Soundscape: Shapinsay, Orkney, Scotland
Shapinsay, Orkney, Scotland - a slowly undulating green pasture inhabiting a slim horizon between ever-changing seas and skies. A place where banished thieves and witches shape-shift into crying curlews and watchful seal-shadows, restlessly inhabiting storm-birthed beaches. And a place of electricity. Turbines relentlessly turning, solar panels defying clouds, capturing an invisible force from turbulent wind and untrustworthy sun. A power strung out on wires that gridreference the land.
A ten day retreat produced this track, field recordings and editing done entirely on the island. The sounds used are unmanipulated and were all recorded in a very small patch during a strange short time when winds seemed to be fighting to reclaim the power stretched in a particular section of one electric fence. These sounds were never heard again during that stay, despite much hoping and listening.
Sound is about listening, being open to surroundings, and sometimes being in the right place at the right time – as in this work. Leona had gone to the island with little intention of recording. The sounds called to her and she heard, listened, and responded. This is the joy and wonder of working with sound.
The soundscape was chosen as part of the sonic art exhibition accompanying the Women in Sound Women on Sound forum held at Lancaster University, UK, and was presented in the Peter Scott Gallery on the campus during April 2016.