When I Sound I Am Speaking

The module ‘When I Sound I Am Speaking, An introduction to field recording and text foraging in an urban context’ aims to engage young people with their urban context through the perspective of sound.
It stimulates young people to explore soundscapes as a space for expressing themselves, sharing ideas, stories and memories beyond the conventions of music and language. During the workshop the participants explore the margins of their surroundings and document their acoustic environment. They use on-site objects as instruments, tap into electromagnetic waves, capture tactile vibrations and forage memories, all of which they morph into their own soundscape.

The module is a first introduction to field recording, writing and recording text, and creating soundscapes. For ‘When I Sound I Am Speaking’ these three elements are placed in the context of an urban environment, enabling the participants to learn new skills and gain confidence in using them for artistic expression. The module provides a general understanding of topics and techniques fundamental to field recording. These are explained either briefly or elaborately in the workshop, depending on the available time, the age of participants and the composition of the group.

After an introduction to the concepts, technology and equipment used during the workshop sessions, and following an assignment outlining diverse uses of the different microphones, the participants venture outside in groups to experiment with capturing sounds in their surroundings. They also record their own voices, reflecting on their recording experiences, and incorporate memories of sounds. Each group collects an archive of field and voice recordings in order to compose and ultimately present a sound piece.

This comprehensive manual for the module ‘When I Sound I Am Speaking’ is intended for workshop leaders and educators who would like to teach the module themselves. The manual describes the structure of the workshop in meticulous detail, and provides context as well as extensive background information. It includes valuable tips for teaching the workshop, as well as links to online resources for further research.
​​In April 2022, the workshop ‘When I Sound I Am Speaking’ was organised in collaboration with the IMC Weekendschool in Haarlem (NL), as part of an after-school education programme for newcomers to the Netherlands. It took place a second time in December 2022 in Almere (NL) in collaboration with De Vrolijkheid, a foundation which organises art projects in Asylum Centres around the Netherlands. The first workshop – with eight participants aged 13–14 – was spread over two weeks with two days of two hours each. The second workshop was held on three consecutive days of 5–7 hours each, for between 4 and 7 participants each day aged 15–20.

Polina Medvedeva portrait by Kasper van Alphen

Working with audiovisual installation, film and performance, Russian-Dutch filmmaker, researcher and artist Polina Medvedeva explores practices often considered ‘informal’ or ‘non-conformist,’ embracing the complexities through which vernacular and lived experience transcend rigid categories of inside/outside, belonging/exclusion and formality/informality. Her focus on the tactics of civil disobedience and mechanisms of self-sufficiency – improvised, passed through generations as oral histories, smuggled in through migration – speaks of the (im)possibilities of existing within while being against systems of oppression.  Medvedeva’s work was selected for the Nederlands Film Festival, was shown at IDFA Docs for Sale, and exhibited among others at Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam, Sonic Acts (NL), WIELS, Art Brussels (BE), LIAF (NO), Lighthouse (UK), and A4 (SK). She teaches at the Utrecht University of the Arts.

Andreas Kühne portrait by Robin Alysha Clemens

As a composer, sound artist, and drummer, Andreas Kühne creates electroacoustic music, collaborative audiovisual performances and interactive installations. He researches non-idiomatic free improvisation as a lingua franca for transdisciplinary and transcultural art production, presentation and participation. Aiming to enable established disciplines to interact in all their characteristics and urgencies, Kühne develops audio(visual) interfaces for the improvising body through extended (analogue) techniques, live electronics, and electronics design. In today’s sample-based practice of musical borrowings and appropriation in electronic musics he aims to introduce new conceptions of instruments as an original and representative sound source through the concept of field improvisation – the creation of sounds with on-site inert objects visible to the eye, yet hidden in the sonic presence of place. Kühne’s work has been exhibited and performed at Sonic Acts Festival (NL), Ekaterinburg History Museum (RU), Inversia Festival (RU), LIAF (NO), Lighthouse (UK), and A4 (SK). He teaches at the Conservatory of Amsterdam.
photo: Zsolt Szederkényi
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