Quieting

(2000)

AIFF – Cdn$3

MP3 (320kbps) – Free

Audio CD published by Alien 8 Recordings, Montréal 2000 (label now defunct).

In 1996 I recorded the cannon that is fired every day at noon from the Citadel in Halifax, Nova Scotia (Track 18), all pieces on the cd are based on that recording or inspired by the shock of the shot.

In my preparations for this project, I made several recordings from different positions in the city, but I only used one for the cd. I initially intended to do a piece combining the various recordings, but I was stuck on one in particular. To this day, I am startled every time I hear this particular firing.

In between the recording in 1996 and working on the cd in the Summer of 2000, I had periodically tried to use it, but I could never find the right form, everytime it was placed beside or alongside something, it would annihilate itself along with anything surrounding it. I finally realized that it had to stand on its own. And so in thinking of how one would create that possibility in the listening experience, I thought of putting just that brief recording in the middle of the cd, preceded and followed by nothing, just silence, so as to further amplify the sound of the shot. And that point I felt I had found the right form, the cd got a bit more complex, but that is the basic premise.

The initial reason I did the recordings is autobiographical and banal. I lived in Halifax from 1994 to 1996 to do a master in fine arts at the nova scotia college of art & design. One hears the cannon blast every day at noon from anywhere in the city, it is jolting at first, but one quickly gets used to it. In my last couple of months in the city I wanted to do some kind of sound portrait of the city, this punctual sound blast seemed like an obvious choice.

Afterwards, and especially after viewing the documentary film by Bob Connolly and Robin Anderson “First Contact” (1982) in the Fall of 1998, I became interested in the moments of trauma which might be incredibly loud in and of themselves but also impose a silence (silencing/Quieting) in their aftermath.

The only tracks that are not directly related to the one cannon recording are track #22 which uses the audio from a video recording of Chris Burden’s infamous performance “Shoot” and track #36 which uses audio from”First Contact”, film which recounts the story of Australian gold diggers entering the interior of New Guinea in the 1930s and using guns to subjugate the aborigines who had never seen white men before.

First presented as installation version at Galerie de l’UQAM, October 20 to November 25, 2006.

Related project: Ricochets

Photo: Denis Farley.

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note: tracks marked with a (0) are completely silent, the others are almost inaudible, except for Track 18.