Welcome to Sounds of Europe, a platform for field recording. The blog of the website will travel to a different European country every month where a local organisation or artist will be responsible for maintaining it. Each country´s particular context and practices with regards to field recording will be explored and presented in a personal way.
“No Distance. No Contact” or We Just Felt the Need of Another Reality Check
04/29/2013 · Zsolt Sores

The sound art exhibition “Amplified Space – Acoustic Space Experiments” was open in Budapest at the Akvárium Club from 27th March to 4th April, 2013. (Curated by Tamás Marquetant and Eszter Őze.) According to the exhibition’s motto: on this occasion they would be showcasing the compositions of young Hungarian sound artists, which strive to capture the possible sounds of an architectural form. Usually the sound exists only in its own particular context. Therefore, the sound is inextricably linked to the space where it appears. The exhibition worked mainly through the sound perception itself, while at the same time exploring the threshold of the human perception of the sound. It helps to renew our everyday acoustic experience, while reflects the difference between the perceived and the heard space.

One of the most interesting work in the exhibition was an interactive performance, a co-production between an association of independent artists called themselves Szövetség’39 and Ágoston Nagy from the young Hungarian concept and intermedia art group Binaura. These young artists are mainly working in the fields of visual communication, including interaction design, animation, graphic design, experimental interfaces, and other, reactive environments as well as soundscapes, sound installations and field recording projects. (Binaura regularly gives international workshops and lectures on these topics.)
Their “No Distance. No Contact” public space installation project “investigates people’s interactions in a given public space and present the changes of non-perceptible energy fields between them via sound-experiences. The sound content is adapted to the given location and speaks to the local community about the hidden aspects of their life. The aim of this microsite is to experience the spatial quality of these everchanging soundfields via a unique interactive perspective. Users can literally feel and try the diffusing fields and the filtered qualities of the sonic landscape that was originally available on the actual installation space.” (Technology: radio sensors, custom electronics, arduino, processing, pure data. Events and locations: city noises – Budapest, Helsinki, Kosice and London.)

Please check the direct link here (works only in Google Chrome).

Oh yes, the sound can be easily dissociated from concrete objects or meanings, and is therefore open to associative interpretations. At the same time, sounds are perhaps more evocative of the environment from which they stem than images. The fact that sound is both more abstract and more location-specific than the pure visuality predestines it to play a central role in the same location-specific and collective pieces like “No Distance. No Contact”. Thus, the dislocation of sound from its original surroundings acts as a device for prompting the participants to recreate their own meanings. This explains why sound can play a prominent role in the process of dérive. (Dérive is an expression come from the situationist’s method psychogeography.) This interactive project based on urban field recordings and represents this functional change as well.

Receiver sets. Photo by Zsolt Sores

See the short video: “No distance. No contact” – interactions captured

The idea of dérive as immersion in an environment through free drifting is present in many media art works that employ sound. The innately immersive nature of aural experience is used to simultaneously “embed” and “remove” the participant from the environment.

My receiver set. Photo by Zsolt Sores

The evocative power of sound, its immersive qualities and the immediacy of auditory experiences make it a prominent feature in this art installation/performance about the urban environments in Akvárium Club’s monotonic gray walls. As we walked around the transmitter, interacted with each other, at the same time we constantly “remixed in real time” the group of the prerecorded (and looped) field recordings. With headphones on our head, continuously moving in an unpredictable (chaotic) way, we managed to create an artificial  universe together through the sound samples of reality. But this universe is only a personal and isolated world, a direct, creative and honest reflection of the “real world.” And this is a reflection of our (noise) polluted world: if you discover the world around you well and then reconstruct your sound environment precisely and playfully, your real environment will also change. The reality architecture starts with the incredibly exciting choir of the environmental noises. Their resonant frequencies are full of hidden messages on the “syntax of reality.”
Finally here you are an excerpt of a 24 hours Binaura installation. Falling waterdrops are creating everchanging rythm patterns. The slow, natural process is made of some tubes and water on a tree, found objects, electronics. This piece was made for the Prototypen:// festival, dortmund, 2010. Participants were using recycled materials with no central electricity, only batteries, solar and mechanical power for run their gears. For more info visit: