Fylkingen Artist In Residence, November 2001 - Marsch 2002


Chris Watson (UK) and Mike Harding (UK)


Chris Watson and Mike Harding were invited to Stockholm by Fylkingen with support from IASPIS. As part of the exchange project Chris Watson and Mike Harding performed a site-specific sound installation at the Royal Swedish Academy of Fine Arts in Stockholm and held a workshop in "field recording" at the Royal University College of Fine Arts in Stockholm during the fall of 2001.

The installation LISTENING POST was based on a number of different sound recordings, made by Chris Watson all around the world. Places, territories, habitats, atmospheres, combined into an eight-channel sound installation, which in the Royal Academy's sculpture hall created an intricate dialogue with one of the most symbolically charged places in the art history of Sweden.

Chris Watson's sound recordings consist of limited ecological systems that are investigated by use of a microphone. The atmosphere, the specific spatiality of the place, the time of day, the season and the position of the listener - for Chris Watson all these parts are just as important for his investigation as geographic, historical and scientific facts.

In Listening Post the recorded material worked, in relation to the symbolic nature of the place, the architecture and the Royal Academy's antique sculpture collection, as an intricate metaphor for art and culture. Wind from Scotland, elephants from Africa, hippopotamuses, insects, birds created an audial space, a landscape that both contrasted against the history of the site and formed correspondences to the notion of nature in art.


"In recent years I have noticed that some of the locations I visited as a sound recordist display remarkable and particular characteristics. These may be sparkling acoustics, a special timbre, sometimes rhythmic, percussive or transient animal sound. Sites are discovered by researching local nature or social history, by interpreting features on a map or through anecdote and conversation with people about their feeling for or against particular places. The author and researcher Tom Lethbridge identified the sources of several spirits within the topography of the area. I suspect that this also includes flora and fauna, local time of day, the weather and the season.The following recordings are the atmospheres of special places".

(Chris Watson; Stepping into the Dark, Touch 1996)


Recordings by Chris Watson

Red Deer (Cervus Elaphus)

Location: 'Creag Mhor', Speyside, Scotland

Raven (Corvus Corax)

Location: 'The hill of the wolf', Badenoch, Scotland

African Elephants (Loxodonta Africana Cyclotis)

Location: 'Beyond ol Tukai', Amboseli, Africa

Fierynecked Nightjar (Caprimulgus Pectoralis)

Location: 'Topi Plains', Masai Mara, Africa

Curlew (Numenius Arquata)

Location: 'Eals Burn', Northumberland

The Lapaich (Winds across a mountain)

Location: 'Eals Burn', Northumberland

Black Grouse (Tetrao Tetrix)

Location: 'The Cairngorms', Scotland

Unknown Insects

Location: 'Oolananoo Ridge', Kenya

Unknown Amphibians

Location: 'The Musiara Gate', Masai Mara, Africa


Sound Recording Workshop at the Royal University College of Fine Arts in Stockholm, November 2001

Arranged by Fylkingen in co-operation with the Royal University College of Fine Arts (with support from IASPIS)

Presented by Chris Watson and Mike Harding

"The main idea behind the workshop is to present an introduction to the idea of how we hear & listen with recorded examples, and this would be followed by demonstrations of binaural techniques and simple 'how to do it' lessons. The creative aspects of enjoying what we hear & how to listen critically should be emphasised, as well as why we should object to noise pollution and how to create alternatives which can alter our moods, behaviour and thoughts. A simple binaural recording kit of 2 personal mics fitted to the 'recordist' connected to a portable mini-disc would suffice for the first part of the workshop. This could be operated and shared by two students for economy and ease of operation. They could take a journey on the Stockholm railway, for example, or go underground, to record their movements and sounds during the journey. They may stop at various points to record the changes of atmosphere/acoustic/perspective - this is analysed at a playback session where detailed notes on how to listen are discussed and demonstrated. Listening is an active and creative function that can be learnt and improved upon with experience. Students can learn to discriminate between wanted and unwanted sounds and thus take control of their sonic environment. So there are 4 main areas of discussion, as well as an introduction and summary: I] Realising the potential hidden within location sounds II] Macro session, perspective and the value of getting in close III] Microphone installations and recording techniques IV] Processing and other post-recording methods and techniques "

Participants were students at the school and invited artists from Fylkingen.


LISTENING POST by CHRIS WATSON in collaboration with Thomas Liljenberg and MSC Harding

Royal Swedish Academy of Fine Arts' sculpture hall, 9-17 March 2002

Technical producer: Benny Nilsen


For more information on Chris Watson


For more information on Mike Harding











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