9 Variations 35 Instances: multiple ways to navigate Belfast
9 Variations 35 Instances: multiple ways to navigate Belfast is an Off-Site outcome of X Marks the Spot, a durational and site-oriented project. As a platform, X Marks the Spot attempts to transform sound mapping into a more nuanced and shared experience of the city. It explores the relation between sound and everyday life, while enhancing the potential of field recording as a tool to investigate urban transformations. It also operates across different platforms: in situ, online through a web archive at xmsbelfast.com, and through a series of Off-Site collaborations and re-interpretations of these sonic explorations of Belfast, Northern Ireland.
Between 2013 to 2019, participants in X Marks the Spot were invited to navigate the city by listening out for the continuous sounds made up of varying frequencies (‘drones’) produced by a number of the city’s telecommunication boxes. Participants eavesdropped on the often liminal sounds produced by an otherwise everyday object, challenging the utilitarian and dominant ways that one usually navigates the city. Walking routes can be designed to experience such drones as part of the cycles and rhythms of Belfast’s urban environment. Searching out for telecommunication boxes emitting an audible drone can thus become an alternate way to connect A to B and re-imagine how we navigate and interpret the city.
9 variations 35 instances: multiple ways to navigate Belfast can be played by one or multiple persons. This graphical score compiles the sounds produced by each of the thirty-five boxes identified throughout the tagging process of X Marks the Spot. A map positions the droning sounds in space in relation to the River Lagan, one of the main features defining the city’s geographical layout. Each sound is summarised using nine of its main frequencies and amplitudes. The main frequencies are laid out in a sequential order while the amplitudes are presented through the different font widths – the thicker the width the higher the amplitude.
The collaborative and systematic sound mapping of Belfast in X Marks the Spot is a durational, organic and open-ended search process. Transposing fragments of this process into a graphical score, invites participants to continuedly reimagine Belfast as a dynamic and sonic fabric.
Matilde Meireles is a recordist, sound artist, and researcher who makes use of field recordings to compose site-oriented projects.