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.
In our previous meeting we discussed our ideas for the SISE group project, we favoured basing our sense of place project on a city tower block. Previous Meeting. During the week we tried to arrange to meetup and recci some locations and this proved difficult for people to commit to.
We finally managed to arrange a couple of hours this morning and we met up at the tower blocks in Redcliffe Bristol. We immediately discovered a problem accessing the site and had to resort to gathering material around the grounds of the tower blocks. We got some interesting images and could visualise how the project might work if we were able to get access to the flats.
In our tutorial we discussed our problems and discussed how we should try and gain access to the site and engage with residents who might be happy and interested to help out in the project. I think it’s fair to say that there was a struggle getting motivated, especially as it was proving difficult to meet up as a group and we discussed this briefly.
Along with discussing the tower block ideas we also discussed my continued interest in doing a recce of Avonmouth motorway bridge and myself and David agreed to do a recci in the afternoon just to vary our options if we still encountered issues with access and motivation. During the tutorial Kathy kindly loaned me one of her home made contact mics along with a waterproof mic because I was interested in capturing obscure environmental sounds, we took this mic along to the bridge with us.
When we visited the bridge it immediately felt like it would be an ideal place for our project, there was a vast array of audio and image opportunities and little restriction. It was surreal to see a housing estate split up so abruptly by a huge structure and left me wondering what it must be like to live in this locations. There was an OAP crossing a pedestrian crossing that seemed to lead nowhere and all around the light was blocked out by giant supports and scaffolding clad beams. Under the bridge there was nothing but gravel and rocks and immediately next to it were houses with gardens, trees and even birds and it felt like a huge contrast in a matter of a few metres and this was something that really interested me.
We captured a number of images to show to the rest of the group and also headed up the bridge and fixed the contact mic to the floor to experiment with sound options. The sounds I gathered of the cars crossing a metal join on the bridge really inspired me and I could see how it could be used in a project.
We fed back our material to the group via facebook and are currently awaiting peoples thoughts on where we should base our final project. Although I agree with the concept of the tower block location I think based on our current speed of progress we wouldn’t have time to contact people and set up a situation where we could complete the project to a good standard. Using the bridge we could visit at any time and not necessarily in a group and combine our material to create a pretty good standard of work.
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.
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.
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:
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
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.