Present Place

3 week experimentation and 1 week Exhibition within the PS2 gallery, Belfast. In response to the venue’s “Sounding out Space” series. 5 June -5 July 2008

See work blog, which includes contributions from each day of the project:

Location: PS2 (Paragon Studios 2), Donegall Street, Belfast

23m² project space, with its public exposure to the street through shop front windows. Located within Cathedral Quarter amongst Belfast’s creative industry outlets, night life and independent retailers.

Series overview:

“Sounding out Space” will provide a series of explorative projects which explore aspects of ‘space’ and ‘place’ (architectural, emotional, historical, practical..) of specific focus is the PS2 project space, with its exposure to the street. The space is to be subjected to a wide range of multidisciplinary approaches; artists, musicians, choreographers, interior designers, refurbishment people, tenants…. Each participant will contribute a creative statement toward the constitution of the host locale.


“Present Place” is the culmination of my activity within the PS²  project space over a three-week period. This has been an act of both creative sound practice and ethnographic documentation.

In total over 8 hours of sound recordings have been assessed. These provide document of the sonic character of the space at varying times of day and differing days of the week. From this catalogue a number of short samples (generally 3 minutes in length) have been created that either account a typical ‘din’ or salient event. These fragments have been collected together and appropriately arranged. The resulting collage is projected back into the space through speakers positioned in reference to the original recording locations.

The projected sound composition is juxtaposed against the present resounding activity within the space. The augmenting and real sound layers exhibit a strong correlation and relation (they are both ‘of’ the same place). The listener is thus easily drawn into creating synthetic connections between the two: they struggle to clarify whether sound is real or a speaker projection, they believe that recorded elements are properties of present events (seen visually) and distrust real sounds that raise above the ordinary, supposing that they are the aesthetic inclusions of the artist. The result is an uncanny experience, one of apprehension, surprise and unease.

In support of the above, the configuration of the installation recollects the cinema: the front window as the screen and the actual and augmenting soundscapes providing the soundtrack. This analogy is continued throughout the presented composition: The sound work has been accented with a series of scenes which form a stark narrative and outline how the space could be, or has been, inhabited. These constructed events, played out in real time within real space, feed the viewers curiosity and provide further incarnations of ‘the uncanny’. 

Below pictures courtesy of Fiona Larkin, above is the original invite image created by Matt Green

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