What is landscape but a map of human activity past and present?
Can place be investigated through sound?
Do past lives and past events leave sonic traces and how can we hear them in the present?
Using field recordings, interviews and archive materials ‘The Hebrides Suite: mapping the islands in sound’ explores aspects of island life past and present through the medium of composed sound.
Sound, like memory, can be fleeting and ephemeral no sooner than is it heard it has gone. Recording offers the opportunity to materialise sound and make it suitable for analysis, study and creative use and re-use. But who decides what or who gets recorded or what or who gets remembered?
Recordings both make and are memories – ghostly traces of the past remaining in time and space. These traces of the past echo and reverberate through language, place-names, family stories, song and the sounds of the natural world to form a sonic background to the present.
The Hebrides Suite: Mapping the Islands in Sound consists of three eight channel sound works and a large wall piece which maps the Uists according to field recordings made, and places mentioned, in the interview and archive materials used in the compositions.
‘Sandy Jaffas’ (2015) one of the three sound pieces, was commissioned this for this exhibition and made in collaboration with the S2 Gaelic class from Sgoil Lionacleit in Benbecula, members of the Comann Eachdraidh Uibhist a Tuath (North Uist Historical Society) and South Uist Historical Society and supported by Museum nan Eilean, London College of Communication and CRiSAP (Creative Research in Sound Arts Practice).