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‘For the Birds’:1 A sound installation

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  11 January 2012

Ruth Hawkins
Department of Music, Goldsmiths College, University of London, New Cross, London SE14 6NW, UK
E-mail address:


This paper describes the background and development of a sound installation which, over a period of time, brings together site-specific field recordings, and acoustic and amplified sounds in a complex of natural and technological sources. During the installation diverse genres of recording and territories of sound become potentially, transiently available as local birdsong, background noises and the sounds of recordings and audio technologies are realised through enculturated experiences of recordings and ambient modes of listening. The work has closely evolved out of an existing field recording practice and the version described here remains a proposal – at the time of writing – to be completed in spring 2011. The way in which the installation has contingently emerged has become a critical part of the work which – instead of being conceived of as a untransferable ‘new reality’ essentially related to a site – will be used to open and connect recorded sound to the prolific wider circulation of mediated sound and – across different milieux – to the world ‘itself’.

Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2012

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Title taken from Cage 1981.


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