the experience
a site-specific sound installation across two sites. Visitors carry small GPS-equipped computers and wear headphones. Sounds play automatically in response to their movements in the landscape. As they move through layer upon layer of responsive sound, “little elsewheres” are grafted onto the landscape in the form of variously local and foreign, synchronous and asynchronous “soundtracks”.

Place is a verb. Place making and the meaning of place, “placings”, unfold as a continuous dialogue between the physical and built environment and its inhabitants. Landscape is a special kind of “placing”. In my past work I have made highly site-specific outdoor installations, where multiple sonic overlays are composed and placed in landscapes such that a coherency exists between the heard and the seen. Through this compositional process, I have framed and interpreted landscapes usually through extensive research and direct engagement with the site, community, and their social, cultural and historical context.

With Elsewhere : Anderswo, I explore an alternative aesthetic where the dislocations that occur in “place making” as an outsider (“ausslander”, “aussenseiter”) are embraced. While the physical place itself still serves as the literal and conceptual “ground” for the work, the sound overlay may seem foreign and out of place, out of sync or registration, as if rendered in crude translation. Interwoven are fragments of sound that evoke highly specific landscapes familiar from television, film, and radio. In these moments sound snaps back into hyper-sync with the site itself, the “non-site” or “non-places” of popular media anchoring otherwise foreign worlds through the dislocations of globalized culture. Elsewhere : Anderswo seeks to engage visitors in a kind of play with place. As in childhood where we readily create a pastiche of place through make-believe, so it is in adulthood when we seek out the familiar in the new, “reading” a landscape in relation to our own prior experience and / or mediated knowledge of it. Idiosyncrasy reigns in these “vernacular landscapes”, patched together unconsciously as memory blurs fact and fiction, real and imaginary, actual and mediated experience. The project brings such landscapes into play through a dialogue between physical landscape and the shared landscape references of globalized media culture. Elsewhere : Anderswo is an experiment in teasing out the internal soundtracks we carry with us, spliced together on the go as we frame what we see as both new and strangely familiar.

links

Oldenburg Botanical Garden

Neuenkirchen

Headphones + GPS-equipped computer


acknowledgments

Special thanks to Sabine Himmelsbach, Bettina Dziembowski and Erik Conrad, my collaborator in all things.