Magneto Mori: Vienna
Produced by Mark Vernon.
Kunstradio, ORF Ö1, 92.0 FM, Sunday, 10th February 2018, 23:00 – 0:00 CET.
The debut of a new radio production commissioned by Kunstradio will be aired on Sunday 10th February at 11pm European time, 10pm GMT.
Magneto Mori: Vienna is a fragmented sound portrait of the city constructed from found sounds, buried tapes and field recordings. In this de-composition sounds from Vienna’s past and present are conjoined in a stew of semi-degraded audiotape.
Using a portable reel-to-reel tape recorder sounds from around the city were recorded direct to tape over a two-day period. This tape was then cut into fragments and buried in a hole in the ground with a number of tacky souvenir ‘Vienna’ fridge magnets that erase the portions of the tape that they come into contact with. After several days steeped in the muddy earth of a Viennese garden the remaining audio fragments were exhumed, washed, dried and spliced back together in random order. The deliberate distressing and erosion of these present-day recordings results in artificially degraded sounds that fast-forward the effects of time, disrupting the perceived chronology of this audio matter. During the tapes interment old cassette, Dictaphone and reel-to-reel tapes were gathered from local flea markets and additional field recordings were made around the city. The addition of these found sounds stretches the timescale from just the short period spent making location recordings to as far back as fifty years into the past. All of these elements provided the raw materials for a radiophonic composition that represents a portrait of Vienna in both place and time; an archaeological excavation of found sounds, lost fragments, buried memories and magnetic traces. Presented here are the sounds that endured…
This project has been supported through Creative Scotland’s Open Project Funding Programme.
Mark Vernon –
Magneto Mori: Kilfinane
Release date: 15th February, 2019
New tape available for pre-order from Italian label Canti Magnetici. Limited edition of 100 copies. Cover artwork by asenseofsomeplace.
Magneto Mori is an exploration of tape recording as a form of memory storage. In this iteration the location is the Irish mountain town of Kilfinane. Using a portable reel to reel tape recorder sounds from around the town were recorded onto the first side of the tape over a two day period – dripping rain, creaky gates, car mechanics, drainpipes, shops, church bells, refrigerator cabinets, wind blowing through the trees, passing traffic, etc. were just some of the sounds encountered.
On the second side were compiled voices of Kilfinane – extracts from the personal radio archives of Diarmuid McIntyre and Grey Heron Media that date back as far as twenty years or more. The recordings selected consisted mostly of local history, coverage of community events, news stories of local interest and interviews with a variety of Kilfinane residents.
Using tape as an analogy for the frailty of human memory this tape was then cut into pieces of random length, freeing the sounds from their linear, chronological sequence. The tape cuttings were then intermingled with a collection of magnets that de-magnetise (thus erasing) portions of the tape. The tape (along with the magnets) was then buried in a hole in the grounds of the local school. After several days steeped in the earth of Kilfinane the remaining audio fragments were exhumed. Dirty, mangled and partially erased the tape was washed, dried and spliced back together in a random order ready for playback.
This process of recording, emancipation from chronology, burial, erasure over time, unearthing and the reassembly of jumbled fragments for playback parallels the operation of memory and recall. Experience, retention, buried memories, forgetting, distortions, recall and chronological inaccuracies are all aspects of the human memory process. The main difference being that our memory is selective and plays an active role in what it chooses to remember or forget rather than the arbitrary procedures that are in operation here.
Once the tape was cut into pieces there was no way of telling which fragments were which and in the process of splicing the tape back together the voice recordings gathered over a twenty year period became interspersed with the sounds of those two days spent making field recordings in the area.
Further digital recordings were also made around the same location during the period of the tape’s interment. The contrast between these higher fidelity field recordings and the degraded analogue sounds added a further substrata of time to the process.
The final listening event consisted of two parts: A straight uninterrupted playback of side one (aside from occasional tape jams).
Followed by: Playback of the second side combined with a live collage of pre-prepared field recordings made in the intervening days.
Side A and Side B of this cassette tape correspond to these two distinct versions of the piece.
Magneto Mori was first presented at the Kilfinane Convent Chapel as part of the Hearsay Festival on October 1st, 2017.
Research Laboratories / RL020 Cassette
New tape album ‘Orphaned Works’ by Mark Vernon - out now on Research Laboratories. Twelve tracks. Limited edition of 30 copies only.
>>> Monaural verbal stimuli of forgotten provenance <<<
Available in the UK from Penultimate Press.