birds. Musical instruments such as the recorder and the piccolo account for this relation. Even the structure of some of these instruments such as the Serinette - which was built to imitate the Blackbird - tried to mimic the structure of the animal’s organs. The word recording was traditionally used by the British, to name the act of teaching a bird how to sing a melody. This all suggests this reciprocity between humans and birds.
I would even dare to say that in Oskarshamn’s summer, there is no night. Some say that there are some two or three hours of night, but I always saw some light during those early hours. Bird’s don’t sing though during those hours; I think they are asleep. I would then wake up around 3:30am to record them. At 6AM, when people begin to wake up, the birds retreat and their singing fades out.
The following recordings which were made at the Chingaza Paramo, two hours from Bogotá, were part ofthe postproduction of the short-film “Teiko”. In the film, we managed to build a soundscape that showed a Paramo far from being silent, but rather as a place of wind moving through the mountains, dynamic creeks, and a biosphere that approximates to the actual sound a visitor would experience. This comprehensive soundscape, with all its subtleties and levels, eloquently portrays this little region in the Andes Mountains of South America.
In the morning, the Samper Mendoza Plaza in Bogota, become the connecting point between rural and urban Colombia. The smell of lemongrass, mint, cider and chamomile arrives with the trucks coming down from the mountains. Their sound slowly replaced by the sound of carts and trolley, the music from small radio speakers, the voices negotiating until dawn.
“The sounds uttered by birds offer in several respects the nearest analogy to language” - Charles Darwin from The Descent of Man
I liked how in Honda, the bird songs and the everyday life of its inhabitants interacts. The recordings made there show the harmony that presents itself to me as a peaceful aesthetics.
When we visited the Colombian Llanos Orientales, we wanted to look at the soundscape through an acousmatic lense to understand the relation light/darkness. We went through the Casanare Department from the Arauca border to the Meta River.
It is important to understand how knowledge and traditions are transmitted in this region of Colombia to approach the concept of darkness. The night gives the visitor the acousmatic experience - where the act of listening is the only reference to the landscape and the only connection to the culture.
The relation between humanity and nature is perceived in a different way to our common modern notions, where it is usually perceived through the lense of technology or artifact. Science has dissected natural phenomena, away from interpretation, and drawing a line between the natural and the artificial. The indeterminacy in this distinction can also be found in art history and its idealizing of nature through the different forms of representation.
How can exalting nature lead to an stylization that proposes specific allegories in what is studied and portrayed?
When we manipulate reverb, we modify spacial dimensions of sound movement, altering the reflection distance of the wave that results in a perceptual transformation of space. However if we think of the biggest reverberation as a place with no reflection, the sound effect does the complete opposite: it shrinks space dimensions.
The sound of fireworks in Puente el Canoero in the Cusiana River displays the infinity of space.
I made this recording on Lake Shore Drive in Chicago, where the sound of the wind is the same sound of cars passing. For recording this, I placed myself on a pedestrian tunnel near the lake. Over me, the cars passed by, while below me, lake Michigan flowed by.
“El sonido es esto: ese vaivén en el que algo se ha movido. <<Aliento inmenso de la mar.>> En francés no es difícil oír <<de la madre>> [mer: mar: mère: madre] e imaginar una respiración cercana y gigantesca. Pero este <<aliento inmenso>>, ¿no podría ser también la imagen escotomizada, por parte del durmiente, de su propia y tan cercana respiración? El aliento de la mar y del durmiente serían una misma cosa. Así Hugo terminaría su poema mediante una confrontación especular entre el poeta y el cosmos. Cuando no hago ningún esfuerzo por volver a proyectarlo hacia fuera, ¿el sonido esta dentro de mí? Todo ello, esos sonidos de voces, de herramientas, de caballos , de campana, ¿no podrían estar tramados dentro de mí, contenido dentro de mi respiración interna de la misma manera que el aliento marino –imagen invertida del mío- trama, engloba y absorbe, en su caída al modo de Hugo, todos los demás ruidos.” - Michel Chion