Radio Tenthaus ep 127: Travel Atmospheres by Brian Smeets
18/04/2023 20:00 – 23:00
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For today’s program on Radio Tenthaus, we would like to introduce an artist from New York -Brian Smeets. Recently Brian formed a sound art practice in addition to showing photography and multimedia works; these include sound installations and binaural works. Brian was kind enough to share an open status recording with the Radio Tenthaus audiences.
The photography and sound presentations in Brian Smeets’s artistic practice investigate travel destinations and their experiential qualities with the aim of removing the spectacle of the tourist destination. Series of images showcase overlooked elements that contribute to the atmosphere of a space, such as guideposts, walkways, and windows. This atmosphere is emphasized in images by blurring the location they were taken focusing on the texture and photographic composition. The act of recording centers on the observation of overlooked minutiae and obfuscated viewpoints.
The project Travel Atmospheres have explored the traveler’s mindset and the character of the spaces they pass through. An alternative view of liminal spaces and travel destinations is presented through large scale abstracted photography and collections of images. Hyper-focus and color choice in photographs of poolside views and airport hotels directs attention to the overlooked objects in these spaces. By focusing closely on these objects, such as curtains, the postcard view is indecipherable. This use of shallow depth of field emphasizes textured objects and stimulates the haptic senses, rather than indexing to a real place while emphasizing the formal properties of the image.
Following this project Brian’s practice has focused on listening to the atmosphere of travel and domestic locations. These long duration recordings are shown as gallery installations or presented as binaural audio for wider distribution on headphones or stereo speakers. Soundwalks recorded in popular recreational sites create images of place as a counterpoint to the images in travel atmospheres, which imitate sound. Finally, ambiences recorded during the pandemic and afterwards evoke the liminal spaces in our everyday lives – sports facilities, public transportation, parks and the sounds that require active listening. To show these works experiential nature plans are for performance on multi-channel speaker installation in unique spaces.