For Whom the Bell Tolls: A Journey Into the Sonic History of Conflicts

For Whom the Bell Tolls. Courtesy of Samson Young
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For Whom the Bell Tolls. Courtesy of Samson Young
For Whom the Bell Tolls. Courtesy of Samson Young

The auditory coverage of bells defines territories, separating one community from another along cultural, religious, or ideological fault lines. Bells also connect individuals. When great care is taken in the tuning of bells, the purity of tone and fullness of volume become sources of collective pride. The abduction of bells on the other hand – often involving violent conflicts – aroused fierce animosities, and individual’s sense of belonging is greatly disturbed by such events (Alain Corbin, 1998).

For Whom the Bell Tolls takes the titles of Hemingway’s novel & Donne’s poem quite literally and asks: who needs bells? For whom are bells cast, sounded, and preserved in perpetuity? Much like the travelling landscape artist, I transcribe, notate, and record the sounds of these large sonorous objects in a variety of auditory conditions. The 60-day journey that spans five continents generated an archive of bell recordings, a series of bell sound sketches / drawings, bells, objects, and a composition.

For Whom the Bell Tolls is an on-going project. It’s been made possible through the support of a BMW Art Journey Award; photo credits: Rekorder.

Sound recording archive and travelogue (continuously updated)

 

Video
A video about the journey produced by Rekorder

 

 
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