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Peter Cusack, Bibi Heybat Oilfield, Baku, Azerbaijan.

Peter Cusack, Mounds Covering Kopachi Village, Chernobyl.

Peter Cusack, Ship's Graveyard, Aral Sea, Kazakhstan.

19.6.2014 at 18:30

Sounds From Dangerous Places: Sonic Journalism

artist(s): Peter Cusack

Recent travels have brought Peter Cusack into contact with some difficult and potentially dangerous places. Most are sites of major environmental/ecological damage; others are nuclear sites or the edges of military zones. The danger is not necessarily to a short-term visitor, but to the people who live there or through the location's role in geopolitical power structures. Some are areas where extreme and hostile conditions have been created, in others regeneration is underway. It is noticeable that environmentally damaged sites can be both sonically and visually compelling, even beautiful and atmospheric. There is, often, an extreme dichotomy between an aesthetic response and knowledge of the 'danger', whether it is pollution, social injustice, military or geopolitical.

Places include the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone, Ukraine; the Caspian Oil Fields near Baku, Azerbaijan; 'London Gateway' the new port on the River Thames, UK, where massive dredging severely damages the underwater environment; the Aral Sea, Kazakhstan, which is now being partially restored after virtually disappearing due to catastrophic water misuse. Many field recordings and photographs were made at these sites. Interviews and background research give additional information.

These, and other, projects explore what Peter Cusack now calls the practice of sonic journalism - the audio equivalent of photojournalism. Sonic journalism is based on the idea that valuable information about places and events is revealed through their sounds and that careful listening will give insights different from, but complementary to, visual images and language. Sounds From Dangerous Places asks "What can we learn of dangerous places by listening to their sounds?" The talk will include field recordings and visual images from the places visited.

http://sounds-from-dangerous-places.org/

images

Peter Cusack, Bibi Heybat Oilfield, Baku, Azerbaijan.

Peter Cusack, Mounds Covering Kopachi Village, Chernobyl.

Peter Cusack, Ship's Graveyard, Aral Sea, Kazakhstan.