New York City — United States
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 performed in many venues and festivals including: the Possibility of Action exhibition at MACBA Barcelona, De Ijsbreker, the Other Minds Festival-San Francisco, the Walker Art Center, the American Century: 1950 - 2000 exhibition at the Whitney Museum, the Los Angeles County Museum, Queen Elizabeth Hall, the Westdeutscher Rundfunk, CNMAT Berkeley, the Asia-Pacific Festival, Donaufest 2006 Ulm, the Donau Festival Krems, the 7th Totally Huge New Music Festival Perth, Ear To The Earth Festival - New York and Sonic Acts XIII. Her sound installation, A Sound Map of the Danube, has been presented in Germany, Austria and the USA. This is a surround 'sound map' of the entire Danube River, incorporating a wide variety of water, animal and underwater insect sounds, rocks from the riverbed and the voices of those whose lives are intimately connected to the river. Other recent projects include Ceci n'est pas un piano, for piano, video and electronics commissioned by Jennifer Hymer; Jitterbug, commissioned by the Merce Cunningham Dance Company, a six channel soundscape with two improvising musicians; and In Our Name, a collaboration with Thomas Buckner based on poems by prisoners in Guantánamo. She was a recipient of the 2007 Henry Cowell Award. Her music has been issued on CD and online on the Lovely Music, Ambitus, EM, XI, Rattle, Lorelt, and Pogus labels.
Description of work with field recording
Field recording is a solitary activity for me. It is intimate and meditative, my way of recognising/reinforcing my deep connection to the world around me. Although I have incorporated field recordings in many pieces since the 1970s, (for example Tiger Balm, Delta Run, Duende), it is my sound maps of rivers which are most completely grounded in the practice: A Sound Map of the Hudson River (1982), A Sound Map of the Danube (2005), A Sound Map of the Housatonic River (2010). These sound maps are a process of exploration: exploration of a phenomenon - moving water, of the environments it shapes, of people’s connection to rivers, of my own connection to rivers. The experience of field recording as exploration seems common to many of us; I think of the superb work of Steven Feld, Hildegard Westerkamp, David Dunn, Sam Auinger, Yolande Harris. When working on a river I select sites ‘by ear’, searching out unfamiliar water textures, then quieting myself internally so that I can hear deeply into the details of that texture and feel the river’s energy at that particular location. Beyond rather minimal use of equalization and editing I don’t process these recordings; after selecting sites I weave them into a continuous flow, varying their durations, the pacing of the transitions between sites and of spatial movement amongst the speakers. I want to bring these sounds to listeners as directly as possible, so I try to reduce awareness of my composing presence in the work. The installation design is kept simple, the focus firmly on the aural - there is a wall map, a time display allowing listeners to identify sites, sometimes river rocks. My intention is not to document a particular river or my own experience of it, but to induce a sense of immersion in its energy flow, and a visceral recognition of its power.