Sound laboratory and work in progress
sounding out space 
Ends 05 July 2008
Present place by Matt Green, is the first project of 'sounding out space', a series of explorative projects around aspects of space (architectural, emotional, historical, practical…).
‘sounding out space’ is a series of explorative projects around aspects of space (architectural, emotional, historical, practical…). The 23m² of project space with its public exposure to the street is the object of investigation with a wide range of multidisciplinary approaches; artists, musicians, choreographers, a cat, interior designers, refurbishment people, tenants....
For 'present place, Matt Green writes
The work shall provide thorough documentation of all sonic motifs that pervade and persist within the space: through the walls, through the glass, through the floorboards, through the ceiling. Thus, a critical definition of the visible and invisible character of the subject and the impinging locale can be ascertained.
With the scene understood, an audience will be invited into the space. They shall converse with events that are both real and imagined, present and ghostly. They will explore this phantasmagorical place through a manner that recollects the cinema: where the shop window is to be the screen and the actual and augmenting soundscape provides the soundtrack.
The constructed sonic layer shall be a presentation of what has (through use of the document) and what could (through cinematic sound design techniques) unfold within and around the viewing gallery however mundane or fantastical. "At varying points in the day over the next week I will listen, eyes down, and make notes upon the sound. I will then, in the preceding 15minutes, through use of workmen’s earmuffs, remove the sonic layer and note only upon the visual. Finally I will note upon both together. I will then comment upon the dominant patterns and events."
(Source: Matt Green's daily updated project blog, 8. June ).
To listen to sound samples klick here
Matt Green: Work description
“Present Place” is the culmination of my activity within the PS² project space over a three-week period. This has been an act of both creative sound practice and ethnographic documentation.
The Sound Installation
In total over 8 hours of sound recordings have been assessed. These provide document of the sonic character of the space at varying times of day and differing days of the week. From this catalogue a number of short samples (generally 3 minutes in length) have been created that either account a typical ‘din’ or salient event. These fragments have been collected together and appropriately arranged. The resulting collage is projected back into the space through speakers positioned in reference to the original recording locations.
The projected sound composition is juxtaposed against the present resounding activity within the space. The augmenting and real sound layers exhibit a strong correlation and relation (they are both ‘of’ the same place). The listener is thus easily drawn into creating synthetic connections between the two: they struggle to clarify whether sound is real or a speaker projection, they believe that recorded elements are properties of present events (seen visually) and distrust real sounds that raise above the ordinary, supposing that they are the aesthetic inclusions of the artist. The result is an uncanny experience, one of apprehension, surprise and unease.
In support of the above, the configuration of the installation recollects the cinema: the front window as the screen and the actual and augmenting soundscapes providing the soundtrack. This analogy is continued throughout the presented composition: The sound work has been accented with a series of scenes which form a stark narrative and outline how the space could be, or has been, inhabited. These constructed events, played out in real time within real space, feed the viewers curiosity and provide further incarnations of ‘the uncanny’.
The Audiovisual Analysis
Presented alongside the sound projection is a selection of surveys which account all sonic and visual occurrences observed through the gallery window over 12 minute periods. The audio was annotated first, with the visual removed. The accompanying recorded image was then examined without its soundtrack. The surveys are arranged so that they depict movement over time. The timeline down the centre marks the middle of the windowpane. Events found to the far left of this line were observed to be in this position. Similarly, annotations on the right were observed to be projecting from the right side of the space.
The original expectation of these assessments was to identify the character of the space and it’s street view, providing account of repetitious events (over minutes or over days) and sonic traits (e.g. the rattling of the right window panel upon the passing of large vehicles). However, the surveys expose much more than this: a reading of an audio analysis alongside its respective visual analysis reveals differences in information delivered through each sensual channel, such as events you hear but don’t see. Furthermore, they demonstrate an inadequacy in our language for describing certain sounds when we cannot give reference to a visual form. For example, I found describing the sound of a pram being folded down and placed into a car boot incredibly difficult when assessing only the audio.
(1) Matt Green: 'Present place' , 2008
(2) Kathy Graham: 'Portraits', 2009
(3) Tobias Sternberg: 'Yourself from the outside', 2009
(4) Joanna Karolini: 'Unpriviliged Highs and Lows', 2011
(5) Fiona Larkin: 'Do You Love me Now', 2010/11
(6) Laura Graham: 'THE SPACE in BETWEEN', 2010