A collection of extended recordings of open pasture fences.
I’m not a fan of fences, walls and other physical demarcations that break up and subdivide the landscape into territorial boundaries. Although sometimes practical, these types of barriers create more psychological boundaries than anything. Once a fence is in place, it can remain for years, decades and even centuries. This not only changes how we navigate and move across the land, but also instills deep patterns of land use over time (I will not even go into nation-state borders here). With much of what I do, the question artistic intervention naturally comes up as to what can be done with the physical fence structures themselves. In the face of being literally surrounded by fences (as pastoral grazing practices have become much more common over the past decade), I have resolved to listen intently.
As with many interventionist sonic practices, such industrial installations have unintended consequences, opening up possibilities of reappropriation. In this case metal fence wires have been instrumentalized in making audible, environmental weather forces that permanently respond to the changing conditions. Although the tracks here are durational in nature, they remain fragments of much longer recordings, some as long as 12 hours. After studying the resonances and harmonic capabilities of the fences for several years, it was clear that the scale and depth as which they operate extends far beyond our normal attention span. So rather than sit and listen while I record, I decided to set up the equipment and leave it, without any human intervention other than deciding when to start and stop. In fact, the primary factor affecting the recording itself is the weather as it was observed. In this case, winter provided diverse conditions of cold temperatures, ice, wind and snow, all of which affect the character of the metal wires. The only exception here is track 3, “harmonic debris”, where I placed branches and dried plants on the wires to diversify the responses to the elements.
released January 19, 2018
Recorded, edited and mastered, Winter 2017/2018.