Jessie Stainton – ISO: Stillness




Part of: Talking to Each Other: A Collective Sounding Project

Read More

Dipping her toes into the world of sound, graduate student and artist Jessie Stainton’s ISO: Stillness explores the conflicting sites of access and inaccess that exist in Montreal’s Parc Jarry. As part of the two-week collective sounding workshop, Talking to Each Other, by the Feminist Media Studio and Access in the Making Lab, this sonic walk and sound collage is comprised entirely of field recordings at the park, most of which were recorded over a two day period. What notably emerged was a contradiction: the best place to hear the redwing blackbirds requires one to hop over seven stones making it thoroughly inaccessible. The goal of this piece is to highlight the access variability that exists within the park, while also tuning into how bodies move through space. You’re invited to listen and reflect on the precarity of the public spaces that you frequent and how the built environment shapes and dictates these experiences.

[Voice Over] Jarry, May 3rd, 9 am.

Its colder than its been for the past few days and quite windy,

making it difficult to record.

Walk from the South East Villeray entrance over the crusty curb cut

onto a well-maintained brick path about 5 meters wide.

Walk towards the fountain as the brick turns to dark pavement under the trees

the path will shrink about 2 meters wide.

Turn left when the path peels around the pond

expanding to at least 5 meters again.

[voice in background] there are 4 people square dancing

or swing dancing? I don’t know…

you literally cannot make this up.

[Voice Over] Keep walking when the path turns to gravel and gradually inclines.

To the right there are smooth grey stones that form a jagged bridge to an island

a few meters into the pond.

Hop 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 stones

and you’re there, the island.

If you’re still enough you’ll get face to face with a redwing blackbird.

[Fade into the background chatter of English, Spanish and French voices]

[predominantly children’s voices playing]

[The voices fade out]

[plane overhead creates a drone-like hum]

[birds chirp sporadically]

[A dog barks twice against the drone of the plane]

[bird chirping intensifies]

[Squirrels, different birds, and plane drone continue]

[The drone of the plane fades out as the babbling of a fountain fades in]

[Swing music]

[Swing music, fountain, park ambience continue]

[Some footsteps. Park ambience fades]

[Background chatter in French]

[fountain persists quietly]

[plop! A stone thrown into water]

[fountain persists quietly]

[bird chriping intensifies again]

[A soothing yet schrill warble of the redwing blackbird]

[plane drone and park ambience emerges again]

[slow descent as fountain, park ambiance, birds chirping and redwing blackbirds fade to silence]

[medium-high pitch voice]
This video was made in the context of a two-week workshop for Talking To Each Other, a multimedia project on the topics of access, disability, and collective sound making. The workshop was facilitated by Piper Curtis and Razan AlSalah. The Talking To Each Other project was directed by Simone Lucas with the Access in the Making Lab and The Feminist Media Studio. 

Participating Members