Material remnants and traces are what dramatic events, such as military conflicts, tend to leave behind at the sites of their occurrence. They constitute fragmented entry points to imagine and connect with the past. While their visual impact, even if fragmented, remains to some degree active over time, their soundscapes dissipate. How would we approach these sites if, instead of disappearing instantly, their past soundscapes persisted over time? What if, fragmented and partly decomposed, the sonic ruins of these past events leaked continuously through the gaps and cavities of their physical counterparts? If approached with sonic sensibility and curiosity, do contemporary soundscapes in historically-charged places function as gateways to the past, and enable another perspective on the present?

Quivering Stillness is an ongoing exploration of sites affected by military conflict, political unrest, devastation, and ruination. Whether with an intention to address these questions or by coincidence, in recent years I have wandered through many such sites. After stepping into these troubled zones, and lending my unarmed ears and eyes to what remains there presently, I reached for my sound recording equipment, microphones, and a camera. I used them to augment my sense of being-at-the-place, to see and hear the past through its present manifestation while simultaneously constructing a para-archival record of this experience.
/ by Jacek Smolicki
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