Thursday, September 14, 2006

Art Act, Number 1


1. Make an audio tape recording of summer evening sounds while walking down a forest trail.

2. Then, listen to this tape (with headphones) in the wintertime while walking down a snow-covered forest trail.

[The words or phrases in bold above can be subsituted with other words and phrases (e.g., make a recording of a heated argument between you and your spouse, and then listen to it while you're relaxing and watching people in the serenity of a neighborhood park; or make a recording of a long extended subdued dinner-table conversation with relatives or guests, and then listen to it while you're riding on a crowded ferris wheel at the local amusement park; etc., etc., etc., etc., the combinations and juxipositions are endless.)]

It's important that it's a recording of your surroundings. And both the recorded sound and the place you choose to listen to the recording must be personal for you.

The art of this act is really in the juxiposition of those two things: what you record, and where you listen to the recording or what you are doing while listening to this recording.

In this way, there is a sense of a foreground (the recorded sounds when listening with headphones) and of a background (the scene you are in or are looking at while you're listening to your recorded sounds).

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Canopenner said...

Some people would say this is a pointless execise Flic.

However those same people are doing this mentally in regards to their own lives on a pretty much constant basis.

Zelda said...

I personally love this idea. It's melancholic. You may be reminded of experiences that you can't have and might miss at that moment, and how things flucuate and change all the time. Obviously, you are not experiencing that present moment with all your senses but as long as you only do this once in a while I think it is mind-expanding. But it might also be confusing. I'll have to try it out. And it needs to be a very good recording.

flic said...

canopenner- How do you know that? If they are doing it, then I would say that that's quite enlightening on their part!

zelda- That's a nice way to look at it. So definitely give it a try. The mere act of doing this exercise is a great example of the huge gap between theory and experience! On the one hand it sounds maybe interesting (or not) in theory, but when you actually do it and experience it, it's really incredible!

Please let me know how it works for you, and what juxiposition of recordings and activities you did!

The Artist said...

What a wonderful idea. Will give it a try. Remember recording environmental sounds at my teacher training college while making a small film. Discovered then the amazing nuances and beauty of such sound. Thank you for your very special comment on my site, with best wishes, The Artist

Canopenner said...


People live their lives everyday ignoring the fact that they will die someday, possibly today.

They blind themselves to this fact with their telivisions, compact disks, finely engineered automobiles and video games.

I think it causes them to lose perspective on whats important in life, The pursuit of truth, enlightenment and living to help their fellow men.

flic said...

the artist- Hey, thanks for stopping by! Nice of you to want to focus on the environmental sounds. Let me know how you set up this art act, and if it did anything for you.

BTW: I very much enjoyed my visit to your blog!

canopenner- I think you're right!

David said...

It is a good exercise, not least because its principles are that of a great discordant workout.

flic said...

david- I like that you mention "great discordant workout." What a nice turn of phrase! Together with the actual exercise, the definition of "discord" is turned into something positive.