During the 6th edition of Soundcamp, on May 4-5, campers listened to birdsong at sunrise around the world, for 24 hours. In Marseille, deletere and Locus Sonus hosted a camp within the grounds of a convent.
Marseille, correspondence (words and photos)
Every year since 2014, on International Dawn Chorus Day, artists Grant Smith, Maria Papadomalolaki and Dawn Scarfe from the Soundcamp collective have welcomed contributions to Réveil: a 24-hour radio broadcast that follows dawn and the chorus of birdsong that accompanies it around the world in real time. Each year, the event spawns temporary Soundcamps offering sonic experiences based on this streaming audio feed.
On the weekend of May 4-5, 2019, volunteer streamers around the world placed open microphones on the Locus Sonus Soundmap via smartphone, laptop, Raspberry Pi or any other means. Each feed enriched the radio program, as well as the artistic soundscapes of the various camps.
The main camp is located in the Stave Hill Ecological Park in London, also the headquarters of Locus Sonus, but others have been flourishing worldwide each year: Australia, Japan, Chile, Ecuador, Slovenia, UK… This year, the first Soundcamp was hosted in Marseille by the deletere collective and the Locus Sonus laboratory (ESA-Aix, AMU, CNRS, PRISM) in the gardens of Couvent du Levat. Over the course of 24 hours, we collectively experienced moments of pure listening, improvised sound performances, sound walks and discussions.
Participating in Soundcamp
Technically speaking, participating in Soundcamp at Couvent du Levat, or any other site, means: registering, coming with your camping gear, settling in and enjoying the sounds. The evening was punctuated by a meal courtesy of the organizers: a delicious dahl served with wine made at the convent by the local Cuve association for urban wine-making. In the morning, after a short night, we woke up to listen together one last time before our shared breakfast.
But of course, participating in Soundcamp is much more than that. It’s a shared moment around the world. Many camps, one common experience. Artistic audio streaming and live listening create a common space for all those listening, wherever there may be located. It’s this shared experience that transforms our listening, that helps us to focus, that lets us hear soundscapes as we have never heard them before. Soundscapes from around the world mix with the one that surrounds us into a holistic experience.
Walking in the gardens through the sunrises of the world
As in each Soundcamp, Grant Smith’s piece Réveil was played continuously, the famous 24 hours of sunrises around the world. At the convent, deletere offered us several ways to listen. Around the tents, we could sit back in a lounge chair and listen in stereo sound, enveloping and meditative, with the others. The façade of the deletere studio held speakers and a stereo, like a stage for the soundscape.
Traditional listening experiences were complemented by an artistic installation in the garden by Grégoire Lauvin, initiator of Soundcamp in Marseille and member of deletere. As we wandered through the garden, we stumbled upon listening points hidden in the flora. Through these Streamboxes, soundscapes from around the world blended with the sounds of the convent.
Performances with fauna from the other side of the world
Throughout the 24 hours, several artists performed along with active streaming feeds on the Locus Sonus Soundmap. In the afternoon, Erin Gee and Mitchell Hermann, resident artists at Locus Sonus, gave an improvised performance on voice and computer, where the singer dialogued with birds in California by imitating their songs.
Early evening was inhabited by Japanese birds during a performance by Yasushi Sako. During a live chat with his colleagues at the CyberForest bioacoustic laboratory at the University of Tokyo, they played and identified several different Japanese bird songs.
To close the night, Damien Sorrentino and Gaëtan Parseihian, of deletere, performed an ethereal, ornithological musical piece. They were also the ones who woke us in the early morning, despite the mistral.
Dawn and the mistral
We spent the night inside our tents, sheltered from the mistral raging outside. After a short night of little sleep, we woke to music, before the wind (gusts up to 130 km/h) got the better of us. As we ate breakfast together, warm and sheltered, our ears were still humming with birdsong…
Coming soon, Makery will report more on the work of deletere