Five Places

The experience of place through sound engages communities in identifying locations that shape their everyday life. This led to an aural exploration in which the recording process reframes what a site means to an individual.

This is articulated in the exhibition through personal accounts, sound recordings and photography. Participants were invited to write and make audio recordings in order to supply material for this installation. The artists have attempted to document why participants chose each place, the experience of being and recording there, and give a sense of the importance of each place to both the individual and their community.

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RUTH / front of the postcard

RUTH / back of the postcard

RUTH: “I chose to record Holywood as you can hear the sounds of transport; trains,
cars, and aero planes flying in to George Best airport as well as birds. From here you
can see the Antrim Coast, the other side of Belfast, and Carrickfergus. We took our
children there when they were young, flying kites, having picnics; it was a haven for
the family.
Recording the place brought both memories of the past and new experiences. Standing,
listening to sounds is new to me to think about, I couldn’t stand too long with my eyes
closed, I also wanted to see, but when you don’t see the visual source of the sound it is
a new experience. I enjoyed the sounds of the aircrafts and trains, hearing them through
the microphone was a lovely experience. The birds singing brought back memories of
being in this place in the past; listening to sounds can make us relive memories.”

Recorded in Holywood on 6th April 2012 at 5 p.m.

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CONOR / front of the postcard

CONOR / back of the postcard

CONOR: “This recording was taken in the Cricky, which is on the Cliftonville Road.
Well, the Cricky is infamous as it is so bad. I chose this place because it is the usual
training spot for my club Pearses. We were at Gaelic training and fitness. When I was
practising I could only hear the coach, but in the recording you can hear everything,
from kids in the far background to the slight breeze.
The thing I like most about the recording is the amount of sounds which my ears didn’t
pick up. I think that the football being kicked sounds the best, as the distance affects
the sound.”

Recorded at the Cricky on 15th March 2012 at 6 p.m.

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GLADYS / front of the postcard

GLADYS / back of the postcard

GLADYS: “I go to Avoniel Leisure Centre two or three mornings each week as I enjoy
swimming and meeting my friends there. I’ve been going there for the past twenty
years. Recording the swimmers made it sound really different because you could hear
the sound of the underwater. We’re so used to just hearing splashing but while listening
to the recording I could hear all the children laughing… you don’t take that in while
swimming. It was very calm and peaceful while recording, really different from what we
usually do down here. You could picture what was happening with the sounds, specially
with the family playing ball, you could hear them saying: “Send the ball to me!”. People
just enjoying themselves, you can hear it…
Listening back to the recording was an interesting experience; it brought back memories
of bringing my own children to Avoniel.”

Recorded at the Avoniel Leisure Centre on 6th April 2012 at 3 p.m.

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DEARBHAILE / front of the postcard

DEARBHAILE / back of the postcard

DEARBHAILE: “I made my recording around the Belfast Castle and its grounds.
I chose this place as there would be a mixture of sounds from the nearby
schools and park. When I was recording it wasn’t very windy so you could hear
other sounds such as wildlife and the running water from the fountain clearly.
We set up the boom mic in the direction of the wind so we would be able to hear
sounds from further away better. As I was recording, I could hear many different
sounds. Some stayed constant and others went by, the water and rustling of
leaves being constant and the birds and people passing by coming and going.
It was much more magnified listening back to it through the headphones. It was
an unusual experience, but also enjoyable.”

Recorded on Cave Hill on 5th March 2012 at 3 p.m.

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EDDIE / front of the postcard

EDDIE / back of the postcard

EDDIE: “I went to the Waterworks as a schoolchild, my family lived in the city centre
and it was a retreat from my own neighbourhood. The Waterworks was very different
then, it was private. You had to get a key that was paid for which my family wasn’t
able to afford, but I had an aunt who could, and would let me use her key. There were
facilities here that were nowhere else in Belfast; rowboats for rent, a model railway
society, and a yachting club. As the space wasn’t open to the public my visits were
special occasions.
I enjoyed visiting the Waterworks to record as it is a special place for everyone in
North Belfast. Families go there every weekend, it’s a place for the community to relax
and exercise. My experience of recording with the microphone wasn’t much different;
I just enjoyed being there. It’s a wonderful place and that’s why I chose it; more for
the location than its sounds.
Listening back to the recording I could only hear the water lapping, it showed a small
part of my experience of the Waterworks but not everything.”

Recorded at the Waterworks on 19th March 2012 at 3 p.m.

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