Disquiet Junto Project 0037: Store Recordings
This project is the first in the Disquiet Junto series to focus on a pure, unadulterated field recording — or, in this case, a "store recording," as you'll see. Many of the previous Disquiet Junto projects have used field recordings as their source material, either audio created by the participants, or a shared sample created by a third-party.
For this project, you will record sound from a large retail space, preferably a department store. You will select a section of that recording that you find to be inherently exemplary, and that segment will be your project entry for the week. There will be no editing, no processing, no producing, per se — you may, if you choose, do a slight volume increase at the opening and decrease at the closing.
Background: The goal for this project is twofold. In the immediate sense, it is to explore field recordings as an end unto themselves, as an opportunity to document the world in sound.
The project, however, has broader intentions. It's being undertaken in association with the exhibit As Real As It Gets, organized by Rob Walker. The exhibit will run at the gallery Apex Art in Manhattan from November 15 - December 22, 2012. Sounds produced for this Disquiet Junto project will be considered to be played in the gallery as part of the exhibit, and will also be made available to Disquiet Junto participants and other musicians and sound artists for subsequent projects related to Walker's exhibit.
There are also plans afoot for a Disquiet Junto concert at Apex Art in late November in conjunction with the exhibit.
This is Apex's initial, brief description of the upcoming exhibit: "As Real As It Gets gathers fictional products, imaginary brands, hypothetical advertising and speculative objects, devised by artists, designers, and companies. We resist commercial material culture as inauthentic, phony, and less than legitimate, but should we? Presenting the marketplace as medium — while supplies last."
Walker is a contributing writer to The New York Times Magazine and Design Observer, and the author of Buying In: The Secret Dialogue Between What We Buy and Who We Are (Random House: 2008) and Letters from New Orleans (Garrett County Press: 2005). Walker co-founded, with Joshua Glenn, the Significant Objects project.
Tricky field recording project, especially as I had a very limited time to grab it, late on a Friday afternoon in London.
I had about an hour to grab as many recordings as I could before needing to travel back to my home far away from "large retail spaces", so I grabbed my not-so-trusty Olympus LS-5 and a pair of binaural headphones. Stores visited included the Rose Morris musical instrument "department" store (not what it once was), M&S Pantheon on Oxford Street, Liberty, Hamleys on Regent Street and Lillywhites in Piccadilly Circus.
Background muzac (not Muzac unfortunately) was *everywhere* and sometimes more than background, so much of the recordings were tainted. Those that weren't affected in this way often had mobile telephone electronic "chatter", especially prominent with my "discrete" binaural headphones - since this is inaudible as field noise, I felt I couldn't include this.
In the end, I found some interesting sonic space in the food hall of Marks and Spencer in Oxford Street. Like other Juntoista, the air conditioning provided a constant background hum, but I was also close to an escalator which provided a mid-level drone, which is more distinct as I leave the food hall towards the end of the sample.
Some minor tweaking of volume, but otherwise as it
This Disquiet Junto project was done in association with the exhibit As Real As It Gets, organized by Rob Walker at the gallery Apex Art in Manhattan (November 15 - December 22, 2012):
More on this 37th Disquiet Junto project at: http://disquiet.com/2012/09/13/disquiet0037-asrealasitgets1/
More details on the Disquiet Junto at: http://soundcloud.com/groups/disquiet-junto/info
- Field Recording