Thursday, 23 June, 6-8pm

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Fri 1-5pm, Sat 11am-3pm

Phragmites australis

Extended phonography

Matilde Meireles

Ends 25 June 2016

The project Phragmites australis is based on an archive of sound recordings of the Lagan Meadows Reserve in Belfast. The same location was consistently recorded over the course of six months — November 2011 to May 2012. Using contact microphones, this specific place at the beginning of the towpath was mapped with sound. The wind was the trigger and the reed was the matter used to explore aural textures.
The materiality of the reed impacted on the type of sounds obtained as it changed with the surrounding environment. Atmospheric phenomena such as humidity, rain and snow would play a crucial part in altering the stem’s consistency and thus the type of textures, timbres and dynamics captured. Depending on the wind intensity and patterns, the reed would sway differently creating distinctive sonic textures. By predicting the cycles in the randomness of the wind, a library of sounds was constructed to then work as ground material for a composition. The library grew while the cycle evolved.
During this two-week residency at PS², the project has developed further, incorporating the sounds form the street and responding to the environment of the space. This version of the project is now a dialogue between the two places.

Phragmites australis Lagan Meadows Reserve, Belfast, Northern Ireland, November 2011- May 2012
18 Donegall Street, June 2016

Matilde Meireles writes

'I've been spending quite some time in the Lagan Meadows getting to know the space by mapping it with sound. I've chosen the wind as a trigger. The wind has a strong presence in Belfast and I liked the idea of trying to map the intangible in a series of haptic events. I've come to be especially fond of a place not far from the beginning of the Lagan towpath. It's on the left-hand side where the Phragmites australis (common reed) starts drawing a gentle line separating the towpath from the river. The ducks usually gather around here — it's a place where people stop to feed them. I make these recordings over several months as the seasons change from winter to spring. A couple that I always meet, nod and say how special the place is while I'm carefully placing the contact microphone on the reed. I smile back. Oddly enough they seem to accept what I'm doing without questioning it. We all have our own special way of appreciating a place. Each day, studying the atmospheric conditions of the area, I find the best position in the tangle of reeds. I come to understand that the middle section of the stem is the most interesting to record and also the safest one for the reed. Depending on the wind, the patterns change. I try to predict the cycles in the randomness of the wind, attach the contact microphone and then press record.'

Matilde Meireles is a recordist and sound artist whose work explores the conceptual and creative crossover between visual arts and sound encompassing areas such as site-specificity, soundscape and design. Her works have been exhibited in Portugal, Spain, United Kingdom, Germany and Brazil. She is currently pursuing a PhD in Sound Art at the Sonic Arts Research Centre, Queen’s University, Belfast. She collaborates with Aidan Deery to form the field-recording duo bunú.