Field Recording Collaboration with Leonie Roessler
A collaborative effort exploring the soundscapes of closed or demolished art spaces. The sounds are all that remain of these locations.
The story of the Billytown building:
It began as a Catholic school in the 1960’s located on the outskirts of Den Haag. Children’s voices once echoed through these hallways for many years. After a few years, the building was abandoned and sat in silence. Several years ago an artist collective known as Billytown moved in to the space, and sounds filled the air once again. A creative energy permeated the building and surrounding grounds. The walls were renewed and a garden was planted. Leaks and cracks were tended to. Many brilliant works were created inside the various studios of the artists. It was a vibrant place, full of ideas and potential. Recently, this creative utopia of a location was deemed expendable by the city of the Hague. It is a story too often told in the Netherlands, as many artist and community run spaces have short lives. Even if they are successful. The looming potential for long term housing or hotel profit is no match for cultural value in many cases.
The space was completely stripped and demolished. These sounds, as well as some video footage, are now all that exist of the location. The grandiose plot which Billytown used to stand on has become a cemetery of demolished trees, puddles and mud. It waits in the grey Dutch rain for social housing construction and the new lives of future residents unaware of its past. During her residency at Billytown, visual artist Cybil Scott, invited composer and field recordist Leonie Roessler to capture the sounds of the building, to create an audio placeholder of what was soon to be a thing of the past. Leonie spent a day working on site, with Cybil recording video footage of this process. The audio recordings have been filed into chapters according to their exact location in Billytown, thus creating a small sound library of the space. Leonie is now recreating a fictional version of Billytown, mingling sounds, using small and large pieces of her recordings, creating rhythms and polyphonies. The soundscapes growing out of this process are both reminiscent of the Billytown, and completely new. Cybil had turned her video material into .gifs by using the visual noise of the footage.