folding a coastline into a shipwrecked space (untitled kapiti recording 31.3.2012) by Sally Ann McIntyre | 12:28
Kapiti Island is a bio-secure nature reserve, home to some of the world’s most critically endangered bird species, located 5 miles off the coast of the North Island of New Zealand. This unmanipulated field recording was made near the border of the island’s offshore marine reserve on the afternoon of 31.2.2012, while walking around the coastline of the north end of the island, where the beach is difficult terrain, rocky and piled with driftwood several metres high. Inhabiting this landscape from the physical position of the listener as walker and beachcomber, means shifting focus from the wide observational vista toward the specific and small. It is perhaps easy from the spectatorial and ideological distance of the mainland to read this island coastline as uninhabited, wild, pre-human, but a sustained immersion reveals many structures and traces. Aeroplanes break the fiction of natural silence, salt-wind weathered signs announce, ‘no landing here’, giant reflectors on the hills warn those looking from the sea of the protected marine reserve border, and the beach is strewn with ambiguous historic signs and remnants delivered back to the land by the waves. Looking for such signs, I noticed a small broken buoy washed among the rocks. I placed a microphone within it, like a hermit crab trying on a new sea shell. The sonic interaction with this structure’s reverberant space saw its abject, cast-off materiality transform into a temporary protective position through which to grasp the environment, filter to the harshness of the wind and nearby sea and the lilting sounds of native birds in the vicinity.