Rui Chaves is a portuguese sound artist currently pursuing a phd at the Sonic Arts Research Centre in Belfast. He looks into the intersection of ontological notions in performance, to position his work in site-specific sound art.
For Rui,the microphone is an instrument, the body of the field recorder is in a away an extension of this. He positions himself in a place and press record or stop. This simple act not only determines duration, but reminds him constantly of the process of being in or out. Rui understands how the perspective offered by the microphone is so much different from the one offered by the ears. The listening of the recordings is a strange experience because the memory and experience of the act of recording seems distant: the speakers are unable to reproduce a complete image of that process.
Rui created a video statement specially for Sounds of Europe:
Rui looks to the act of field recording as a performance. For Rui, “it functions in a duality between being a technical tool, as a means towards something that will be subject to: transformation, editing, overlaying and ar-chiving; or something that can function as a means in itself, an amplified window into a place, environment or soundscape.” But how to foreground the idea of performance in field recording? Rui states: “the audible presence of the field recorder, through voice accounts, gestural interventions in space or other bodily sounds; the use and mediation of technology in the process – hidrophones, contact microphones, or choosing not to edit out the sound of the equipment being handled; the framing of the social-political aspects of the place being recorded ; the role of the recording artist in interacting with the above elements.”
The work of art is both object and process and it is through a performance angle that Rui’s work attempts to achieve this.
We’ll end this post with another performance, one of my favorites so far, which resumes aurally and visually the deepness of Rui’s approach to the act of field recording: