1 January 2010
What a great Christmas present! A hydrophone! A microphone designed to use underwater, to record and listen to underwater sounds.
Its early on New Years day, its cold and frosty and after a few tests with my mono hydrophone in the sink with the tap running, I take a walk to the canal. Its busier than I expected, mostly couples taking a stroll together, as I gently lower the hydrophone with its 5m cable into the water (over the side of a bridge), I get a few odd stares- I think the majority thought I was fishing. A couple walked by looking concerned and asked what I was doing. I tell them that Im an artist listening to the underwater sounds of the canal…but in truth I didnt really hear a great deal, apart from when the microphone struck the side of the canal or was pulled out of the water and plonked back in again.
The canal is dirty with litter and full of ducks and swans, everytime I try to move my hydrophone close to them they swim away (understandably), as I trace the footsteps that I usually take along the canal on my way to work and drag the microphone along, I can hear it move through the water and occasionally bump against a lump of litter or get tangled in a tree branch. The hydrophone is quiet weighty and falls under the waters surface when stationary, but could do with some fishing weights when pulled under water.
I plan to record under water sounds at the canal again, but this time at a different position, close to the anglers and moving narrow boats. As part of the Riversoundscapes project (see early posts), I will take the hydrophone to Nottingham to record at different points along the River Trent.