Annea Lockwood: A Sound Map of the Danube @ The Lab, San Francisco [from 10 to 18 November]

Annea Lockwood: A Sound Map of the Danube

10 - 18
18:30 - 01:00

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The Lab
2948 16th St, San Francisco, California 94103
A Sound Map of the Danube open gallery hours:

Friday, November 10; 7pm–1am (Saturday)
Saturday, November 11; 7pm–1am (Sunday)
Sunday, November 12; noon–6pm
Wednesday, November 15; 4–10pm
Thursday, November 16; 4–10pm
Friday, November 17; 7pm–1am (Saturday)

167 minutes in length, A Sound Map of the Danube will be played in its entirety twice each day and visitors are welcome to come and go freely (no door admissions required). Feel free to bring food, drinks, pets, pillows, etc.

Notes on A Sound Map of the Danube, Annea Lockwood, 2005:

A surround sound installation incorporating a large wall map of the river, a book of interview texts and a rock from the river.

Between the winter of 2001 and the summer of 2004 I made five field-recording trips, moving slowly down the Danube from the sources in the Black Forest through Germany, Austria, Slovakia, Hungary, Croatia, Serbia, Bulgaria and Romania to the great delta on the Black Sea, recording the river’s sounds (at the surface and underwater), aquatic insects, and the various inhabitants of its banks. At 1785 miles the Danube is Europe’s second longest river and one of its most historically significant, having long been a trade and cultural conduit between east and west. Its drainage basin encompasses much of Central Europe and it has carved out deep gorges dividing the southern arm of the Carpathians from the Balkan Mountains.

I recorded from the banks, finding a great variety of water sounds as the gradient and bank materials changed, often feeling that I was hearing the process of geological change in real time. Towards the end of the final field trip, while listening to small waves slap into a rounded overhang the river had carved in a mud bank in Rasova, Romania, I realized that the river has agency; it composes itself, shaping its sounds by the way it sculpts its banks. Along the way I spoke with people for whom the Danube is a central influence on their lives, an integral part of their identity, asking them “What does the river mean to you? Could you live without it?” They responded in their native languages and dialects, their voices woven into the river’s sounds, placed as close to the location where I met them as possible. “What is a river?” was the question underlying the whole project for me.

A detailed map of the river was created by cartographer Baker Vail (Small Blue Maps), and graphic designer Susan Huyser, by means of which listeners can correlate the site they are listening to with its geographic location. The work was completed in 2005 and premiered at the Donau Festival, Krems, Austria in that year. It has since been presented in Ulm Germany, Orth and Linz Austria, Mohacs Hungary, Tulcea Romania, at the Cristina Enea Foundation in San Sebastian, Spain, and in New York and Allentown, PA.

[This article was originally printed as “What Is A River?” in Soundscape: the Journal of Acoustic Ecology Vol.7 Number 1, 2007]

Born in New Zealand in 1939 and living in the US since 1973, Annea Lockwood is known for her explorations of the rich world of natural acoustic sounds and environments, in works ranging from sound art and installations, through text-sound and performance art to concert music. Her music has been presented in many venues and festivals, including the 2016 Tectonics/BBC Festival, Glasgow, the Henry Moore Institute, Leeds, the Tactile Paths 2017 festival, Berlin, Issue Project Room, Brooklyn and the Israeli Center for the Digital Arts, Holon.

Recent projects include In Our Name, a collaboration with Thomas Buckner based on poems by prisoners in Guantánamo; Water and Memory, composed for the Holon Scratch Orchestra, Israel; Wild Energy, in collaboration with Bob Bielecki — a site-specific installation focused on geophysical, atmospheric and mammalian infra and ultra sound sources. She was a recipient of the 2007 Henry Cowell Award. Her music has been issued on CD, vinyl and online on the Lovely Music, Black Truffle, New World, Ambitus, 3Leaves, EM and other labels.
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