somewhere a field

  1. One of the most distinctive aspects of the soundscape at Fortescue has been the passing trains on the mainline between Exeter St.Davids and Tiverton Parkway. The line passes just to the West of Stoke Canon and then heads North-East passing under the A396. This video was taken on 16042013. http://somewhereafield.tumblr.com

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somewhere a field

SARU

"Make an effort to exhaust the subject, even if that seems grotesque, or pointless, or stupid. You still haven’t looked at anything, you’ve merely picked out what you’ve long ago picked out.”
(Georges Perec; Species of Spaces; 1974)

somewhere a field'…


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"Make an effort to exhaust the subject, even if that seems grotesque, or pointless, or stupid. You still haven’t looked at anything, you’ve merely picked out what you’ve long ago picked out.”
(Georges Perec; Species of Spaces; 1974)

somewhere a field' is a research project exploring the soundscape, and the use of sound-making devices, in a rural site in the parish of Netherexe, Devon. The former border between the Hundreds of Wonford and Highridge runs across the site, and is now the boundary between the Parishes of Netherexe to the North and Bramford Speke to the South. The site consists of five fields and an area known as 'rough marsh' that runs next to the River Exe. The fields are bordered by the river on three sides and even on a casual inspection it is possible to see evidence of the changing course of the river with old river beds and disused channels. You can also see culverts cutting through the embankment of a disused railway line and providing evidence of former streams and tributary channels of the Exe.

The fields are part of Fortescue Farm and I am exploring them with the kind permission of the farmers Ed and Jilly Greed. Each of the fields has a name and on my first visit I spent much of my time in 'first marsh' nearest to the farmhouse listening to the sound of the river in flood from above and below; the sound of rubber on asphalt as cars travel along the A396 between Rewe and Stoke Canon; birdsong and the sound of an excavator moving soil and rubble to the South near Stears Cottage and the Exe Valley Way; and the sound of trains as they pass along the mainline that heads North from Exeter and lies to the West of Stoke Canon.

I will be visiting the site regularly in the coming months investigating the soundscape; making field recordings with hydrophones and microphones; exploring the use of sound-making devices including turntables, radios, instruments, bows and transducers; listening to the vibrating sounds of the soil with geophones; and most of all attempting to exhaust the place, to give it my closest attention. Working with me on the project will be violinist and improvisor Emma Welton, artists Felicity Ford, Anna Best, Shirley Pegna, Mike Blow and Charlotte Heffernan, improvisor Angharad davies and composers Paul Newland and James Saunders.

'somewhere a field' is supported by the Sonic Art Research Unit (SARU) at Oxford Brookes University. The project blog is here: http://somewhereafield.tumblr.com

Paul Whitty 26032013

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