October 9

Zsolt Sőrés / Residency in A4

Soundwalk – Citywalk – Walkscape: Artistic Transformation of The City Space

The residency project Soundwalk – Citywalk – Walkscape: Artistic Transformation of The City Space in Bratislava searches for a new evaluation of architectural spaces from the perspective of acoustics both in a ”physically” and ”poetically”. The physical aspect of the soundwalk is a walk with a focus on listening to the environment. The audio tour create hyperreal, immersive experiences that allow the listener to explore an often familiar world in new ways.

My project is also an hommage to the great Slovak experimental music composer and intermedia artist, one of the key figures of contemporary music and sound art in East-Europe, Milan Adamčiak (16th December 1946 – 16th January 2017) with whom I have been a chance to work together few times during the last fifteen years. In this regard my piece is a sound based intermedia piece consists of conceptual art, field recordings and music concrète, electroacoustic music and sound installation art. Based on Adam iak’s graphic score Chodecké kusy (Walker’s Pieces, 2001) and his two unpublished collages called Vandrovné roky (Wanderer Years, 1962) I create a virtual sound travelling through certain and significant public places in Bratislava. One of the main inspiration for Adam iak was John Cage: when he was in Perugia in 1992, he was asked by John Cage to perform in his intermedia music composition Music Walk (1958). In this historical context – follow the dates of Adamčiak’s (1962, 2001) and Cage’s (1958, 1992) pieces – I focusing the ”music & poetry” aspects of the soundwalk in time, and „the sound of the space” in space as well.

The audible experience of space and sound exists simultaenously; each communicates its own message; each has its own language; each influences the other. Most people focus on how spatial acoustics changes sound , ignoring the reverse direction: sound makes the contents and geometry of a space audible. The acoustic properties of a space interact with sound sources in a dual way. On the one hand, the ”poetry of a soundwalk” is concealed how sound allows us to experience spatial acoustics directly. We hear the emptiness of an uninhabited house, the depth of a cave, the nearness of a low hanging ceiling, the refinement of an office with expensive carpets, and the density of a city with cavernous avenues. Spatial acoustics produces dozens of audible cues that can be detected, decoded and interpreted, and when listeners attend to those cues, they are engaging in ”auditory spatial awareness.” Those audible cues can produce emotional responses, such as elevated intimacy.

Cues can influence behaviour, such as choosing a distance for aural privacy; cues can be perceived as recognizable sounds in themselves, such as echoes and reverberation; cues can be experienced as a manifestation of the spatial geometry, such as spatial volume or remote walls; cues can be experienced as an extension of sound sources, such as an organ in a church… What I would like to add in this almost 60 years long hidden, conceptual and emblematic process of the Cage–Adamčiak ”poetic contribution” is find and working in a new urban environment (in space) and create the ”utopian blues” of this decades long artistic travellings (in time). The soundwalk will be a reminiscence both of the past, present and a possible future not as just a sound- and music piece but a possibility of the new relationship between us and our personal, public and urban environment. During the realization process I working together with artists and composers from Bratislava.

I also want to release a summary/final walkscape audio material about how new perspectives of an interactive art form – the soundwalk / citywalk – can effects/transforms our social life ”sense” in the light of our”ferial” experience in Bratislava into something else, something more ”transcendental”. Up until the mid twentieth century, a musical space was a single environment for both listeners and performers who shared a common social space. In my experience today, by splitting the creation of music from the listening experience, we now have multiple unrelated spaces and shifts in time. Music can be created in a recording studio, and spatiality is added with specialized signal processing equipment.

Listening is distributed across a wide range of environments, from the home theater to portable headphones. This split also decouples temporal and spatial spreading. The former is created in the recording studio, and the latter is controlled by the listener’s choice of reproduction technology. The sonic arts nowadays are no longer dependent on a physical space to add the experience of spatiality. Like M. C. Escher’s painting of an imaginary space with interwoven staircases that simultaneously lead upward and downward, aural artists also have the freedom to construct contradictory spaces. Space, and hence musical spatiality, becomes playable, like any musical instrument. When a recording engineer adds spatial attributes to each instrument, he is functioning as an aural architect of virtual spaces. My work will be presented on the four days of the NEXT 2017: 18th Advanced Music Festival Bratislava (22nd, 23rd, 24th and 25th November, 2017) at A4 – priestor súčasnej kultúry. But before the festival I will perform a series of special concerts with collaborators from Finland, Russia, Slovakia and Serbia on 4th and 28th October and 19th November, 2017 under the name Utopian Blues – Experimental Music Outlines at A4 with fragments of my work in progress residency project.

Zsolt Sőrés

Bratislava, September, 2017