Jason Kahn 
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"In Place"

Brussels, Belgium
Nantes, France
Kyoto, Japan
Tokyo, Japan
Zürich, Switzerland

2011–2013


"For many years before starting this project I'd been making environmental sound recordings in cities, in nature, at home with my family. In short, anywhere I could take a microphone. I used these recordings in room installations or incorporated them into compositions and musical performances as sound objects. But what increasingly occurred to me as I made these recordings was that something had eluded me. To bring these sound objects back to my studio and use them as material to work with was all fine and good, but what of the context I recorded these sounds in? What was the inherent nature of these places, vestiges of which still lingered on in the recordings? I began to feel that I was placing a wall between myself and these places with my microphones. The actuality of each situation I recorded in had escaped me. I'd thought that through recording I could get to the deeper meanings of a place, attempting to discern the consonance and dissonance of the many different spaces which constitute the notion of place. But in fact I failed to recognize all this while I was in the act of recording, concentrating not on the place but on the creative act of preserving a space of time as sound on my audio recorder."

The text above is from the introduction to my book "In Place," which documents these public space interventions. This series of works investigates a practice of radical awareness of various public spaces through prolonged (from eight to twelve hours) listening and observation. I took my cue from artists and writers like Henri Lefebvre, Maurice Merleau-Ponty, Georges Perec, Gaston Bachelard, and Marc Augé – all of whom proposed ideas of how we can define, interact with and produce space. More specifically, I used Henri Lefebvre's concept of "Rhythmanalysis" to approach these different spaces and think about their transformation over the course of a day.

 

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