I created the "Strange Sounds in Strange Places" workshop for the Abandon Normal Devices Festival in Manchester, UK. The goal of this workshop was to explore listening as an investigative and situating action and also to explore sound composition and performance as interpretive and expressive actions.
We took a bus from downtown Manchester northwest up to the LIVIA forest. The historical and contemporary land-use diversity of the LIVIA area is stunning. The once extremely polluted River Irwell meanders through remnants of mansions, Industrial Revolution-era dyeing plants, landfills, and sewage treatment facilities. A large cemetery, many industrial processing facilities, suburban housing and a prison all border the area. It is a sensorial wonder and ripe for great art making.
For the first half of the workshop I took participants on an acoustic ecology exploration. While walking around the area I asked participants to stop whenever they saw or heard something interesting and investigate further. We used this worksheet I created to guide our observations.
For the second half of the workshop, participants created their own outdoor sound installations using mp3 players and battery operated amplifiers. The results were amazing! One group created a hidden spinning industrial plant in a tree. Another group created a camouflaged underground party. The third group created secret motorway and train route inside a concrete tube! Great stuff.
I also handed out my "Strange Sounds in Strange Places" zine, briefly discussed solar technologies, and gave a quick overview of wind powered tin can resonators.
A big thanks to Liz Hardwick for shooting and editing video from the workshop!