Black River, Sweden…. Field recording trip sponsored by the Gane Trust.

“Doing something outside the familiar comfort zone, can be a way to dissolve fear, habitual tendencies, loosen reality and self-identities limited borders to knowledge.

Migration has a way of pulling the rug from under one’s feet, as we move into the unfamiliar.   We can choose as a practice, to listen deeply to the unknown, the in-between transitory experiential space inherent within the gap…. opening to what life brings to our practice or we can resist.   Migration within the biome has a purpose, recording the space of the territory’s bio-network, it may reveal to you your inherent wildness”

I am completely astounded that communing with the work took me into Europe to one of the freest, undisturbed forests I have ever been to.  Capturing this biome, a world within a world, was impossible through a series of photographs or recordings, for the body, my body, I now recognise, requires full immersion through geographical placement of the landscape, so that the sense doors are completely open to being, experiencing the presence of the biome in the here and now, where deep listening and profound experience arises.

I realise as an artist, that the work has the capacity to hint or point its audience in the direction of home and what this could signify to be a beginner of the unknown and practices of deep listening.  What is meant as home here, is not a comfortable environment outside of ourselves, more a state of consciousness, a peaceful, clarity of being, being deeply in tune with the natural environment, listening to it and have it hear you in return.  And when I speak of listening, I suggest a listening state that is both spontaneous and directed, internal and external, a presence of being, aware of itself, a natural state that needs movement and at the same time stillness, a paradox.  As if by magic this paradox arrives at its own pace and is a deep generosity and gift of the natural world, if you can slow down enough to sense and receive it.

The journey into Sweden had numerous significant moments, from leaving home at 5am in the morning full of fear and anxiety, to returning back into Bath with such a sensitivity that my skin felt as if it were on fire, burning from the loudness of its people, hustling and bustling within the cityscape.   However sonically extreme my return, the most advantageous of learnings came through the equipment, namely the Sony PCM M10 and Clippy XLR EM172 microphones (economical version of DPA microphones).

Somehow, through the apparatus of field recording, the placement of the headphones connected to a recording device, connected to microphones, affords one a different space with which to listen, the how of listening changes within the field, connected to the apparatus.  Is this an inherent ability of the natural environment to generate this homecoming?  It undoubtedly is easier to do in such beatific surroundings and I am sure there is some science behind it all, however, I now realise that internal spaciousness can be arrived at within a city, within a sonic practice.  The sonic pollution of a city can be listened to in the exact same way with the apparatus as the birdsong, wind, rivers and oceans.

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