Compilation of field-recordings contributed by CENSE members to the bi-monthly radio show Symptoms of evidence on Punctum radio.
Series is focused on bringing the field of acoustic ecology closer to the local listeners and interested individuals, introducing field-recordings as a sonic tool for examining our sound environment and enabling us to gain a deeper knowledge on the consequences of environmental processes, together with possible solutions retrieval. further info on the network can be found on the webpage cense.earth
Yesterday, I went out of my apartment into the streets of an unknown city; one largely without people. Each year, Prague welcomes millions of visitors. They swarm the attractions, they choke the streets. They guzzle the beer and drop wads of cash on tasteless trifles. Some swoon at the complete Baroqueness of the city; some leave graffiti on the precious monuments. Sometimes, they carelessly laugh at things taken seriously by Praguers, and sometimes they stand in awe at things the locals find banal. Today, it is as if a tornado has come and swept them all away.
Not just the visitors, but the locals, too. By government decree, beginning at midnight tonight, anyone without a valid reason to be out in public must stay at home. It is for our own safety, and the safety of others.
Yesterday evening, I went out one last time before the curtain was drawn. The planet Venus, bright enough to cast a shadow, hangs in the northern sky. Light from a corner večerka (shop with late hours) spills out onto the street as the shopkeeper prepares to close. I stop, not far from Loreta. Standing in the empty streets of Nový Svět (New World), I hear the faraway bell of St. Vitus Cathedral in Hradčany strike eleven o’clock.
What new world awaits us when all of this is over?
The village Tescani (Bacău department in Moldova, North-East of Romania) has a weekly market, one of the only regular markets in the region. It’s a peasant market that sells fruits and vegetables, grain and seeds, livestock – poultry, pigs, horses and cows, sometimes hunting or shepherd dogs –, farming tools, mechanical parts for different machineries, clothing, house and kitchen stuff, from ceramic dishes and pots to bed sheets and towels. Opened every Saturday, the market is serving tens of villages around. It’s a big and crowded place, with folkloric music on the radio, grilled meat, and cheap beer. The wooden carriages pulled by horses are passing through the alleys with merchandise, and the sound of the horses’ bells are mixing with the shouting of the sellers, the lively conversations, and the occasional animal sounds.
Because of the sanitary measures imposed by the pandemic, the sale of livestock was prohibited in the market, but also the organizing of the big peasant fairs common in the fall in many regions of the country, usually with fixed dates around religious holidays.
The present recording is made the day before the second Saturday of September, in the late afternoon, a few hours before the trucks and carriages with merchandise were starting to install in the covered side, dedicated to veggies, or building stands according to their needs. Closed with a gated fence and defended by two dogs, the place was suspended in between utility and vacancy.
It's a recording of a CNC mill machining an aluminum radiator. Since the radiator is machined from a prefab material with fine fins, it tends to resonate during the operation. Especially so, when the tool is passing through the fins' pointy end. At the beginning and the end of the recording you can hear a person launch and stop the mill. Apart from those moments, there's no one in the room with the machine. It's empty in a sense that there is no intelligent being in the room. Still, the machine is working and it creates a specific acoustic environment.
I think that the way CNC machines operate underlines the theme of emptiness quite well. Numerical control code (g-code) is nothing but a set of instructions. In contrast to computer code there is no decision making involved, no algorithms. Line by line the CNC machine is doing what it's been told.
By the end of the recording you can also hear the milling cutter break. The load was too great and the vibrations strained it to the point of giving in.
Recording done in an empty fridge (deep freeze) perfectly correlates with the topic of emptiness. I put the recorder into the fridge (for a short amount of time) with the expectation that this beautiful sound, that cannot be heard from the outside, would be caught. And yes, this is the result - pure generative drone music.
Končiny – literally a neck of the woods. Frosty November evening in the Krkonoše foothills. As the human inhabitants of a typical timbered cottage came out to greet the setting sun, the living room was empty. The space is filled only by a silent dialogue between an insatiable flame bursting in the tiled stove and the old guardian of time, who sleepily repeats the same thing over and over again…
This emptiness is presumably not about empty space or an absence of agency. Nor is it a lack of presence or an affective emptiness. This emptiness it is not that of tone or emotion or a certain touch or tenderness. This emptiness is personalized: it has a sender and a receiver. But it is supposedly an emptiness of meaning.
(situation) My friend Clément is trying to read me a text in my language, not knowing the alphabet.
Anna Sprint (Kyiv, Ukraine)
The village of Kopisty is an extinct village in the Most region. It must have been razed to the ground as a result of ever-expanding brown coal mining. These places are abandoned, they are places
devoid of people, there is a sense of emptiness that is enhanced by the pipes crossing the landscape. The weight of a kind of loneliness without people, that has shaped the community here, that has shaped the various fates and stories of the people, have been replaced by the sounds of the ashen water and the overhead pipes that this contaminated water stirs.
released February 15, 2022
Lloyd Dunn, Abby Lee Tee, Sara Pinheiro, Anamaria Pravicencu, Anna Kravets, Jakub Malinowski, Toni Dimitrov, Martin Marek, Csaba Hajnóczy, Polina Khatsenka, Tomáš Šenkyřík.