public wednesday

Today, more tech tweaking, and the volumes of the 5 mono tracks are louder. Looping funnies are still happening, but its fine. Today, I have 4 participants recording their voices. It’s been a long day, with lots of running around, and talking a lot about this project. First up is a mother whose child shyly wants to say something, and later in the day she does: we record a very lovely soundbite from Lily Winter.

I meet Shoshana Kessler, one of the directors of Hurstpress, an independent publishing company in Oxford.

We spoke earlier in the week because she had helped the previous group (Empres) to record some poets from Oxford for their soundscape. She had wondered whether I could use some of these recordings too. I said that for this purpose I would not use them, as I wanted people to record specifically for the context of this project, which unfortunately meant that I could not use their recordings (which were great). But she went on and described her work with the independent publishing house, and I was really intrigued. Her love for the paper and the binding of books is really enticing. She showed me some of her books that have been published, small books with beautiful writings in them, and they really are little gems of artworks. I asked her to contribute to my project in the context of what her passion was – you can choose anyone, and yourself, and describe, celebrate the passion and work of this person. Her words described her love for the bindings of books, and the smell of the paper. Very evocative.

The gallery had chosen a photographer to come by to photograph the project over the course of the week. His name was Stu Allsop. A truly warm and empathetic man, who spoke with much beauty for the love for people, and his despair for the unfairness of discrimination and the effects that it had on his friends and family. We spoke for some time, and he slowly relented when I asked if I could record him. This link that you had with this person, the connection you made from the room to bring up this response, and the willingness to act out the process of public speaking: to be heard in the room for the whole week. I really do admire people who come from not wanting to do that, to talking about their response, to gaining a confidence to shout out about the light or the burdens.

My last recording of the day was from a woman from Australia. I completely forgot to ask her name, but she was really interested, and she came back with some stories to tell me. We found a corner of the room where it was the quietest we could find at the time. She had so many stories, but I only needed one. How gutting! So she spoke about her friend who needed her help, who showed so much strength in the adversity of her situation. She ended it by saying that she would do anything for her, for she is everything to her.

I had a really amazing time today, talking to people and really having a candid conversation. How precious to be able to hear a stranger’s intimate network of human endeavours and emotions.

More work to edit voices, and to add them to the composition for the next day. I also added a note that all the voices had to come up even further in levels, because with such a resonant room, it is impossible to really listen carefully.