Thursday, April 21, 2016

Orford Ness 

Sound Recording field trip to an internationally important coastal nature reserve, with a fascinating
20th-century history
with Chris Watson and Jez riley French

5-7th July, 2016

A unique mid-week field trip to the National Trust’s Orford Ness National Nature Reserve with access to areas normally off limits to visitors (with careful guidelines as site has fragile habitats and was used as a military testing facility) and two nights on Orford Ness! 
During the trip there will be extensive exploration of recording the Ness and its abandoned military structures with conventional microphones (inc. surround and ambisonic options), parabolic arrays, contact mics, hydrophones, ultrasonic detectors, coils and geophones.
To ensure the best experience for all we are limiting the number of places to 10 participants.
This is an amazing opportunity to explore and record one of the most historically fascinating sites in the UK important in the development of military techniques and equipment from WWI to the Atomic age. Whilst the Ness has plenty of nature to record, this particular trip is likely to also appeal strongly to those interested in architectural acoustics, psychogeography and various approaches to the use of field recording in the wider sound arts. 
For more information on the site visit:

The trip is, of course, suitable for participants interested in any aspect of field recording, sound and the act and art of listening, however due to the unique aspects of the site the trip might be of particularly interest to those working with field recording as a process in the wider arts (sound, installation, video art). Chris and Jez will be on hand to instigate discussions on the various subtle aspects of working with found sound, diffusion or recordings and interacting with environments. In addition, linking with Framework (Resonance FM's field recording based show) participants will be invited to contribute to a special edition of the show based around this trip.

Accommodation is in the ‘basic’, self-catering building on the ness itself. There are 3 bunk rooms so we will book participants based on availability in male and female rooms. Participants will need to bring their own sheets, quilt or sleeping bag and pillows + food and drink for the duration. There is no catering element to this trip so we will all have to pitch in & prepare meals together. If we can persuade the ferry operator there might be one evening trip back to the mainland so we can go to the pub for a meal.  

day one: please aim to arrive at Orford Quay at 2:00pm. We will then ferry everyone to the ness and be transported to the accommodation building to settle in. 
We’ll hold a welcome meeting, giving us all the chance to get to know each other and discuss our aims for the trip and begin exploring the ness, recording during the afternoon, evening and through the night.
day two: further exploration of the ness, including access to the various abandoned buildings + the option for playback sessions in the evening.
day three: further exploration of the ness, including access to buildings. We’ll aim to be ready to leave the ness by the ferry at 5pm or before if you wish.

Cost: £350 per person 

what’s included: 
. access to Orford Ness, including various military structures and natural 
. accommodation for 3 days / 2 nights on Orford Ness
. parking in the public car park and ferry crossings on National Trust’s Octavia
. access to help, assistance and advice from Chris and Jez 
. two NT guides, with in-depth knowledge of the Ness and on site transport
. Chris and Jez will also bring extensive recording equipment with them, which participants will also
  be able to try alongside their own kit.

what’s not included:
. food and drink
. bed linen (please bring your own)
. travel to and from Orford
. travel / personal insurance
  nb. it is envisaged that participants will have some experience of field recording and have their own   recording equipment

suggestions of what you should bring:
. clothes for all weather conditions
. decent boots capable of coping with different weather conditions 
. bed linen or sleeping bag and pillow cases, towel, toiletries
. recording equipment inc. headphones
. batteries, chargers etc.
. camera
. food and drink for the duration  
. notebook and pen
. head torch
. laptop for editing and playback of recordings

There is some mobile signal on the ness, but it can be patchy. It is unlikely there will be any internet access on the ness.

To book a place:
  1. please email Jez at: to reserve your place.
  2. you will then be sent a link to the NT booking process and will be required to pay in full for your place (this is because demand will be very high for places and due to the NT booking process. In the event that you have to cancel your place up to 2 months before the trip the NT will refund your payment minus a £50 cancellation fee. Cancellation after this will only trigger a refund if we can fill your place on the trip, minus the cancellation fee).
  3. please also email Jez your full contact information, including mobile number, details of any flights / trains you are taking to reach the meeting point, a brief description of your areas of interest in sound, the equipment you will be bringing and any questions you have. Please also update Jez on any changes to your travel plans in the weeks prior to the trip. 

Chris Watson
Chris Watson has developed a particular and passionate interest in recording the wildlife sounds of animals, habitats and atmospheres from around the world. Most recently Watson has been exploring aspects of spatial sound through Ambisonic installations in collaboration with galleries around the world such as in The Louvre, RMIT Melbourne, Krakow Botanical Gardens, The Millennium Gallery Sheffield, Opera North in Leeds and the Royal Opera House in London’s Covent Garden. Chris can be heard regularly on BBC Radio, releases albums for the Touch label and leads workshops on field recording around the world.

Jez riley French
Alongside performances, exhibitions, installations, Jez lectures and runs workshops around the world on field recording and the act and art of listening. His range of JrF specialist microphones have become widely used by recordists, sound artists, musicians and cultural organisations and have had a significant influence on the development of sound culture in recent years. He also curates various other projects exploring the broad ideas surrounding field recording as a primary art of sound / sound art.
Recent work includes commissions for Tate Modern (UK), Artisphere (USA) and for organisations in Italy, Iceland, Japan, Spain and the UK. A section of his piece for Tate Modern was also chosen to be part of the ‘500 years of British Art’ series at Tate Britain.
In recent years he has been working extensively on recordings of surfaces and spaces (natural and man made) and developing the concept of photographic scores. Jez is particularly associated with the development of extended recording techniques, including the recording of structural vibrations, contact microphone recording, ultrasonics, infrasonics, internal electronic signals via coil pick-up's and recordings made with hydrophones.
Amongst his key recent works are pieces capturing the sound of the dolomites dissolving, ants consuming fallen fruit, the Tate Modern building vibrating, the infrasound of domestic spaces around the world, glaciers melting in Iceland and the tonal resonances of natural and human objects in the landscape.

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