11 – Reviews and responses
Paul Oomen, 4DSOUND
The project Sonority, realized at the Spatial Sound Institute in 2018, has been a unique project, in two different ways: first of all, it has highlighted new possibilities of storytelling that emerge from working with the medium of spatial sound, a way of approaching the medium that hasn’t been explored in this way before. Secondly, It introduces the notion of geographical space into the sonic experience. Geographical space, meaning the spatial and cultural dissemination and diversion by means of different dialects, different habits and therefore different ways of telling a story, has been made very explicit by telling that same story from the point of view of six different geographical locations. Since in Sonority we have six simultaneous geographical locations as our points-of-view (or rather: points-of-listening) - locations that are in fact culturally strongly connected yet diverse - , space becomes a way to make tangible the subtle personal and cultural diversions that occur within language. As such, Sonority does not just tell a story with the addition of spatial sound effects, but literally turns the auditory reality of spatial disposition and relations into its very central theme. Telling the story thus transcends the meaning of the actual story itself and becomes a vehicle for exploring the meaning of cultural and geographic relations, how and who we are, and where - our historical coming-about and potential pathways into the future.
Greenaway’s choice to build her work around a well-known fairytale, popular in the wider area of Central Europe, opens up yet another potential, which its inherent appeal to children. Through identifying with an accessible story which probably most of us have heard when we were a child, and translating that in the form of a new medium, makes this medium potentially accessible for young people, as well gives them the chance to identify with the story in unexpected ways and deeper levels that are resulting from spatial interaction. The piece becomes a potentially very powerful experience for children to identify with their cultural surrounding, highlights the necessity to embrace diversity and to experience increased empowerment of own creative role as listeners/ spectators.
We look forward to continue presenting Greenaway’s work in the future, especially to groups of children of different ages.
“I really like how as an audience member, I felt like I was inside the stories. The nature sounds, the creaking of steps going down into the cellar, even though I couldn't understand what they were saying, I could really spatially feel like I was there … it was trance-like.”
“Your project brought forth many emotions in me. As a Hungarian I haven't heard the story before but many elements were familiar from other folktales what actually I listened or read such a long time ago therefore it was a bit of a time travel to my childhood and into a dreamy universe. Listening the sentences from different loudspeakers made me walk around in the space what gave a special dynamic to the whole performance. You needed to be curious to seek the new information to avoid missing any part. The visuals, sound effects and the rusty voice of the official storyteller women created a unique atmosphere in the space, I still have goosebumps from it.”