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Audio perception in nonhuman spaces

Updated: Nov 7, 2021

Whilst volunteering as a "Lookerer" (assistant shepherd) on chalk land sites around the edges of Brighton and Hove, I utilise these, and other similar spaces like church yards, as places for encounter and alliance with nonhuman animals - as part of a new and ongoing sound perception project that I'm currently work on. For Deleuze and Guattari "it's in the domain of the symbiosis that bring into play beings of totally different scales and kingdoms" and these spaces offer that opportunity.

My audio perception work opens up a vulnerability to accessing a different kind of duration and a sensitivity to sound where one is fully present and my self awareness is open to the environment.

My intention is to allow time to become obsolete and to experience something outside human mode and enter an alternative duration. I want to become landscape - the environment. I want to avoid thinking about what it is I'm doing, as that then positions me back as a subject in relation to the object - back in the binary situation where nothing new can happen or be experienced... I don't want to look at it as representation but just to approach the experience as a process. What art is capable of doing is expressing without representing and that's my hope with listening.

Some days, I afford myself tools and equipment with which to capture sound... pens, pencils, paints, microphone and camera. Here is some mark making from sounds experienced in Edburton Church Yard.

Listening to the environment requires an embodied approach... letting your muscles relax; focusing on your slow and easy breathing - taking deep breaths; keeping mind chatter or random thoughts at bay, and over time your internal noise quietens. Allow your ears to become attentive to sounds and focus on individual acoustics - don't try to identify these, just listen to the formation, rhythm and quality; and allow yourself to be transported out of your humanness.

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