Almost an hour of heart-stopping location recordings made by Lawrence English in Queensland, Australia in the aftermath of a summer of intense bushfires and just as the lockdown started to re-shape lives globally earlier this year. These are technically brilliant and emotionally pregnant recordings from “The Zone”, a place we find ourselves in right now, where we just might still have time to reshape the world around us if we pause to acknowledge and address our own actions.
“Sometimes, we need to stop (everything) if we are going to start to realise new ways of being in this world. Field Recordings from The Zone is a contemplation of this proposition. The title is a nod to the speculative fiction of Arkady and Boris Strugatsky; their text a perfect parallel to appreciate the uncertainties of what may lie ahead. It is also a study of the world in these moments of radical public action. The work seeks to recognise that to take our acquired methodologies, knowledge and habituated lives forward without examination reduces the possible futures that splinter infinitely before us.
We are already in The Zone even if we refuse (or fail) to recognise it. It is a place that bares marks of familiarity but maintains a restless psychogeography that can shift without warning. Ecopolitical terraforming becomes ever more plausible. The unknown (and in some cases the unknowable) haunt this place like ecstatic spectres, inviting our investigation, our curiosity and ultimately demanding our intellect. These months have been just a glimpse of the relentless dynamism that will be our lives going forward into the next millennium. This dynamism requires radical positions of thought, of generosity, of optimism and of course, radical listening, as the world’s whispers rise in amplitude.
P.S. (June 2020) And then, it was from this quiet that so many voices rose up in unison, calling together to work against systematic racism in our respective countries. If ever a sound could be as beautifully compelling as the quiet, then surely this harmonised unity is it."
Lawrence English, 2020
released October 2, 2020
Special thanks to Shlom and the posse for instigating this piece.