Ian Baxter: The Ballad of Bank Street


The Ballad of Bank Street is a piece about moving sound in space and
time. In using the outdoor sounds of Bank Street itself as its source
I’ve taken a cue from John Cage who talked about not owning any
recorded music, preferring to open his apartment window and listen to
the traffic.

By moving these sounds from outside on the street to inside the
gallery they are abstracted from their source. This gives the
opportunity to listen in a reduced way – a term coined by Pierre
Schaeffer to describe audiences listening and enjoying sounds for
their own sake, taken away from their source or supposed source.

To further abstract the sound they are also moved in time. Each of the
8 speakers in the gallery is delayed from the previous by 1 minute. At
any one time listeners are hearing a slowly decaying aggregation of
the previous 8 minutes activity on Bank Street. Individual sound
events coalesce to become a larger abstract sound mass.

Through minimal intervention I hope to have created a slowly changing,
meditative space where listeners can enjoy a different perspective on
the everyday sounds of a street in Sheffield.

The Ballad of Bank Street from Ian Baxter on Vimeo.