A soft hiss of this world | Tim Ingold & Carmen Pardo & Mikel R. Nieto

 

A soft hiss of this world | Tim Ingold & Carmen Pardo & Mikel R. Nieto
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INFO

 

The research project “A soft hiss of this world” is focused on the loss in many aspects such as the loss of language as a result of the Anthropocene through the absence of certain states and processes that occur naturally in the environment like different states of water, snow and ice. In Finnish there are more than forty terms* to refer to them and because of the loss of these states in the landscape, the loss is also displaced to the language, in this case, the Finnish.

 

This research project took these words as a starting point to make hundreds of hours of recordings in the Finnish landscape. The sound of snow, ice and snowflakes are the reference and the sound material of this research project. And to obtain these sounds, as well as the possible sound differences between each snowflake, special and specific microphones were developed for this very specific and fragile recording process.

 

Is it possible to record the impossible or what does not exist? There are three types of impossibility in each recording: the recording of a sound event due to its absence, its extinction or the impossibility of recording itself. The condition of possibility for the absence is the presence itself.

 

It is known that in the Arctic, people can see and hear things that are impossible in other places on the planet. These phenomena are caused by special atmospheric conditions and some people in these latitudes have described some sounds that happened at great distances or sounds of extreme delicateness. How much of the landscape resides in our listening?

 

In 1985 Joseph Scrimger wanted to calculate the noise generated by rain, hail and snow underwater (Nature 318, 647). Scrimger found an unexpected constant sound during snowfall, but failed to identify its origin. Years later, Lawrence Crum of the University of Washington (Seattle, USA) when listening to these recordings suggested that in this constant sound there were a lot of micro-sounds that corresponded to the tapping of the individual flakes on the surface of the water.

 

* Notes: These are some of the words in Finnish used to refer to the different states of water, snow and ice: sataa, lunta, lumi, pyry, myräkkä, rae, räntä, loska, tuisku, hyhmä, sohjo, ahtojää, kide, lumikide, jääkide, kohva, paanne, paannejää, railo, tykky, tykkylumi, iljanne, kaljama, hanki, huurre, härmä, kuura, kinos, lumikinos, nietos, nuoska, viti, vitilumi, polanne, avanto, jotos, rannio, latu, nirskua, narskua…

 


 

THE BOOK

 

This book contains texts by three authors: Tim Ingold, Carmen Pardo and Mikel R. Nieto, on the research carried out by Nieto in Finland during 2016.

 

The text by Tim Ingold opens the book and introduces the reader to the main subjects of the research: language, landscape, sound and listening. This text is easy to read and aims to immerse us in the Finnish landscape and in the listening act to its sounds and silences.

 

Carmen Pardo‘s text unfolds first, the way in which the gaze and listening of the snow constitute the experience of a disappearance, of a concentration in the void or nothingness of which A Soft Hiss of this World participates. Secondly, and in dialogue with Roland Barthes, the kind of listening involved in recording different states of snow is questioned. From that listening, the text proposes in the third place, the exercise of recording as an experience that implies a multiple temporality that reminds us that, in fact, it is always habited in a heterogeneity of times.

 

The third text belongs to Mikel R. Nieto and is divided into four parts:

 

The first part called “This is nothing” contains Nieto’s texts and thoughts about the most important points of the investigation, such as silence, listening, landscape, language, disappearance and absence, archive, hyperojects and the anthropocene.

 

The second part is a “Diaries (2009 – 2019)” which brings together a selection of photographs and the most outstanding moments throughout the research in a brief direct and poetic format marking the corresponding places and dates.

 

The third part is a code that reflects the loss of most of the sound recordings made during his research with more than 600 hours of recordings. This code is the only thing that could be recovered from all recordings, except the only sound recording published in physical format as a transparent Flexi-disc.

 

Download document pdf → “The Complete Lost Recordings Archive

 

The fourth part is the result of silencing each and every word by John Cage in his “Lecture on Nothing,” leaving only the punctuation marks, such as commas, periods, separators and the last sentence of the text of Cage.

 

All texts are in three languages and in this order: Basque, Spanish and English.

 


 

THE RECORDING

 

The only recording recovered has being published physically as transparent flexi-disc. Every time it’s played, the player needle wears away the vinyl and making the sound of the recording disappear. Therefore, each listening destroys the sound.

 

The flexi-disc has been published by Gruenrekorder in collaboration with Я Archives.

 

Note: The distribution of the object is not assured by the usual channels.
This underground record item is not for sale. Please, ask us if we still have some copies and we will send you one for free with any purchase.

 


 

Photographic documentation of the project

 



 


 

Biographical notes of the authors

 

Tim Ingold is an Anthropologist and Professor of Social Anthropology. Some time ago Ingold spent two years in Lapland (Finland) and is very familiar with snow and the many different words in Finnish to refer to the different states of water, ice and snow. He is also familiar with the extraordinary silence of midwinter and how small sounds from miles away can pass through it.

 

Carmen Pardo is a Professor at the University of Girona, she was a post-doctoral researcher in the IRCAM-CNRS unit in Paris and her latest publication is “En el silencio de la cultura” (In the silence of culture) (Published by Sexto Piso / French version by Eterotopia France)

 

Mikel R. Nieto is a sound artist and researcher. His work is based on field recordings and their possible meanings and uses in different contexts. His previous book “Dark Sound”, printed in black on black, has been described as the black book of the sound landscape.

 


 

Support

 

This publication has been possible thanks to the support of the Basque Government as part of its programme of grants forthe encouragement and development of plastic and visual arts, in the publications category (2019).

 

This project was made possible with the support of Tabakalera, Kone Foundation, Etxepare, the Spanish embassy in Sweden and EMS Elektronmusikstudion in Stockholm (Sweden) (2016).

 

Translations: Illart Alkorta
Design: Sonia Ciriza
Printed in: Leitzarán Grafikak, S.L.
Anti-copyright. Except © from the authors.

 

1 Track (06′00″)
Book & Flexi-disc (500 copies)

 

Field Recording Series by Gruenrekorder
Germany / 2019 / Gruen 191 / LC 09488 / EAN 194491017088
ISBN 978-84-09-12861-7 / Legal Deposit: SS – 733 – 2019

 


 

More information

 

A soft hiss of this world

 


 

Reviews

 

Frans de Waard | VITAL WEEKLY
[] If I could do that all day, plus listening to music (without the obligation to write about it) and drink coffee (and hopefully still sleep well at night), then that would almost perfect; maybe watch one movie every evening. But a book that makes it difficult for the reader is not well spending on me. Mikel R. Nieto already published a hard to read a book (Vital Weekly 1037), called ‚Dark Sound‘. That book was all black letters on black paper and you would have to sit either in sunlight or a strong lamp. I tried and I failed. This new book is about silence and the sound of snowflakes. And snow being white, of course, means that we deal with a book of white paper and very light grey ink, and you need the same procedure of holding book against the light to read it. I have up after a few pages. I copied some info from the likewise difficult to read the website (warning: very long quote ahead; you may label this as laziness on my part). „This book contains texts by three authors: Tim Ingold, Carmen Pardo and Mikel R. Nieto, on the research carried out by Nieto in Finland during 2016. The text by Tim Ingold opens the book and introduces the reader to the main subjects of the research: language, landscape, sound and listening. This text is easy to read and aims to immerse us in the Finnish landscape and the listening act to its sounds and silences. Carmen Pardo‘s text unfolds first, how the gaze and listening of the snow constitute the experience of disappearance, of a concentration in the void or nothingness of which A Soft Hiss of this World participates. Secondly, and in dialogue with Roland Barthes, the kind of listening involved in recording different states of snow is questioned. From that listening, the text proposes in the third place, the exercise of recording as an experience that implies multiple temporalities that reminds us that it is always habited in heterogeneity of times. The third text belongs to Mikel R. Nieto and is divided into four parts: The first part called “This is nothing” contains Nieto’s texts and thoughts about the most important points of the investigation, such as silence, listening, landscape, language, disappearance and absence, archive, hyperojects and the Anthropocene. The second part is a “Diaries (2009 – 2019)” which brings together a selection of photographs and the most outstanding moments throughout the research in a brief direct and poetic format marking the corresponding places and dates. The third part is a code that reflects the loss of most of the sound recordings made during his research with more than 600 hours of recordings. This code is the only thing that could be recovered from all recordings, except the only sound recording published in physical format as a transparent Flexi-disc. The fourth part is the result of silencing every word by John Cage in his “Lecture on Nothing,” leaving only the punctuation marks, such as commas, periods, separators and the last sentence of the text of Cage.“ Did I just read the word Flexi disc? Yes, I did. There is indeed a Flexi disc with this book. Ever since I was kid and music magazines sometimes had a Flexi disc (Flexipop and the Dutch magazine Vinyl) I love Flexi discs. They are fragile and simply look great. Mikel R. Nieto recorded the sound of snow falling for this one-sided Flexi disc. I was trying very to remember if someone had done this before, and I am almost convinced someone had (John Hudak or Stephan Mathieu, I was thinking of), but I might be wrong. Hearing snowflakes is not easy, and I have no idea what kind of equipment Nieto has but it sounds a bit distorted, like a microphone being snowed in (no pun intended), but it sounded very nice. Even when I am not particularly fond of snow and ice myself, I always enjoy the way the environment sounds so different after the snow has fallen, like a blanket covering your ears; that is something I heard in this music as well. I trust this is not the review Nieto has hoped for, but alas, so it is.
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