Polly Stanton

Entry #3

18.11.2014

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Over the course of the last few days I have been investigating the two separate pathways of water that flow into the village from the highlands – Pretty Valley Creek and Rocky Valley Creek. The two waterways meet at a confluence before they form one major stream of water that flows into Lake Guy. Spending so much time recording the different aspects of water in changing environmental locations has pushed my practice and technical ability, forcing me to consider the mixing and editing process more than I usually would while in the field. Away from the delicate progression of the highland streams, the larger and faster moving creeks create a blanket of white noise, which on reflection presents little definition to the ear – with the rushing water drowning out many of the subtle qualities of the surrounding environment. Because of this, I’ve had to pay critical attention to the indirect conditions of each area that I’ve recorded. By concerning myself with the shifting aspects of the separate locations, I’ve been able to tease out specific sounds to use as notes or highlights to weave though the individual recordings to create a more defined sense of place.

Lake Guy represents an all-together different space to work in. As the water funnels into the dam the large body of still water reflects the surrounding atmospheres in a different way. Sounds are more reflective and a sense of distance colours the listening experience – the environment feels more contemplative than the rushing action of the valley creeks. The dam wall is also a rich space to explore both sonically and visually. Its brutalist structure juts out in the landscape like a ruined building, casting shadows across the dry creek bed below, while its concrete walls reflect sounds in unexpected ways and places.

With this project I wanted to experiment with using the soundscape as the driving force of narrative, capturing images of the different locations almost as an afterthought to the sound recording. The capturing of sound / image relations in this way is a reversal to the more conventional mode of using sound as a tool to strengthen and emblemise the moving image. Although visual mediums offer an immediate and absorbing spectacle, my interest is in how sound can suggest a more varied experience of place, questioning if the moving image can be presented as the less dominate medium in the interplay between sound and image. In the field it has been a constant push-pull experience between choosing what to film and what to record, when to listen and when to look. It’s felt a little schizophrenic at times, as both mediums demand as much concentration as the other. Fundamentally though, I feel the experience has deepened my appreciation and competence of working in the field with sound and has happily raised more questions and considerations for the next work.