M and X soundscape

15 April 2011

Dropping station 2

Dropping station 2

Dropping station 2 (detail)

Dropping station 2 (detail)

Dropping stations 2

4 balloons, open back book shelf, pebbles, pin, 4 bowls containing water and a pully device made from found metal, string, cable ties and plastic tubing

As a result of the sounds generated from ‘Dropping stations 1 and 2’ and sound recordings of pigeons (taken from Digbeth, Project Pigeon in Birmingham and Marnay-sur-Seine), the soundscape ‘M and X’ has been created.

To create the soundtrack balloons were rolled and bounced down a door and ladder leaned against a wall (aka dropping stations). Balloons were also attached to a pully, filled with pebbles, dunked and popped over bowls of water.

Listen to ‘M and X soundscape’ (work in progress) approx 3.30 mins

Dropping station 2

Dropping station 2

‘M and X’ was inspired by J.D. Hayhurst’s book: The pigeon post into Paris 1870- 1871. Hayhurst created a table showing the numbers of pigeons carried by balloon out of Paris, the dates of release for return flights into Paris, and the dates of arrivals in Paris. The table holds a lot of information by different official representatives, so I have decided to focus on the arrival dates of pigeons that were awarded a commemorative medal (‘M’ on the table) and where the pigeon was unsuccessful at reaching its destination (Tours or Poitiers) (‘X’ on the table).

The soundtrack was edited according to each month (Oct, Nov, Dec, Jan) and whether an ‘M’ or ‘X’ was marked next to the month, (Sept and Feb had no ‘M’ or ‘X’ so haven’t been included). Each month was given a different colour balloon (Oct= Red, Nov = Orange, Dec= Yellow, Jan= Blue) . Each balloon was recorded separately with a hydrophone, as well as together using the Rode NT55 microphone and parabolic dish in the studio at CAMAC.

Sounds for M are represented by: pigeon coo’s and clap of wings, and an engine (actually the sound of air escaping a balloon in water, but reminded me of a pigeon flying really fast).

Sounds for X are represented by: dropped, rolled, dunked, popped balloons and hydrophone (under water) recordings.

Therefore the edited process was structured around the information below.


6 October M

8 October M

12 October X

16 October X

22 October M

25 October X

27 October X


4 November X

12 November X

14 November M

21 November X

22 November M

23 November M

24 November M

26 November M

30 November M and X


11 December X

15 December X and M

16 December X and M

17 December M

19 December M

20 December X

29 December M


9 January X

15 January X

18 January X

20 January X

22 January X

24 January X

27 January X


About Lucy Stevens

Lucy Stevens’ artistic practice examines the acoustic ecology of the natural environment, using field recording, digital illustration, performance and printmaking as a tool to visualise sound produced by wildlife, weather and other natural phenomena.
This entry was posted in Inspiration, Installation, Recording. Bookmark the permalink.

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