Translating the City

Mapping the shifting sonic and visual landscape of Istanbul at the critical moment in which Erdogan was elected president of Turkey. Magda Stawarska Beavan explored the cultural complexities of Istanbul where the boundaries of ‘West’ and ‘East are reflected in its sights and soundscape.

Revealing the city from an intimate viewpoint, audio-visual content was captured by the artist via microphones and a camera attached to her body as she moved through the unfamiliar place.

Her field recordings combine a macro aural and visual cityscape with micro, sub-aqua sounds and images taken from beneath the Bosporus.

Listening and recording from a very personal view point using binaural microphones has been commonplace in her practice. She lets the city lead her through its structure, her innate curiosity consciously and sometimes subconsciously controlling her movements.

 Translating the City, is a sound piece embedded into a worktable with personal objects of everyday looking and listening; a lamp a book, a box and a radio. The work features the interwoven voices of two women, Ekin Sanac a musician from Istanbul and Lubaina Himid an artist who had never been there.

They were each asked to listen to a sound composition created from recordings captured by Magda Stawarska in Istanbul. As they listened, the sound conjured pictures; Ekin familiar to the place relates to the colours, smells and textures of the city, Lubaina on the other hand sees places emotionally connected to her past. 

Their verbal responses to this complex sonic layering was then composed by Stawarska Beavan into an almost operatic exchange between the two women and the city itself.



INVISIBLE NARRATIVES, Newlyn Art Gallery, UK  2019