Ventures and Adventures in Topography
I recently had a look what was going on at Resonance FM which I haven’t done for a while. I found a series of programs by John Rogers and Nick Papadimitriou, Ventures and Adventures in Topography. Nick is better known as one of Will Self’s friends from his psychogeographic meanderings. Here they follow the walking guides from the early 20th century based around London and the South East.
In the most recent program they follow Pathfinder’s ‘Afoot Round London’ (published in 1911), and a days walk from Grange Hill Station to Loughton. They’re basically there to see what has changed from the days of the mysterious Pathfinder to today, the results are not wholly unexpected, the tracks are now roads and busier with cars. However, it’s a nice idea and attempting to follow an old walking guide seems a more useful and objective mission than some of the more usual psychogeographic accounts. It also makes me wonder about the similarity to these methodologies and their relationship to phenomenological accounts in mainstream archaeological literature.
The radio program is quite light and enjoyable, there are some readings from the original Pathfinder text, which is almost poetry and the music behind by Fabrizio Paterlini is very nice.
Voice On Record
Also on Resonance FM is episode 9: Dialects: From The Dawn of The English Language of Voice on Record. A series taking old vinyl recordings of the human voice and the environment, they’re just rather quaint to listen to. In this episode there’s a modern and original recitation of some Chaucer, and a nice old man recalling his days as a wheelwright and another chap’s earlier days as a lad drinking cider on the farm and hiding the smell from his mother by chewing parsley on the way home!
Harvest (2009) for terrafon, traditional music ensemble and cropland
Finally I found this recording and video by Swedish composer Olle Cornéer. He has built a large gramophone horn attached to an old plough, the ‘terrafon’ which is then pulled along through a field by the members of a ‘traditional music ensemble’. The sound of the plough is thus amplified as the plough cuts the land, giving an auditory aspect to the texture of the field, it seems quite bonkers but it would perhaps have pleased John Evans (2003).
Evans, J.G. 2003. Environmental Archaeology and the Social Order. London: Routledge.