Mobile aural observation station 1
Camberwell, June 24-25 2011
MAOS1 (Mobile Aural Observation Station1) was the first work produced by Auricula, a collaboration between textile artist Tessa Brown and sound artist Cathy Lane . It was developed specifically for Brunswick Park, London, SE5 as part of Camberwell Arts Week 2011 to offer a different sonic and visual experience of the park. We invited people to step inside, make themselves comfortable, listen, watch, relax…
Initial listening research had revealed that this seemingly peaceful inner London square whilst primarily notable for birdsong, the sounds of tennis games and dog walkers was totally sonically dominated by airplanes on the flight path into Heathrow. When questioned local residents claimed never to have noticed the planes even though there was rarely more than 1 second when you couldn’t hear one. MAOS1 was designed as a site-specific listening space in which to experience this (often familiar) soundscape anew.
While real time external sounds could penetrate the textile enclosure of MAOS1 once inside the source of the sounds could not be seen. Inside visitors could listen to a mix of real time external sounds with composed sound using material previously recorded from the site (delivered through a 6 channel, 24 speaker playback system integrated into the structure) making it almost impossible to differentiate between the real time and the composed. The play of light and shade on the walls and the framing of certain views complemented the experience.
Comments in the visitors book included “Kind of strange mixing/differentiating the inside and the outside. What a lot of planes!” “Makes me hyper-aware of the lives ambient sounds…” “Too many planes in this city most definitely” “Interesting – lovely view and lots of plane noises – thank you for the experience”.