A grove of poplar trees sits atop an embankment overlooking the St. Lawrence River. As wind picks up off the water, it rushes through the leaves, agitating them from a flat chatter into a roar.
Sound Field is an intervention that listens to the roar of this forest and whispers back.
This project investigates the soundscape that results as the distinctions are blurred between the natural/artificial, point-source/sound-mass and micro-sound fragments/long-duration tones.For us, to consider the sound of landscape is to consider the sound-field: sound-events emanating from multiple points distributed across space.
Employing an array of small speakers and amplifiers, slowly shifting and changing sounds are dispersed to an intimate listening area beneath the tree canopy. Simple anemometers spin as wind pushes past them, reacting to changing site conditions. Changes in wind speed and direction are translated into subtle changes in the broadcasted sounds. A conversation develops as the trees whisper back and the electronic sound field changes in response. An open-ended listening experience is generated that is intimately connected with the landscape. The Sound Field is traced with multiple pathways allowing the listener to drift through the site listening to a woven fabric of sound.
We have developed a recorded sound material and feedback system that results in a sonic composition equal in length to the festival – a duration of nearly 129,600 minutes. The garden becomes a site for performance as artists and musicians explore this responsive environment – creating sounds to be manipulated and changed by the site itself.
Sound Field was presented at the Jardins de Métis, festival international de jardins in Grand-Métis, Québec for three consecutive summers from 2007 until 2009.
In collaboration with Steve Bates.
All-weather electronics design and construction by BASH
Furniture Design by jake moore.
© 2019 Douglas Moffat