Once again, I was able to enter the landscape. Chernobyl revealed the full extent of this word to me. It brought me back to sound so that I could to tell something of a territory where picture doesn’t have much to show.
Sound engineer and writer, I went back to Chernobyl once more to record the marks of a stubborn event with a now subterranean course.
I had to learn to stand in landscapes where man is but a memory – sometimes even less.
The « sound-catcher » there is not so much witness to macroscopic phenomena as to his own singularity, alone in cubic miles of silence.
We need to invent a word for our disappearance from the audible range, in these places which have yet known us and which, had it not been for the accident, would hardly be considered exotic.
This recent « back to the wild »ness is 29 years old. And in fact, these sound-pictures are pure atmosphere. Many signals are straightforward enough out there, but their reading has slided. Many a drama is unfolding, but none in which we have a part to play . We’re broadcasting no more. The sound-catcher’s brain knows for a fact that he’s the only one functioning in this very intense territory.
What is he doing here ? Is he in danger ? Is he scared ? Of what ? Of his own noise ? Of the sound of the geiger counter, sole and last artefact ?
How can one bear witness to all this except by transporting the listener ? That is, by the vehicle a powerful transposition.
I had to make many more « catches » ( shooting super 8 films, having daylight wait inside a pinhole camera, burying dental x-ray films, writing, yet again) before facing the fact that binaural recording had always been the obvious answer.
What better means of transport than to immerse the listener into those trivial yet striking landscapes for dozens of minutes ?
So it’s through the dummy head – simple-minded alter ego- that the whole thing penetrates me as penetrate it. I slip into the landscape. And this doesn’t mean disappearing, merely acknowledging oneself as an odd little conscious bug.