Present Place

Site-specific sound installation exhibited at the end of a month long residency within Ps2 Gallery, Belfast in which an in-depth observational study of the space was conducted. In response to the venue’s “Sounding out Space” series. 5 June -5 July 2008.

PS2 gallery is a former shop with a large storefront window, which provides a view onto a busy city centre street. The relationship between the space and the street became the focus of both an observational study and an exhibited installation. Through the act of recording and observation, the study sought to define the gallery in terms of what kind of place it is through approaching its three contexts (i.e. the aural, visual and social). The study also explored the correspondence between sight and sound in the space. This analysis was conceived in response to a call put out by the gallery under the heading ‘Sounding Out Space’.

The installation comprised of two components: a presentation of the findings of the study and a four-channel composition of field recordings captured in the space. The composition was projected into the gallery via four speakers. The audience sat within a small auditorium (i.e. a dedicated seating area) constructed at the centre of the gallery, facing the gallery window. The installation was configured in reference to the cinema, with the window as the cinema screen and the projected and real sounds present in the space, as the cinematic soundtrack.

I anticipated that the audience would either regard the sound composition as being distinct from the real sounds present in the gallery or as being equal to, or indistinguishable from, the gallery’s real sounds. If the composition stood distinct, then I anticipated that the audience would regard the piece as being an additional material documenting my study of the space, providing a catalogue of noteworthy sound occurrences observed over the course of my residency.

The expectation for each component of the installation (i.e. the auditorium, the composition and the exhibited study materials) was that they would inspire and support the audience’s own act of observation, which would match, or even surpass, that which I had done within my prior study of the space.

Series overview: “Sounding out Space” will provide a series of explorative projects which explore aspects of ‘space’ and ‘place’ (architectural, emotional, historical, practical..) of specific focus is the PS2 project space, with its exposure to the street. The space is to be subjected to a wide range of multidisciplinary approaches; artists, musicians, choreographers, interior designers, refurbishment people, tenants…. Each participant will contribute a creative statement toward the constitution of the host locale.