Mark Peter Wright
Where Once We Walked, 10’15”, 2011
Where Once We Walked, the work you will present during Helicotrema, is composed by recordings you took between 2009 and 2011 in various locations around Warsaw. Can you talk about the process that led to its creation?
The work is part of an ongoing collaboration with a Uk Charity called Another Space, whom work closely to educate and disseminate the story of 300 Holocaust survivors, evacuated to the UK after WWII. This work was produced directly from survivor accounts; from their time as children to their journeys though various ghetto’s and concentration camps of Nazi occupied Poland. In essence the project attempts to audibly revisit the places and spaces of significance in their remarkable journey.
Can you talk about the tension between past and present within the piece?
I’m interested in what is included and ommited within ‘history’. My own practice always deals with real places and real people, through investigating the two you often find anomalies in the prescribed version of that history. In that sense I think sound can fill the gaps quite well; it can give the past a different sense of reality and sensorial emotion. Of course your always dealing with a tension – the practical impossibility that you cannot record what’s past, only attempt to preserve the present.
You run Ear Room, an interview online publication around the use of sound in artistic practice. Recently, for example, you interviewed Hildegard Westerkamp. Who were your references when you started working with sound?
It’s hard to say what conscious references I had as I was probably more influenced by my surroundings. I was always outside, collecting and gathering things from a young age. Perhaps this makes sense now when I think of the similar aspects in recording, documenting and archiving. One record that did make a lasting impression on me was Chris Watson’s Stepping into the Dark. It opened up a world of possibility and exposed the slippery territories that listening so often, and so readily occupies.