in the Yucatan my wife and I stayed at an 'ecotel'
administered by the Centro Ecológico Sian Ka'an (CESiaK) in the Sian Ka'an
Biosphere Reserve south of Tulum.
CESiaK (a nonprofit responsible for the creation of the biosphere) is famous for
its work protecting sea turtles. Most of that work is done on the coast's long
beaches, which while lovely
are suffering: they are inundated with trash arriving on the currents so
much so that our instinctive efforts to help, by collecting bags of mostly plastic
detritus, while appreciated, were worse than useless.
center has a library of trash not only from the obvious suspects cruise
ships regularly dumping waste overboard; ill-managed growth up the coast at
Cancún, Playa del Carmen, and Tulum but from all over the world.
Hearing this, I was reminded of reports of floating 'trash
islands' collecting in the open ocean, such as the Great Pacific Garbage Patch.
morning I found the beach littered with new flotsam and made a pair of simultaneous
I made the first by inserting my (very small) Core
Sound HEB microphones into two glass bottles that had washed up; I relocated
one of them to achieve approximate human ear separation between the bottles. I
made the second, a more conventional near-binaural recording, with my Sonic
Studios DSM microphones.
a novel listening experience, play the 'ambiance' recording on a stereo while
listening to the 'resonance' recording on open-backed headphones like the Sony
wrote about this project in an essay on the evolvoution of my relationship to
sound recently; when it's published, or clear that that is not going to happen,
I'll quote myself here at length.
the meantime, suffice to say that the project is personally significant because
it represents a departure from my traditional mode of working, which has almost
always sought to capture the most transparent (by which I mean convincing) recordings
of natural acoustic space.
recordings such as this I instead allow the process of documentary recording to
be foregrounded, which in addition to other effects (which in the case of this
project are central) also foregrounds my agency within the documented space.
is slightly uncomfortable to leave the shadows.