In February of this year, Stuart Fowkes from the website Cities and Memory sent out an open call for sound artists to take part in his latest project. The idea started from a question:
What is the relationship between photography and sound? In today’s visually-dominated culture, how can we use sound to respond to what we see around us?
Stuart first asked for photographs, and received 100 from six continents and more than 30 countries. Those images were then made available for sound artist to create a piece based on one of them.
I responded to the open call and found myself immediately attracted to Mala Foar’s image:
I found the shot very soothing but also unsettling.
The sunrise, the clouds drifting, and the bird made me pause and relax. But the fact that the photo is upside down brought another dimension to it.
Before working on the track, I spent a lot of time with the image, letting a story unfold in my imagination. I pictured the scene and music, and when I had the track in mind, I began composing. I worked with a lot of field recordings and Roli Lightpad Block to create the feeling the image left with me. When composing, I seldom looked at the photo, relying on my feelings and memories of it to guide the track.
I imagined a gap through time. The bird would be the messenger and anchor, bringing the observer into another era. Beyond the gate, I pictured a palace or a mansion, and people of the past listening to music. Gradually, the sun would rise enough to light up the park, and the spell would be broken with a beat of the bird’s wings. The park was just a park. The magic of dawn replaced by everyday life and the need to leave the bench for work.
Field recordings from Freesounds.org:
- Magpie: wings flapping by digifishmusic
- Agnus dei ver 2.0 cathedral by klankbeeld
- Bird flying away by flashdeejay
- Bus arrive suburban street get on doors close pull away by mzui