Clay Gold is an artist who has many field recordings from around the world, which he has kept for years in his personal collection. His recent project, for which he is creating a multichannel soundscape with old speakers, amplifiers and telephones, involves speech from a micro-cassette found in a loft with answering machine recordings left by the same person, as if it was an audio diary. The person who recorded these tapes 20 years ago did it from many locations, and he finds interesting how the acoustic environment is informing her voice and mood. He reflects on telecommunications as instruments and how the field recordist, in this case, is at a distance.
He thinks that sharing these recordings for other works would be difficult, because of the ethics of managing the found material. This leads him to think of the digital world, our current mobile phone messages, and the companies that manage these, and the right to own our own messages. How companies use these messages, e.g. if they are looking for key words for marketing purposes.
When he finishes his current project he would probably make another installation following the idea of answering machine messages.
Within the Sound Matters framework sonic inputs are the most important part in his creative process. When he is making a recording, the making is already a memory of it. For relational playback his collection of field recordings are triggers of that memory, and that helps him to connect recordings to arrive to the composed outputs which are key in his work. In the case of the found micro-cassette he is interested in learning machine led software listening to know where these recordings took place.
He feels that the process of meta-data involves extensive work, and it is not his main interest. He has developed a personal system for organising field recordings by type: atmospheres, habitats, species; description, and location, which are reflected on the name of the file.
Clay has a website where you can find more about his projects:
Do you identify with Clay’s practices and issues? What are your own experiences, issues and needs when working with sound in this framework?
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