"Recent travels have brought me into contact with some difficult and potentially dangerous places. Most are sites of major environmental/ecological damage, but others include nuclear sites or the edges of military zones. The danger is not necessarily to a short-term visitor, but to the people who live there or through the location's role in geopolitical power structures. Some are areas where extreme and hostile conditions have been created, in others the danger has been hidden or absorbed into the local economy. In yet others regeneration is underway.
Such places include the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone, Ukraine; the Caspian Oil Fields near Baku, Azerbaijan; the Munzur River (a Euphrates tributary) valley in Kurdish Turkey where 19 very controversial dams are planned; Thetford Forest beside USAF air bases in the UK; North Wales in the areas where Chernobyl fallout will effect farming practice for years to come.
Many sound recordings were made at these sites. Photographic and other visual images were taken. Interviews and background research provide textual documents. It is noticeable that environmentally damaged sites can be both sonically and visually compelling, if not beautiful and atmospheric. There is, often, an extreme dichotomy between an aesthetic response and knowledge of the 'danger', whether it is pollution, social injustice, military or geopolitical.
"Sounds From Dangerous Places" asks the questions, "What elements of the soundscape of a dangerous place are effected, changed, created or destroyed as a result of its 'dangerousness'? and, "What insights can sound offer into the environmental, social and political contexts of a 'dangerous place'?" The project presents the field recordings as they are, in the belief that such recordings offer insights into the locations and issues that are different from, and complimentary to, those of visual images and texts. Supplementary questions are "What information about place can field recordings give that is special to sound?" and conversely, "What information is given by the other media that sound cannot?"