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Documenting sound installations

2005-12-07

For some years now I’ve been doing a series of sound installations in collaboration with other artists mainly visual artists. For a large part the installations have been presented in various galleries. I’ve always found it difficult to document the installations. Visually it generally works well to use video as I’ve often been collaborating with artists using video as a medium. But I find the audio part to be really difficult. I’ve generally been using multi-speaker setups of various kinds to position the audience inside the sound. Reducing the sound image to stereo is already a major reduction of the impression you’ll have of the sound as compared to being at the site. In addition the audio recorded at the gallery space while the installation is running use to be completely useless containing a lot of disturbances and noise. My sound installations generally work with low volumes as I often like working with sound that is barely perceptible. If I instead do a stereo mixdown of the sound the sound on the documentation of course is better but I’m also loosing any sensation of the sound being related to or in the room. Thus when watching the documentation it is a much more detached experience than if I’m using a recording from the space.

So I’m wondering: Are there anyone else working on sound installations that have found better ways to approach this?

Thanks
Trond


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