Field Recording as a collaborative process – Tullis Rennie

Tullis is a sound artist and composer who uses field recordings as a way of understanding and connecting with a place. When working with field recordings, it is important for him to maintain the chronological sequence in the composed narrative.  He is interested in documentary and ethnographic processes and how people inhabiting a space are affected by its recording; how to involve them in something that is a solitary practice. Based on this interest he has engaged in participative projects such as Som da Maré in Rio de Janeiro, with a group of artists and community from a cluster of favelas in Maré, to introduce field recording as a method of understanding daily life. The sound material was collected collaboratively, and shared. They used Audacity to edit and label the files, and decisions were made collectively for an exhibition in the Museu de Mare, located in the favela. Also they co-designed a sound walk that included both static positions and movement, which was led by actors from a local theatre group. Participants used iPods to walk in an affluent area of Rio, overlapping this space with the one recorded in the favela. Technically it was challenging to do this as precisely as desired:


Reflecting on this experience, he thinks that more sophisticated ways of archiving this material will be beneficial, as the material will reside in the local community museum, and can be re-used by them. Accessibility and ownership are important within the collaborative process:


After being in Brazil he created two works: one piece broadcast on Resonance FM Rio: An Outsider, Inside, and a video piece, Carioca Sound Stories:

As a single author, re-visiting the recordings, he was struggling with what the sound could say to others, and how the voices of others will be represented. This process provoked him to look for questions rather than answers. He is re-using his own recorded material that derives from a collaborative experience:


Regarding use and re-use of sound he is interested in different levels of ownership of the material: thinking too much about copyrights and public and private ownership, can generate from his perspective, a creative paralysis. For him it is important to define the role of the field recordist and composer in the first instance, to free the recordings and to achieve all the creative research learning through doing:


Do you identify with Tullis’ practice, research and technical needs working participatory projects with field recordings?

Use the ‘reply’ button on the top to leave a comment. Many thanks!


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