Sounds from dangerous places – Peter Cusack

Tuesday, 3.12.19, 17.30 Uhr
weißensee, khb. Raumstrategien, T3.02

Recent travels have brought me into contact with some difficult and potentially dangerous places. Most are sites of major environmental/ecological damage; others are nuclear sites or the edges of military zones. The danger is not necessarily to a short-term visitor, but to the people who live there or through the location’s role in geopolitical power structures. Some are areas where extreme and hostile conditions have been created, in others regeneration is underway. It is noticeable that environmentally damaged sites can be both sonically and visually compelling, even beautiful and atmospheric. There is, often, an extreme dichotomy between an aesthetic response and knowledge of the ‘danger’, whether it is pollution, social injustice, military or geopolitical.

Places include the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone, Ukraine; the Caspian Oil Fields near Baku, Azerbaijan; huge opencast brown coal mines around Garzweiler, Germany and North Bohemia, Czech Republic; the disappearing Aral Sea in Central Asia. These, and other, projects explore what I call the practice of ‘sonic journalism’ – the audio equivalent of photojournalism. Sonic journalism is based on the idea that valuable information about places and events is revealed through their sounds and that careful listening will give insights different from, but complimentary to, visual images and language. 
Hence, Sounds from Dangerous Places asks ‘What can we learn of dangerous places by listening to their sounds?’

– Peter Cusack