SISE Group Project – Avonmouth Bridge Material Gathering

Production Journal

Today, myself and David went to gather more material for our SISE project. Our main aim was to further explore the area to take images back to the rest of the group who have yet to visit and to enable us to think about how we will use the area to best to create our final piece of work.

As well as gathering images in the immediate area, I had the chance to explore the nearby avonmouth village which was somewhere i’d not known about and was a source for some appealing images that showed the tight mix of residential and industrial buildings in the area.

While we gathered a number of fantastic images that will be useable in our pirce, our main aim was to gather some more interesting sounds as we had the use of some better equipment and the contact/underwater mics.

As it was a Sunday it was a lot quieter so we were able to isolate some of the more interesting sounds of the bridge more easily.

The contact mic once again was a really good choice when gathering interesting material. using the contact mic on the metal barriers on top we were able to create a unique sound that could be layered with other sounds to create a portrait or used on its own to highlight some of the more obscure sounds found in this location.

We were interested in testing out the waterproof mic and after a bit of debating about weather we thought the mic was really waterproof (it wasn’t ours to break) we decided to drop it down a water drain in the middle of the bridge. While we couldn’t really hear the results while we were there due to traffic noise, we were pleased to discover that we had recorded something that was quite surreal.

Overall I think the day was highly productive and it gave us some more ideas about what we wanted to include in the project and something more to give to the group to inspire them.


SISE Sound Individual Project Initial Recordings

For my individual SISE sound project I have decided to experiment using my kitchen to create a sense of space. I spend a lot of time working on my my computer in my kitchen and have noticed how many sounds there are constantly in the background  while I work.

I wanted to capture these sounds and build layers of them so to give a sense of place. I also wanted to amplify the sounds to represent a sense of overbearing stress on a persons concentration when trying to work in such an area.

Some of the sounds I captured will not be useful for my project but I captured them because they sounded interesting and i think could possibly used to start my own library of sounds that I could use in future projects.


I particularly liked my recordings of my freezer. I’ve nicknamed it ‘The Lonely Freezer’ because of the depressing sound the door makes when opening. On my recording internally of the freezer if you listen carefully you can also hear ice being formed on the mic which I found fascinating while initially experimenting with sound.

Below is a link to the full playlist of sounds I captured.

Research Sound Sculpter – Bill Fontana

Bill Fontana, initially a composer but I think his recent work ties in with the work we have been concentrating on in our SISE project in terms of creating a sense of place. Fontana became interested in exploring how every day acoustics of the world can become musical. He has recorded a number of sound portraits around the world. Fontana presented the installation ‘Vertical Water’ in New Yorks Whitney museum in 1991, this sculpture involved the use of sound taken from Niagara falls played through speakers placed in the concrete facade of the museum Different frequencies were played from different speakers placed around the wall. The sound of the falls created an effect that masked out the general sound of the street.

“ Fontana’s sound environments renew our awareness of the places we inhabit and the
powerful role sound plays in both our sense of self and memory. Fontana’s work is
predicated on a sophisticated investigation into how we perceive sounds in the world.
He has created a series of compelling projects that subtly treat the interplay between the
origins of sounds and the contexts in which we perceive them, causing the viewer to
become conscious of himself and his senses as he hears and perceives anew the world he
John Hanhardt, Guggenheim Museum

This is the most inspirational soundscape for me so far by Bill Fontana of San Franciscos Golden Gate Bridge.  I was thinking of using bridges in my project an I think it would be really interesting to create something like this and relate it to images of the bridge.

The images put the audience at the location and we can relate to the sounds but without them (and with them to a point) the sounds are very unnerving especially the sound of the fog horn which also reminds me of the communication between the spaceship and scientists in Steven Spielberg’s ‘Close Encounters’ movie from  1977

SISE Sound Task 5 – Editing Captured Sound

Task 5 – Editing the captured sound

Following on from our sound capture session I set about editing my sound to put together a sound portrait of the Arnolfini arts centre.  I first did a short test on the two sounds we took outside on the harbour side of the man sawing wood and boats bobbing in the water. It was surprising that when mixed together it does create a life like ambient sound track and I can see how the atmospheric sound in the harbour adds a realistic dimension to the close up sound we got of the sawing wood.

I used the editing programme to mix together some of the sounds we took in the Arnofini centre. On listening back to the sounds there was a lot of gain in the recordings which is something to consider on my next task. There is also a lot of background noise in the close up recordings. I think using a shotgun mic to get better directional sound would be more appropriate for recording of close up audio.

I mixed the recordings to create a snapshot from a perspective of somebody walking into the art centre and taking the lift to different floors. I began with the harbour sound and the sliding doors. There is ambient sound and footsteps as the subject walks to the left. The close-up sounds of the lift announcements worked well and the sudden closing of the doors did a great job acting as cuts for the sound to change.   Think the mixing between the lift  and he coffee shop was the best example of a change in sound and listening back I think I gives a realistic interpretation of the type of sound you would hear in this situation.

SISE Sound – Task 1-4 Location Listening Exercise

SISE: Location Listening Exercise

Task 1 & 2 – Reading the location.

For Task 1 & 2 of this exercise myself and Anthony decided to visit the Arnofini arts centre at Bristol harbour side. The choice for this location was initially spurred on by sound. As we walked past scouting for locations we noticed the sound that was coming from the opening and closing of the electronic doors, we discussed the benefits of recording in an enclosed environment and having more consistent access to sounds so we went in and asked for permission to record which was granted by the centres marketing manager.

Inside, the Arnolfini had a mixture of different sound characteristics. There were some rooms that were large open spaces with hard floors, some small carpeted rooms that offered a different set of acoustics and there was a coffee shop that had a lot of background noise. In the uncarpeted rooms the sound was generally cleaner and there was a lot of spill coming in from other areas. Carpeted rooms were more muted with sounds confined to that space and a softer sensation.


General impressions of the atmospheric sounds were consistent to what I would expect to hear in an arts centre or museum with large open spaces with minimal coverings, the sound of the coffee shop leaking through to the art space reminded me of a train station concourse, maybe a London underground ticket hall while the sounds from the carpeted reading rooms upstairs in the building reminded me of an office with the light buzz of electrics and the overhead air conditioning being more noticeable through the false ceiling.

Task 3 & 4 – Listing and Gathering of Sounds.

Having taken a walk around the building w ban the task of listing and recording of sounds. We wanted to get a mix of atmospheric sounds and close up recordings of particular sounds that we could layer over an atoms track to create a snapshot of the sound generated from the Arnolfini.

List of sounds:

  • Sliding Doors
  • Entrance Hall
  • TV Exhibit (static sound?)
  • Footsteps walking around the main exhibit space
  • Sound of lift (interior/exterior/announcements)
  • Reading room general atmos sounds
  • Sound of theatre room with exhibit playing in the background
  • Coffee shop
  • Old slide projector

We returned to the Arnofini to capture our sounds and labelled them as we went according to the file number so they could be easily referenced later in the edit.



On our way back we also noticed workers sawing wood on the harbour side so we asked if we could record it close up as it may be useful in the future if we wanted to create a database of sounds for use in our projects.