Is it as disrespectful to record the sound of the temple gong as it feels to photograph the scene? And in the process, is it thus disrespectful to record the Russian tour guide, and the screaming child, and the power tool, and rustle of velcro from camera bags?
The syllable ‘spect’ within respect is the same as in spectate, spectacle.
Respectus via old French and thus Latin: the action of looking back. This implication of the seen within respect, does it let listening off the hook?
Is it simply that listening requires more time, requires a sense of being truly present, and that this offers more opportunity for connection, contemplation… or am I telling myself convenient truths, to excuse my aural ghoulishness, to separate myself from the tourists?
Recorded in Ho Chi Minh City, Dalat, Halong Bay and Hanoi, Feb 2018.
Gail Priest is a Katoomba/Sydney-based artist whose practice encompasses performance, recording, sound design for dance and theatre, installation, curation and writing. She has performed and exhibited nationally and internationally and has several CD releases on her own label, Metal Bitch, as well as other labels including Flaming Pines. She is also a curator of concerts and exhibitions and writes factually and fictively about sound and media arts.