Workshop with Mitakayal, 2016

Workshop with Mitakayal, 2016

(photo above : Yavu preparing a new boompole)

Sounds recorded by the participants, editing by Y.D.
October 21-23, 2016.

Mitakayal is a project by Laling Yumin and Wagi Qmisan.
Skaru group of Atayal people in Hsinchu County, Taiwan.
www.mitakayal.org

 

Preparation : packing my own equipment (and forgetting my boompole, taking my two kids to the mountains for doing a workshop is not the easiest part of this project), preparing some sounds for sharing, some portable recorders and headphones for the participants.
Leaving home and driving, arriving at Mitakal : suddenly, the change of environment, from the hills of Taipei to mid-altitude mountains of Hsinchu has an immediate effect on me : reappropriate the senses, change the perspective, adapt to another timeframe.
We start by a listening session. I often believe it is better to open the ears indoor. I usually bring my old pair of loudspeakers (who traveled everywhere in Taiwan from Matsu to Pingtung, from Qimei to Yilan) so I know what kind of auditory experience I can provide. Ethnographical documents such as the vanished indigenous people of Terra del Fuego, fragments of sound environments from Antarctica, my own recordings of the fauna of Taiwan (amphibians, mammals, birds, underwater creatures), those are tools for reconnecting the ears to the imagination, offering a new field of perception.
Then the technical explanations : the tools are simple, portable recorders, protections against the wind for the sensitive built-in microphones, and the mandatory headphones that allows to check in real-time what is being recorded. These items help to concentrate the attention on sound and bring another type of body experience, a mediated interface between the ears, the hand and the environment.
The first work of a field recordist is to listen to the world through these devices : the microphone acts like a telescope or a microscope, it allows to discover the sounds from another perspective and even allows to explore the sonic phenomena that are usually hard or impossible to detect. The headphone isolate from the direct sounds, it projects the audition towards outside. It’s a bit like if the hands were holding the ears.
We try the equipment indoor, then go out, in the night. The absence of daylight helps forgetting a bit about vision. Insects, night birds and some muntjack and flying squirrels are singing all along. And the wind, and the water are singing too, it is a tapestry of sound.
The participants are very quick. They jump and dive into this listening experience. They were ready for it, because they have an intense relationship to their environment, their knowledge of the forest, of the mountain is coming from their practice of hunting, gathering, observing. They immediately embrace the devices for listening to the sounds, and start collecting them.
Later during the night, the collective discussing is partly a sharing, partly a re-processing of this experience.
The path is open, they know what is possible, they can develop their own sound project.
The next day, they spend a bit of time alone. Some will try to make a sound trap by settling the recorder at the entrance of a pangolin’s burrow, some will record cicadas and bird songs, some will catch the delicate popping sound of some seeds drying in the sun. The last hours are spent introducing about sound editing, using software for cutting, arranging, mixing the recorded sounds.
The workshop was very short, but extremely satisfying : I have the feeling that not only the participants could swallow and digest what I wanted to share, but also immediately imagine some ways to implement the field recording practice.
Also, they even made a new boompole for me, with bamboo.

 

在微獵角的聲音工作坊

準備工作:整理我的裝備(而且忘了我的錄音稈…帶兩個幼齡小孩到山上去進行工作坊,恐怕不是這個計畫中最簡單的部份…)、準備活動中要分享的聲音檔、以及幾個要給參與者用的手持錄音機和耳機。

駛離家裡,到達目的地“微獵邊境”:突然,環境的轉變_從台北近郊丘陵到中高海拔的新竹山區,在我身上產生了立即的效應:感覺器官重新適應,視野和景深變了,並且連時間感知尺度也跟著調動。

我們從一個聆聽活動開始。我常常認為其實在室內將耳朵打開是一個不錯的方式。通常我會帶著一對舊喇吧(它們跟著我去了台灣的許多地方,從馬祖到屏東,從七美到花蓮),由於熟悉,所以我知道可以透過它們帶來甚麼樣的聽覺經驗。民族學式的聲音文件,例如火地島上消失的原住民族;南極冰原的環境聲音片段,我自己紀錄的台灣的一些動物(兩棲類、哺乳類、鳥類、水下生物聲音…等),這些都是一些能協助耳朵重新連結想像,提供一個感覺的新地基。

接著是技術性的解說:應用的工具很簡單,手持錄音機、防風罩(保護敏感的內建麥克風) 、以及密閉式耳機(能讓錄音者同步檢查正在紀錄的內容)。這些設備能幫助我們集中注意力於聲音現象上,並帶來另一種身體經驗,一個介於耳朵、手和所處環境之間的即時互動。

一個田野錄音工作的第一個工作就是透過這些器材去聆聽世界:麥克風就像是一個望遠鏡有時又像是個顯微鏡,它可使我們從另一個視角去發現聲音,甚至去探索某些通常人耳難以去感知的聲音現象。耳機將我們與直接的聲音環境隔離起來,但它又將我們的聽覺投向外在世界中。這有點像是我們將耳朵裝在手上那樣!

我們在竹屋內測試工具,然後走向室外,是夜晚。白日光線的缺席協助我們多少忘記關於視覺的世界。鳴蟲、夜裡的鳥、幾隻山羌和飛鼠,用牠們的聲響全程陪伴著。以及夜風,和溪流聲也唱著,布成了一片聲音的織毯。

參與者們都十分敏捷迅速。他們似乎以跳步那樣地潛入這個聆聽經驗中。其實,他們早就準備好了,因為他們自身就擁有與這個環境有著深度的連結,那些關於山林的豐富知識,來自於原住民在山林中的授獵、採集、和觀察經驗。他們立即很好地應用著這組聆聽聲音的工具,並開始紀錄周邊環境裡的聲音。稍後的晚間,我們重聚一起討論,部份是分享所錄內容,部份則是這個經驗的重述。路徑是開放的,而他們很清楚存在著哪些可能性,我感覺他們有能力去發展屬於自己的聲音計畫。

隔日,他們各自花了一些時間獨自去錄音。其中一位試著放一個錄音機(“聲音陷阱”)在穿山甲的巢穴前,另一位則是紀錄蟬和鳥鳴,還有一位試著錄下原生種傳統作物“樹豆”豆莢在太陽下熟成裂開的聲音。工作坊的最後時間留給關於聲音剪輯的基礎概念和介紹,軟體的應用:已錄聲音素材的剪輯、混音和調整。

這個工作坊時間雖然很短,但是卻頗令人驚喜:我感覺到參與者不僅僅能消化我想分享的內容,而且還能夠立即地想像出一些田野錄音的適切應用。

順帶一提,其中一位甚至還三兩下就用竹子幫我做了一根新的錄音稈。

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