Dissonant Stillness

Digital mixed media using sound data from audio recordings from the moment of image capture. 

Artist Statement

Photographic compositions are shaped and influenced by exclusion as much as inclusion, and I’m curious about ways to acknowledge the excluded elements without showing them visually. In this series, I use sound to illustrate the depth of experience in a moment of capture, sometimes including the dissonant or unexpected noises that accompany an otherwise serene image.

By exploring and recording the actual environment that I’m shooting in, I am highlighting the ways in which we selectively listen, excluding or including only part of our reality in our experiences of the natural world. I wish to raise questions about the validity of connection to the natural world when standing beside a busy highway or a passing train, and to reflect on the privilege inherent in one’s opportunity to be completely isolated in nature (a privilege that many Canadians are allowed simply due to lack of population density, and a privilege that many take for granted).

For me, hearing audio and seeing stills from the same scene forces a different level of focus than when the two are linked in video. I’m excited by the slight but important difference in the experience of viewing such work, and I believe strongly in the power of audio to connect viewers with another level of understanding.

I’m using the visual graph of recorded audio (variations of spectrograms) as a form of mark-making digitally overlaid on the original image. This element of sonic data visualization is fascinating to me, and bridges a gap between art and science. In the early iterations of this work, I'm selecting the marks of natural sounds (birdsong, running water, etc) and the marks of unnatural sounds (trains, passing cars, human voices, etc) from a single spectrogram and overlaying these in contrasting colors over a photographic image.

This series of images was shown as framed digital C-prints (28x22") in Side Gallery 2 at the Revelstoke Art Gallery in April 2018.