EXTRADANAE – SAT 28th and SUN 29th OCT 10:30am-5:00pm – O’ and urban sites

Peter Cusack [UK/DE]


cusack ws

How do we hear our cities? What is our relationship with the sounds of everyday life? This workshop will explore the soundscape of Milan through listening, field recording, sound mapping, simple images and writing. The aim is to experience what is there and to discuss and document what we hear. Why does one city location sound different from another. What effects do architecture, planning, nature and social issues have on how a place sounds?

We will also try to discover what people like about the city’s soundscape by asking, “What is your favourite sound of Milan, and why?” The replies are often very revealing of a city’s sonic identity. The same question has been asked in other world cities like London, Berlin and Beijing. It will be fascinating to find how they compare with Milan. We will also pay some attention to the smaller sounds of the city and those that are difficult to hear with our ears. Hydrophones will be used to listen underwater and contact microphones to hear inside solid structures and materials. Simple electromagnetic pick-ups will reveal the ocean of electrical signals that permeate today’s city life.

by and with Peter Cusack
assistant Gaia Martino

 Technical rider

For 15 participants 7 or 8 audio recorders with headphones, spare batteries

  • hydrophones and contact mics – as many as possible (I will bring 1 hydrophone and a few contact mics)
  • playback system so we can listen to what we record.
  • Internet connection
  • Projector (if I give a brief talk about some of my work)

Concert description

Peter Cusack performs with field recordings and guitar often combined with projected images – usually photographs. These are combined to create sequences that tell stories of places and events. Sometimes I speak to give information or read a text. Images may be directly triggered by sonic events or may be seen in silence. Recent shows have used sound and images from the edges of our cities (Berlin, Brussels, Taranto) where transport links, derelict land, abandoned industrial sites, new estates, small gardens and local wildlife occur in unexpected, sometimes surreal, combinations. Other shows have included recordings from remote places such as the Aral Sea and the Chernobyl exclusion zone. The guitar playing is usually improvised and provides more abstract moments.

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