Cities and Memory is a global field recording & sound art work that presents both the present reality of a place, but also its imagined, alternative counterpart – remixing the world, one sound at at time. The Dada Sounds project, released on 5th February 2016, marks a century of Dadaism by applying the techniques and practices of Dada to field recordings from around the world, bringing a Dadaist approach to the concepts of sound, place and memory.
For my work, ‘Ssa-ha-la’, I chose to use an existing sound from the Cities and Memory database, since I felt this was more in keeping with the spirit of the Dada readymade than procuring my own field recording would have been (although I ultimately manipulated the recording far more than perhaps Marcel Duchamp would have approved of!). Listening closely to the sound of the waves and seagulls at low tide, I decided to write a sound poem, in the ‘Bruitist’ (or phonetic) form invented by Dadaist Richard Huelsenbeck, which would reflect and exaggerate the natural sounds accompanying it, replacing semantic logic with sonic logic. The result is a kind of ‘sound song’ which intertwines with the cries of the gulls and sibilant waves.
‘SSa-ha-la’ appears on Cities and Memory’s Dada Sounds highlights compilation, available as a pay-what-you-want download here.