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Talking Field: Listening to the Troubled Site

Budhaditya Chattopadhyay

Abstract The article examines my recent multi-channel sound composition: Decomposing Landscape (2015), inquiring into the complex, nebulous and evolving relationship between sound and site that is thoroughly challenged in the practice of phonography or field recording-based sound artworks dealing with environmentally-troubled sites. Phonography-based compositions and sound artworks are developed through location-aware listening and field recordings made at specific sites and landscapes. The compositional strategy in these works relies on artistic interventions through the intricate processes of field recording and processing of recognizable environmental sounds using multi-channel spatialization techniques. The artistic transformation renders these sounds into a blurry area between compositional abstraction and portrayal of their site-based origins. The question is: how much spatial information is retained and how much abstraction is deployed in these sound artworks? A discussion of this work sheds light on some approaches and a methodology of handling site-specific evidence in sound art production.