Jan 312014

Screenshot 2014-01-31 12.33.23This video responds to the theme of the exhibition — Earlids. What enables us to focus on listening? And when we DO focus, what do we hear? In this case the act of planting four mute speakers in the snow, a neutral ground, provides an opportunity to capture sound in three ways.

First, this simple gesture focused my own attention as an observer on these objects, connecting my senses to the world of noise around me: the melting snow, the birds, the drone of the exhaust fan from the Thai restaurant. In this case the object is irrelevant, it could have been a hair dryer or a rock, and it would have had the same effect: a narrowing of attention in one perceptual sense that then opened the door for a greater attention in another.

Second, the act of recording opens the senses as well. As Hildegard Westerkamp writes:

The microphone alters listening. The mere comparison between how our ears listen and how the microphone picks up sounds in the environment, brings alerted awareness to the soundscape.

Third, the resulting media — the video, leaves the final act of listening to the viewer/listentener. The questionable nature of the juxtaposition of these speaker-objects and the overlaid soundscape may seem to some unremarkable, it may provoke a series of assumptions about the source of the sound, or it may enliven an interest in a soundscape that was captured at that moment,

John Roach – Focus from John Roach on Vimeo.

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