From 15th to 16th February, I attended In the Field, a symposium hosted by the British Library in collaboration with CRiSAP (Creative Research in Sound Arts Practice). Given the library’s own extensive collections of field recordings — ranging from oral history to ethnomusicological documents, from historical wildlife recordings to industrial sounds — it may just seem consequential for the British Library to adress contemporary practitioners of documentary recording. In fact, with its considerable line-up, In the Field truly aimed to further ›explore the art and craft of field recording‹: among others, speakers included Ximena Alarcón, Peter Cusack, Zoe Irvine, Christina Kubisch, Udo Noll, Salomé Voegelin, and Chris Watson.
As a point of departure, it was Joeri Bruyninckx’ task to relate contemporary field recording practices to its historical origins: back to the days of wildlife recordists Ludwig Koch (UK) or Albert Brand (US), when field recording meant to bring a mobile studio into ›the relative wilderness of the field‹ (Bruyninckx) — occasionally even mounted on a horse carriage.
Peter Kellogg from Albert Brand’s team recording in the swamps of Florida, 1936.
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