'Magneto Mori: Brussels' is a process-based sound work that investigates the collective memory of Brussels residents, intertwining them with the environmental sounds of the city to weave new and unexpected narratives. It is an exploration of tape recording as a form of memory storage and the deliberate distressing, eroding and deterioration of present day sounds to disrupt their chronology, historicising the present and fast-forwarding the effects of time. Contrasting and combining these sounds with higher fidelity recordings draws attention to the different substrata of time that are an intrinsic (though largely unacknowledged) part of any composition that does not take place in real time.
The intention here was to create a ‘memory tape’ that acts as an audio portrait of the city and its inhabitants. This activity involved asking people to recall their earliest or most vivid memories and recording them direct to open reel tape. On the other side of the tape everyday sounds of the city were captured.
Through a series of processes that mirror the complexity and frailty of human memory this ‘memory tape’ was then fragmented, muddled, corroded, partially erased with magnets, buried in the ground for 10 days and finally excavated and reconstituted. During this process memories are literally erased and the remaining fragments are jumbled together with the field recordings when spliced back together in a random sequence. In some instances I chose to ‘re-construct’ parts of these missing memories using copies made of the original recordings.
In the end, the question is – through the hiss and fog of these deteriorated magnetic memories - is this portrait of the city and its inhabitants still in any way recognisable?