“Places and traces” by Viv Corringham

Reading Aimilia’s fascinating writings based on Spaces Speak, Are You Listening – a book I found very interesting – I thought I’d write a little bit about the work that I do.

I am particularly interested in people’s sense of place and their relationship with very familiar places.  Much of my work has developed in response to this, especially my ongoing sound project Shadow-walks. This began in 2003 and has occurred in 19 places in USA, Canada, Asia and Europe. It involves three main elements: walking with others, listening to environmental sound, and my own improvised singing.

There are well-known traditional links between walking, singing and the sense of place, such as the Aboriginal song-lines or the Kaluli song paths. Anthropologist Steven Feld studied the Kaluli people of Bosavi, Papua New Guinea and has described their practice of song paths, the poetic song texts that take listeners on a journey through a local area. The philosophy of song paths is that knowing where you are is knowing who you are. Feld’s writings were an important influence in the development of my work.

I became very interested in everyday sounds, inspired by working with composer Pauline Oliveros and learning her method of “Deep Listening”. My fascination with environmental sounds and musical improvisation led me to consider methods of exploring places and interacting with them vocally. My first attempts, in 2002, were called “Vocal Strolls” and became a regular show on London’s Resonance FM radio for a time. Vocal Strolls consisted of wandering through the city while listening to the environment and responding with improvised singing.

Shadow-walks began with the intention of incorporating other people’s experience of place into my work. James Joyce wrote that places remember events and I found this idea very interesting—that everything that happens leaves traces that we might be able to sense. So that if a person walks through certain places repeatedly along the same route, perhaps the ground retains traces of that person’s history and memories. Shadow-walks is an attempt to make a person’s traces, their shadow, audible.

The process of a Shadow-walk is straightforward. I arrive in a new place and ask to be taken on a special walk, one that has been repeated many times and has meaning or significance for that person. While walking together, I record our conversations and environmental sounds. This is followed by a solo walk in which I attempt to sense my previous companion’s traces on the walk and to make them audible through improvised singing in the location. These recordings are then selected and edited to become the final work, the Shadow-walk. Shadow-walks have been shared in various ways: as audio-walks, radio pieces, at listening posts around a town and, most frequently, as sound installations in art galleries. It is very important to me that they are presented in some way in the place where they were made, to the people who shared their special walks with me.

Framework:afield #298 Episode 3 Collected Ear

framework – phonography / field recording; contextual and decontextualized sound activity presented by patrick mcginley

playlist #298: 2010.09.26

this edition of framework:afield, entitled collected ear is the third of four editions produced by members of the world listening project, this one in the u.s. (and not in the uk, as i mistakenly said during the show – sorry andy!) by andy armstrong.

andy says: I tried to focus the show on a somewhat diverse array of raw, relatively unprocessed recordings, calling to attention more personal/unique interpretations of field recording, regardless of fidelity. The idea was to provide you with a seamless conversation between people, objects, and places.

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CALL FOR SUBMISSIONS: framework:afield

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The World Listening Project is seeking submissions for a mini-series of radio programs for framework:afield. Hosted by Patrick Mcginley, framework is a show consecrated to field recording, and its use in composition. Framework:afield is curated and produced by guest artists from around the world. Field recording, phonography, the art of sound hunting; open your ears and listen.

Framework: http://www.frameworkradio.net

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..framework broadcasts:

– sunday, 10pm, london, uk on resonance 104.4fm

– tuesday, 2pm, london, uk on resonance 104.4fm

– wednesday, 12am, thessaloniki, gr on cooradio

– wednesday, 3am, lisbon, pt on radio zero

– thursday, 7pm, lisbon, pt on radio zero

– friday, 1am, brussels, be on radio campus 92.1fm

– saturday, 5pm, south devon, uk on soundartradio 102.5fm

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Episode 1: Sounds You Might Have Heard


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This first edition of the WLP/Framework:afield series was produced by Dave Armstrong/DaveX of the World Listening Project using the submissions of it’s members whose mission was to procure field recordings and field recording-based sound and music compositions exploring the chosen theme sounds you may have heard in all its forms.

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Dave Armstrong/DaveX: cart3@mchsi.com

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[wpaudio url=”http://www.archive.org/download/2010.05.23FrameworkRadio/Framework_May_23rd_2010.mp3″ text=”Framework:afield | WLP | Sounds You Might Have Heard”]

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Episode 2: Urban Archeology


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Long-standing human settlements leave a material record of their past. Can this evidence also exist in sonic form? What soundmaking materials in urban areas contain information about past eras? What data exists in the sonic strata of cities?

From the sounds of resurrected, obsolete equipment, to the echoes of an ancient passageway, to the sound of footsteps treading the same ground others have walked on in ages past, urban areas teem with sonic history.

This edition of Framework was produced by John Kannenberg of the World Listening Project.

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[wpaudio url=”http://www.archive.org/download/2010.05.23FrameworkRadio/Framework_May_23rd_2010.mp3″ text=”Framework:afield | WLP | Urban Archeology”]

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Episode 3: Collected Ear


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this edition of framework:afield has been produced in the u.s. by andy armstrong, as the 3rd of 4 editions produced by members of the world listening project.

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[wpaudio url=”http://ia700107.us.archive.org/5/items/2010.09.26FrameworkRadio/Framework_September_26th_2010.mp3″ text=”Framework:afield | WLP | Collected Ear”]
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