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Drawing partly on sound as a vibrational phenomenon and Space Analogues, Everywhere We Are is the Farthest Place is, according to composer Mary Edwards, “an ode rather than an elegy” to the transforming Arctic landscape, climate vulnerability, elemental sensuality and terrestrial/space connectivity. It is comprised of a score and text performed synchronically (and sometimes improvisational) with an immersive soundscape of cinematic audio and ambient field recordings of ice, water and wildlife sounds Edwards gathered from landings around Svalbard, Norway while on a sailing expedition on a research vessel above the 78th parallel. It documents the sound properties of glacial geology and oceanographic data, intended to provide access for all through sonification by “de-centering the centered and un-othering the others.”
In her iterative process, Edwards fortuitously discovered a participatory constituent. She began inviting audiences to interact with the same gear/instruments/tools (hydrophones, contact mics, keyboards, Waterphone, bows and mallets) she used to record and create on, and in response to, the fjords and glaciers, and incorporate their own “layer of experience” — in how they relate to, interpret or perceive the extreme environment of the Arctic (and possibly its use as a training ground for astronauts) as a place they may or may not have experienced first hand.
Mary Edwards is a composer and environmental sound artist whose practice encompasses installation, film scoring and performance. Themes of temporality, impermanence, nostalgia and the natural world recur throughout her work. She is interested in the invisible architecture and the emotive, historic, cinematic and spatial properties of sound. Listening is an inherent and integral part of her process in conveying how all sounds have the potential to be habitable, and can be transformative once you get inside them, as they are simultaneously intimate and immense.
Her recent projects include Fathom, a site-related soundscape launched during the 2023 World Forum for Acoustic Ecology (WFAE) Conference, Listening Pasts/Listening Futures and Conservation/Conversation, both for Atlantic Center for the Arts; Endeavour: A Space Trilogy for the NASA Expedition of Dr. Mae C. Jemison, an ambient operetta commemorating the groundbreaking American astronaut’s orbit around Earth; The Call in the Limitless Space, a permanent interactive installation for Wa Na Wari/Seattle based on reclamation of natural and architectural spaces in the city’s Central District; Everyday Until Tomorrow, a conceptual “Library Music” soundtrack for TWA Terminal 5 at JFK airport; Something to (Be)Hold, a permanent large-scale public sound work produced by The Grimshaw-Gudewicz Art Gallery concurrently with her first career survey; and Tamalpais Higher, a geophonic reimagining of a seismic event based on a blind thrust fault running through Mount Tamalpais north of the San Francisco Bay.
She has an extended discography of solo and group projects, serving as a multi-instrumentalist, bandleader, arranger, songwriter and sound designer.
Her writing has been published by Oxford American, Invert/Extant (U.K.), The Mentor that Matters series, The Santa Barbara Literary Journal and the anthology, Joy Has a Sound: Black Sonic Visions.
She holds an Interdisciplinary MFA in Sound and Architecture from Goddard College and has been awarded residencies at the ACA Soundscape Field Station at Canaveral National Seashore, Headlands Center for the Arts, The Arctic Circle and The William T. Davis Nature Conservancy. Her commissions include works for Wa Na Wari, The Beach Institute Savannah, The Grimshaw-Gudewicz Foundation, 429 Architectural Spaces, Condé Nast Gallery and The Joshua Tree Cultural Preservation Center.
Epsilon Spires is proud to present Mary Edwards’ EVERYWHERE IS THE FARTHEST PLACE in collaboration with In Situ Polyculture Commons