Barking Box drops a live environmental transmitter into a site by the Thames estuary, setting up ways for listeners to access it remotely and at less heard times of night and day.
The stream is presented on a page with live Internet Relay Chat (IRC), where listeners can join other artists, ecologists and activists to discuss what we are hearing. These conversations will form a log over the period of the conference 'Unheard Landscapes' and the basis of two presentations on-line / on-site for the meeting in Blois.
Stream also available on the Locus Sonus
Unheard Landscapes runs from 27-30 October 2021 at FKL — École de la Nature et du Paysage — AAU CRESSON. Program
Barking Creek / River Roding outfall
[T]he perfect destination for wastes
[McGrath demolition archives]
Pollution here takes many forms, as with the former Beckton Gasworks, which until quite recently had its own micro weather system: a cloud cap which could be seen from far off. Heavy contamination has brought a pause in development of the site, which supports a dense and varied soundworld.
Invertebrates and water birds (cormorants, spoonbills) populate the inter-tidal mudflats, while the waste handling facilities, sewage works and rough ground attract gulls, starlings, goldfinches and raptors, with reed warblers and buntings along the fringing reedbeds. River water, tidal movements, wastes, birds, sewage create a complex of flows. While the Thames in both directions is under active development for new housing, the soundworld here is quite wild and unresolved, and the area remains open for off-grid activities: bait collection, hanging out.
The Environment Agency manages the Roding Barrier, which is closed occasionally for flood control or testing. A collaboration in development aims to establish a long-term audio stream from the base of the barrier, near to where the streambox is placed for Unheard Landscapes. The proof of concept allows us to listen collectively and extend a lexicon of more and less familiar entities: settling tanks, excrements, recycling streams, processing plants, strip-outs, shipping containers, logistics, flounder, smelt, surge tides, waders, salvage, hardcore - being constantly aggregated, segregated, assimilated, expelled.
Stream live from Wednesday 27/10/21 until the battery runs out (a couple of weeks)
Presentation by Artur Vidal: Thursday 28th October at 17:30-18:00 UTC+2.
Remote listening session Saturday 30th October at 12:15-12:45 UTC+2
Chat transcript 28 October 2021
ⓘ web24 is now known as dawn
ⓘ web14 is now known as grant
it s pretty congested
i think they are fabricating a new waste handling structure
ah, some respite from the engines
lasted about 20 seconds
the summer seeming like an idyll now..
that fleeting high pitch peep or something else?
yes that one
hoping the person playing the tunes might decide to end the day early
i guess they have to turn it up pretty loud
fragments of water - is the music from a boat?
could be, the tide should be coming in tho
high tide approx 17:50
perfect storm of plane, construction party
sounding really constricted.. to me
like little in the way of niches to cling on to
by comparison, say with earlier
in the seaso
in the stoppage
maybe the fishermen brought some kind of boom box
like a big one - sounds pretty low
or there's a party on the attenborough boat
Is that an electronic seagull in the background? Or a child
phases of wastes.. sounding like a thick phase
Ari is here as well
like: i m struggling to hang on to this thing from Tsing..
peak flight time as well
it s like a maelstrom of waste.. we re in
here in Blois, we can listen to aircraft and beautiful river SOUnDING
this is the end of the world (if we know it)
yeah - it is
(as we know it)
believe it or not this stream sounded pretty tranquil in august
it feels tough really - undercommons style
crickets rattling in the long grass
like since the stop, the paro, there has been a (re) intensification
Still waiting for someone barking
since this is like the outfall
of E London..
across the creek is a sewage works
so we can monitor the effluent and those jetting off to quieter places, perhaps
Autumn might need to be a bit tough so at it can be deep
that s it -
Our Materials Recycling Facility (MRF) in Barking(Essex) is permitted by the Environment Agency toreceive over 500,000 tonnes per annum and acceptvirtually all types of commercial and municipal wastes.
'These [damaged landscapes] are sites in which to seek allies.'
says Anna Tsing
alliance with toxins
very occasional wagtails
exploring new alliances
To listen politically is to detect the traces of not-yet-articulated common agendas
hard listening.. you think
then, like Dawn says, there are passages that are different.. maybe very early or when the wind shifts..
on hot days you can hear the mud cracking on the black rocks
the waste plants are inhabited by great numbers of birds, now submerged..
chuckling in the background.. maybe
digging for food in the mud, avoiding the discarded trolleys and TVs
yeah well off-beat foraging activities..
can hear the incoming water a little better now
Chirpings gone, crows are back
little sonic clumps and esoteric hangouts
They are what we hear in organiser Beverley] Brown's political listening and related arts of noticing.
They require stretching concepts of the commons.
stretched commons is about right
or chinook rather
Why Arthur don't you explain what we are suppose to do with this? Thank you
And perhaps strangest of all:
This patch is a significant reservoir of biodiversity
overflown overstuffed overflowing
By contrast, the more sanitised 'natural areas' down the river are almost certainly less valuable
sounds like a site under various pressures today
as a fugitive space - under pressure
it sounds exposed to flows
the stream will run for a while - at times, over the next days, there will be openings - clearings
changing weather, tides, other comings and goings
over long time too
stay with it! ha
ah- i see it's just SC logged in again
this piece was first tried for 'no matter what' - n'importe quoi
maybe everybody went for a drink already
a term from Tristan Garcia proposing (for us) flat ontologies of listening
i think we reached the end of the session
we overflowed a little even -
thank you Artur!
thanks very much to Unheard.. for the invitation -
it's great to be in conversation with the conference
it seems like a fascinating program
(earth is the work)
see you on saturday
c u dawn
3 people here
Transcript from the chat on 28/10/2021
we are wondering how the conference is going in Blois..
i am listening.. and maybe you are listening too..
to this live stream from the Thames estuary
a place of flows..
ⓘ web14 is now known as dawn
ⓘ web43 is now known as grant
of ambiguous materials
the steambox is near the edge of the water – you hear the water lapping, perhaps
we re on the way to Glasgow with a van full of equipment for As if radio..
we re at a birthday event for a pretty old person..
our minds are all over the place (Ella Finer)
taking the live streams as machines as perches
points to sonically alight
it s pretty windy
i wonder about the weather in Blois..
all the time our ears are in the washing machine of Barking
up the creek
also wonder about the weather in barking
sounds pretty stormy
yes! like here in s london feels quite placid
just over the river i am worrying slightly about the box
sounds like fierce gusts and water slopping close by
could be deceptive
migrating birds gather in small groups in pockets of vegetation
theres a storm in north england where i am not, quite fitting with the sounds from barking
it s a kind of barely a park
is it what you d call a 'recreational space'?
derelict natural area?
Third landscape? (Gilles Clément)
3rd soundscape? (Leandro Pisano, John Grzinich)
is there a 4th landscape
maybe this could be it
were ppl in Blois able to join the IRC?
3rd soundscapes i imagine as something a bit different
on Thursday there were technical issues..
perhaps there are still..
a former industrial site re-claimed
it could be
a verge on the edge of a motorway
but 3rd landscape for GC is i think a variety
of different kinds of places, including motorway verge for sure
a place, i would say, to one side of development narratives
but barking seems a level more complex
it sounds kind of complex / basic
hello from Blois
basic life / complex, congested
we were waiting for you on zoom but nobody is there!
vous pouvez entendre?
aha we are here!
estamos en contacto
bien - gracias -
mccartney used ecotone – a marginal zone, a transitional area or time where species from adjacent ecosystems interact.
este lugar curioso
we can listen perfectly the birds and the river on the background
i love goélands
yes we try to avoid zoom whenever possible
i am sorry, otoh, to add technical challenges for the organisers..
yes but we agreed to have a meeting!
as if they do not have enough
but here we are
de todos modos
what is goélands?
yes here we are!
a bird of course
yes! what is ah of course
it s onomatopoeic? a bit?
so now boat traffic
the thames is wide here
we re actually at the outfall of a tributary
the River Roding
are there idrophones as well underwater?
and its smaller sub channel, is it?
maybe one day
I love the sea 💧💧
ok - so transitional
between river and sea perhaps
There is some lobsters ?
depending on the tides..
well.. there could be crayfish
i saw a seal there once
I love lobsters too more than goélands
would we hear one?
ⓘ web81 is now known as sousterrain
lobsters also pretty quiet animals?
or perhaps not
"if you don't like the sea, if you don't like the mountain, if you don't like the country... well, go f**k yourself " JL Godard
definitive summary really
Yes lobsters IS pretty cool 👌
i prefer 🦀
cormoran are good too
i went to this place first in lockdown when we couldn't travel very far
the sense of openness was welcome in quarantine
With some curry or "sauce Andalouse"
ah yes - i sense it s almost lunch time in Blois..
and the tidal comings and goings
samourai ou andalouse
i think you can fish for smelt
the steambox is strapped to a kind of log
but i don't know how appetising they are
which i guess will wash off
if the water comes much highter
We are in the toilet next to the sea and we eat lobsters with andalouse
we're stil having issues with laptops on different browsers . tried both wi-fi network and mobile data...
it is really a toilet on city scale
i think if you go fishing in barking you are more likley to pick up a discarded tv
than a lobster
i love sea urchin miam
This IS a COOOL chat
the sewage works sits on the very edge by the river..
nice 2 meet u
We're all Friends now
with settling tanks and pumps
and sifts out.. supposedly..
yes the sewage- they let out clouds of black liquid around once a day
into the thames
the cormorants seem to love it
however, people working in the river have some doubts
Good bye my love lobsters ans sous terrain
aah.. are we finishing?
is it over?
actually the stream will be up for a little more..
then i m going to go pick it up and take it to glasgow
listen in at acousticommons.net/listen
to As if radio..
still some people here it seems- unless they are checking out the page for as if
i guess the chat is linked
from 31st OCT to 12 November
we will be streaming live sounds like this, together with sound and transmission works
and real time coverage of actions around the COP
you can also send us your sounds
using the free app Locuscast
or by other means..
i guess people have gone for lunch?
many thanks to Unheard.. for working out the tech
and welcoming us to the conference
c u l
5 people here
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