über den hörwert

zum deutschen Text

In 1999 I was invited to participate in a ‘Land-Art plain air’ in the Mueritz-National Park in Germany, north of Berlin. Previous to this invitation, since the early 1970's I had been developing site-specific concerts, performances and installations, following my continuous interest in the relationship between sound and the environment.
Over all those years I came to realize that whatever I do and wherever I work there already is sound that is inherent to the situation. Following from that understanding, for the plein air in 1999 I wrote :”the national park does not need me – this place has it’s own sounds... “
HOERWERT I / pages from the drawing book

But, of course, this matter is more complex:
because, even if there is sound
–do we hear?
–and, if we hear, do we actually listen?
–and the next step: do we value what we hear????
since I asked this questions a very important part of my work became dedicated to find potential answers.
HOERWERT IV Red Gallery / Hull-UK

I started a series of work under the title “über den hörwert” ('about the value to listen / of listening').
In investigative performances and installations in the UK, in Thailand, Singapore, Iceland, Switzerland, Germany, Finland, Greenland, in urban and rural locations I no longer add sounds to wherever I work, but I research methods of capturing the sounds of an environment and the possibility to communicate the findings to an audience. The communicative aspect of art (an element that is integral part of art) becomes a core component of the presented / published work.
HOERWERT V 'Urwald vor der Stadt' Saarbruecken - G

please scroll down to see a list of ‘the surplus value of sounds / ueber den hoerwert’ project since 1999

In April 2004 I was successful in bidding for an AHRC Research Fellow in cooperation with the University of Salford. This Fellowship terminated on August 31st 2007.
This research fellowship was a continuation of my curiosity to investigate sounds / sites and communication. It might be appropriate to include here a summary of my research question:
This project examines the proposition that sound is a valuable medium for recording and interpreting physical and social landscapes and will be a project to use sound as a sculptural medium for the interpretation of locations. The research will gather sound recordings, photographic evidence, interview data and documentation from a diverse range of sites. Aspects to consider in the analysis include:
-Sounds of water in its various states
-Wind over different surfaces
-Mutual influences of site-specific sounds and the inhabitants of the sites
-The cultural production of sound
-Environmental, historical, social and acoustic contexts.
The salient question is, can sound function as an analytical tool for the interpretation of physical and social landscapes? For the purposes of the project there are separate processes of sound generation that are recognized as significant to the identity of a single site. Sound is sourced from naturally occurring interactions of the elements with the physical features of the landscape. Then again, sound is caused by a social presence at a location and may therefore be cultural, environmental and economic in origin. The interface, composition and structure of collected sounds and audio interpretations is potentially representative of a specific site or location.

During my research I visited
-Lapland, the Ivalo Municipally (200 miles north of the Polar Circle) - March 2005
-the glacier region in Central Switzerland - July 2005
-the Upernavik Municipally in West Greenland - March 2006
-various locations in the South and East of Iceland - September 2006
-the island of Vatersay (Outer Hebrides)
Kullorsuk Greenland

In pursuit of my research I gathered a wide variety of data including Sound Recordings, Drawings, Writing and Photography. In October 2007 the first results of my research was published by the Christoph Kerber Verlag in Germany.
Since then I have developed refined methods and ways of how to respond to the sounds of a site and how to “capture” them. The media I use include sound recordings, drawing, writing and photography. However and not to my surprise, I also had to accept that there seems to be not one singular valid system in doing so. I have not found the ONE way of representing a site through its sound that is appropriate to the volatility and the uniqueness of site specific sounds. I understand that this might never be achieved in full.

 surplus so far