Placing Sound

Do we listen to the place we call home?

How do our memories contribute to this listening experience?

Placing Sound (2019) was my PhD exhibition. It presented a retrospective of my research on how our personal identities contribute to our experience of listening to place. I have conducted numerous soundwalks in Sarajevo and Maglaj (central Bosnia Herzegovina), Aberdeen and Banchory (North-East Scotland) during my research. The recording materials and interviews with the residents of these places were gathered, worked with, and contested within four performance art pieces, documentation of which was presented in the exhibition.

Sound and light penetrate surfaces, create shadows, illuminate and saturate spaces, and possess objects. The documentation aimed to offer an immersive effect reflecting the original experiences of performance art pieces. Sensory abundance offered by multiple voices meet in spaces, walls and corridors, they variously interweave, compete and complement one another.

The ephemeral aspect of sound is extended to the body, the physical container of memory. Soils, pomegranates, walnuts, water, worked on through the body in producing a range of experiences. Soil is collected, displaced, sent to friends, gathered, dug and used for a burial. It accompanies field recordings and interviews, conceptually extending the time limitations of the methods, from minutes, to a human lifetime, and to geological time.

The themes explored in the show touch on a sense of displacement, migrant perspectives, traumatic pasts and the context of ‘the other’ within anglophone cultural backgrounds. The research also aims to offer ways to embrace the complexity of individual and disciplinary contexts.

The work proposes performative action as one of the forms of socially and politically engages sound art. This sound art would recognise the body as a locus of multisensory engagement, incorporating histories and memories situated in place.