FIELD STUDIES is an active and evolving series of works by The Honourable Elizabeth A. Baker, that explore human presence in various sonic landscapes. The original iteration began as a series of collaborative improvisational performances with the environment that were one-shot field recordings without studio manipulation, although some iterations evolved into the format of short art films using field recordings and subtle studio sonic additions to the overall on location preoccupied core content.
During her time as a Harvard Radcliffe Fellow in 2022, Elizabeth clarified that:
“Field studies is less about a physical field within a preconceived notion of nature (buildings and landscapes touched by humans are a part of nature — there is no concrete divide because humans are always a part of nature, no matter how they try to extricate themselves ideologically from that empirical truth), but rather a realisation, that the energy of all things around us are equal, — and if we slowdown, with intention, to honour the energy in the space we occupy — a space that exists, without finite boundaries or borders — there are answers and moments of sublime beauty.
In these slowdown moments, the things we learn allow us to understand human life as part of a dynamic cosmic ecosystem, rather than an amalgam of resources to be exploited for our own desires.
FIELD STUDIES is less about the performative and more about the ritual.” – THE HONOURABLE ELIZABETH A BAKER, 2022
“FIELD STUDIES IS AT IT’S HEART A REJECTION OF HUMAN CENTRED NARRATIVE, AN EMBRACE OF EXISTING AS A PART OF AN ECOSYSTEM RATHER THAN EXPLOITING IT FOR HUMAN GAINS.”
THE HONOURABLE ELIZABETH A. BAKER, 2021
“Human obsession with hierarchy stands at the heart of oppression of races and exploitation of perceived lower order objects/organisms; by dismantling, reprogramming, revisiting, and refining our relationship with the practice of performative listening, absorption, and processing (observation and analysis by an audience member of a perceived stage); sound, movement, and visual experiences can serve as vehicles to deeper discussion about the ways in which power dynamics subconsciously influence how humans interact with the world — in all manner of societal constructs, ecological conservation, and intimate interactions with the objects/beings within our personal spaces. FIELD STUDIES, invites absorption participants to consider an improvisational performance experience, in which a human performer is an equal collaborator alongside all object elements and/or characters within a naturally occurring soundscape — likewise the performer enters the space with an intention of channeling and interacting with nature rather than exploiting the features of the soundscape in an act of “artistic manipulation” — through dismantling the human centred narrative, this project seeks to foster dialogue and act as revolutionary resistance against systemic inequity, which leads to the oppression and exploitation of others.” – THE HONOURABLE ELIZABETH A. BAKER, AUGUST 2020
FIELD RECORDING SOUND MAP
This interactive map includes both raw recordings and completed pieces, and provides a cursory overview the various soundscapes and environments in which The Honourable Elizabeth A. Baker has been collecting field recordings and performing FIELD STUDIES piece. Some unprocessed audio recordings from this every evolving library will be made available for other creators to use in the future. The Sound Map is constantly being added to, so remember to bookmark this page and visit often to continue your virtual sound journey.