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'The Sound of the Field'
indeterminate Mail Art Sound Art project
* Field Study is a Mail Art group - postal address: Field Study, c/o David Dellafiora, P.O. Box 1838, Geelong, Vic 3220, Australia
'The Sound of the Field' features sounds sent by Field Study members (and invited participants). The brief was an open one - participants were asked to 'send something that's an aural snapshot from your life'. Twenty eight people - ranging from composers to non-musicians - responded to this project, leading to the assembly of sixty sounds (or 'Sons') in total. Sounds were posted (as CDs), emailed or phoned. The TSOTF notes contain further information.

In this Parallel Music (PMusic) piece, five channels of the randomly-chosen Sons are performed for a duration of approximately one minute; the volume of each Son and its pan (stereo position) are also determined by random processes. The result is lively, anarchic, wayward, often raucous and occasionally sublime - very much, I feel, in the spirit of mail art. PR
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Many thanks to all contributors (listed in order of sounds received): John Alexander Stevens; David Barker; Pauline Chee-A-Nam; Saul Mapray; John Matthias; Phillip Ramsay; Tom Stevenson; Geoff Stocker & Lisa Katzenstein; Nomi; Kevin Harper; Simone Lemmon; Jem Finer; David Prior, Martha Aitchison, Phil Wyatt, David Dellafiora & Sue Hartigan; Max Eastley; Siobhan McKeown; Kate Marr; Peter Cusack; Eileen Bonner; Jack Hubert; Eleanor Carr; Shane Jarvis; Wayne Stefano - see the full details here.
PMusic: parallel music Resonate with The Sound of the Field!
notes on the project
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 The Field Report (journal of the Field Study Mail Art group) is an annual publication assembled by Dave Dellafiora. Field Study members send 100 A5 duplicated pages as their contribution to the Report and in return receive a copy of the 'Journal of Field Study International' as one of the more welcome items in the post (- for more information about Field Study visit sketchBook page 3).
Field Report image Field Report 2005 invite
Thinking about my contribution to the Report during 2005, I decided, given my interests, it would be an appropriate idea to set up some kind of sound project, using the mail art network to provide sonic materials in the same way visual elements are often submitted and built into a larger work. The first invitation to this project was expressed as a Field Study emanation which ran as follows: 'Invent a music that changes its colour when played - invite others to participate' and was listed as 'score 84' as a reference to and continuation of my work with 82 Scores. The report page also gave an address for a Field Study project webpage and in writing this, the title became 'The Sound of the Field' and the full TSOTF brief was also established.
Emanation TSOTF Brief
At the time, I saw this as a very small-scale enterprise and one that wouldn't have occurred to me had it not been for the prompting of the Report. However, as the sounds began to accumulate and I started to work on presentation and coding, it dawned on me that 'The Sound of the Field' was indicating the potential of a whole new area of collaborative practice for PMusic and has since led to my thinking and development of the Open Compositions area of this site, particularly the Consemble project.
The Sound of the Field is a mail art project inasmuch as: the first appeal was to Field Study members; the sounds were 'posted' to me either as emailed MP3 attachments or as CDs/DVDs via the postal system (I don’t like the term 'snail mail') or, in two instances, as phone calls. The work draws upon the aesthetics and ethos of the mail art network - democratic, uncensorious, non-hierarchical, playful, committed. However, the net was widened to include other invited participants and so the work called upon people outside of the usual mail art circle. I must also add that, although I do engage in some mail art projects, I cannot claim to be a regular organiser or contributor and so have listened the welcome advice and experience of artworker David Dellafiora. I'd like to think this work is best described as a mail art/PMusic hybrid.
It’s difficult to find the correct word to describe my role in the proceedings - since 'composer' would imply that I’m taking credit (auteur-like) for the overall piece, which I cannot do because the piece has been constructed from the various sonic elements posted by a variety of people and it is from this variety (and energy) that the piece derives its charge. 'Organiser' is better perhaps, but still implies someone with an overarching responsibility which doesn’t seem to quite exactly describe what happened (music sometimes being defined as 'organised sound' - which would return me to the role of composer). Facilitator or co-ordinator are perhaps nearer the mark but have a rather bureaucratic ring to them. Perhaps a new word for this role is yet to be invented but I want to stress that I really just feel part of the team of 28 people who created this sound art work.
The sounds themselves come from a range of geographical locations and the piece serves (although this was not an intention at the time) as a social document - a mapping of sounds heard in 2006.

This work (as in all Open Composition project work) is underpinned by the following:
1./ the work will use the PMusic method to produce a form of indeterminate music/sound work
2./ no commercial gain will be made from the work
3./ any performance or publication of the work will fully credit all contributors