Heritage Listening @ Black Contemporary

Black Contemporary. Ames, IA

Heritage Listening is a multi-channel, site-specific sound installation investigating the rich heritage of Iowa’s prairie soundscape. Over the course of several weeks, a variety of naturesound recordings where collected from a prairie preserve in northwest Iowa. At one time, much of the prairie at this location was farmland until it was allowed to return to it’s native state.

The diversity of the sounds collected from this area represent the richness of the new-natural that has been preserved here. Heritage Listening is the presentation of these field recordings in the form of a multichannel composition created specifically for the central chamber of the dormant seed-drying facility that is Black Contemporary. The listening experience utilizes the space to create new spatial orientations of listener and sound.

The compositional process involves the tuning and manipulation of the field-recorded sounds in specific response to the acoustics of this very unique presentation space. The resulting piece is a new recombinant soundscape in which the sounds of Iowa prairie are performed through dormant infrastructure of Iowa farming.