TAKING SOUNDINGS A COMPOSERS` INVESTIGATIONS INTO TECHNOLOGIES OF NAVIGATION

3 03 2009

By YOLANDE HARRIS

Taking Soundings places musical composition and sound art in a space of navigation and landscape. It suggests that technologies of navigation contribute to forming our relationship to the natural environment. Through the media of sound, moving image and space, the research contemplates the artistic implications of navigation through a technological position of motion, instability and noise. This empirical approach highlights the contrasts between a bodily experience of a physical environment and technologies of invisibility and intangibility. Sound, in the meeting of its physical and musical guises, is the primary catalyst.

As a composer I advocate that musical composition can benefit from stepping outside its own formal systems in order to investigate how sound can operate within the larger context of image and space. Beginning with the musical score, which does not contain sound but encodes potential interpretations by a performer within its notation, I use this interpretative gap between image and sound to drastically expand the idea of the score. Building on my other formal training in architecture and moving image, I initially looked into sound in relation to landscape and new technologies, then focused on navigation techniques. Much like a score, these presented spatial and temporal concepts with a direct physical relationship to the person navigating. It also created a discourse around the map, chart, trace and the various levels of notated or linear images in relation to the environment.In attempting to chart as carefully as I can an illusive area between sound, image and space as we actively make it, or physically compose it, I take on the complex influences of technologies.

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