19 31, 2007.
( * )
That one stuck on your eyes, hein ? ;-) ...
It was five years ago that I posted the first message of what became this SoundBlog. And gave it its admittedly pretty vapid name because I intended it as a 'written companion' to the equally vapidly named Sound Chronicles.
That first entry was sort of a 'hello world !'...
Then there were (including this here birthday issue) two hundred and forty one more to follow. Persistent. Steady. President.
So, here's a happy birthday to you...
As good a time as any to show you some mfnm's.
That is: Mobile Field Noise Movies.
In dutch: Mobiele Veld Kabaal Videootjes.
You should know that it has been only recently that I acquired a cell phone with video and audio recording option. And started to use it to record, a bit the way I use my analog dictaphones. I the cell phone as a portable recording device, if only because the results are so resplendently lo-fi ... I started to make little films in the parisian metro. And we used it with ookoi in the Art Garage, during our Kunsttour residency. But not for very long ... As it was raining cats and dogs in Maastricht just after the opening, instead of walking there, FPCM and I got in a cab to take us back to our lodgings. I had clipped the phone to the belt of my trousers. I should have known better ... Maybe when getting in or out of the cab that took us there. Or when getting in or out of the one that we stopped, but which did not want to bring us where we wanted to go. The clip slipped off, together with the phone. Later that night, when I wanted to take it and have a look at my latest mfnr's, the phone was no longer there. A month's worth of mobile noise and rushes. Gone.
So silly. So stupid.
So I got myself an even better one, as soon as I got back to France.
The isle of Rhé is just off the coast of La Rochelle, where during the second world war the germans established an important submarine naval base. Thus the island became part of a fiercely defended german stronghold, which was the last small splinter of France to be freed at the end of the war.
Organisation Todt in near to no time, with the help of forced labour and a re-installing an abandoned railway line, erected thirty six defense posts along the coast of the island, comprising a total of near to three hundred concrete bunkers. In french the bunkers are called blockhaus, which is a german variation on the english word blockhouse.
After the war ended, the germans didn't take their bunkers. And the french just let the blockhaus be. As far as I understood, the reason for this is that it would simply be too difficult (read: too expensive) to remove them. Hence (like pretty much everywhere along the western european coast lines) they are lingering on. Maybe as a memento; not as 'monuments' though. Which maybe is understandable, but still somehow curious. Though the constructs maybe are not your typical highlights of 20th century architecture, they do strike me as being of no little historical value ... The wounds must have been too deep.
So the blockhaus stayed as they were. Which is not to say that they stayed where they were. Over the past sixty years the coastal line of the island changed; the dune retreated (several meters?), and quite a few of the bunkers that used to be on top, actually (slowly?) tumbled over, and ended up being on the beaches. Looking a bit like artificial, hollow rocks. Covered by all sorts of graffiti, on the outside and on the inside.
To some of the ones that are still up in the dunes, the entrance has been blocked, but most of them are wide open and can be freely accessed. Their insides are very dirty, but still regularly used during nightly parties, as shelters and - who knows - love nests, but most of all as toilets. Inside it smells the piss of ages ...
While on the isle of Rhé this summer, I sang and danced on the beaches and in the dunes among, inside and with these bunkers left over from the Atlantic Wall. I recorded that on my new cell phone, and on three consecutive evenings used the day's recordings to edit a Blockhaus mfnm (in iMovie on my laptop). You can watch them (on YouTube). Each of the three pictures above actually is a link to one of these mfnm's ... Observe how the low resolution deforms the images, and makes all look so very 2-dimensional. In the third one the little blockhaus looks as if it were made out of cardboard ... :-)
[ earlier related SB-entry : Wash (Not Wash) ]