Soundtracks is about remembering sounds. Everyday of our lives we are confronted with sounds. They set the tone, the atmosphere for our daily lives. Yet when we remember the important moments of our lives, we never remember the sound. Our mind just doesn’t work that way. We can close our eyes and picture the moment before us, but when asked to do the same with sound, things become more difficult. Sound works much more insidious, and when asked to remember a sound, to recreate it in our heads, we have to rely a lot more on our imagination, our crosslinks between feelings, thoughts and memories to attempt to hear it again. And by using that imagination, we explore what it was that made a certain sound special to us, and why it stuck with us.

© Sam Vanoverschelde, Stijn Demeulenaere, Barbara Tandt, Dorna Shahabeddin Aslanzadeh & Sara Maino

Sound is a sense of touch. Our eardrum feels the vibrations of the world. And it’s a sense of touch directly wired into the brain. That’s why sound is so personal. Thus collecting the memories of sound is exploring a personal history. Following the traces, the tracks a sound left in our mind, in our identity.

Soundtracks attempts to bring these personal histories together in an archive. The walls of a room are lined with wooden shelves, filled with jars. The jars hold little pieces of paper, with memories written on them. Visitors are invited to open the jars and explore the memories. In the middle stands a little table where visitors are invited to leave their own memories, to become part of the archive. What happens if we make the act of remembering an active request, when we conciously dig into our own memory? What kind of history do we create?

Soundtracks has been exhibited at, amongst others, NIMk, Amsterdam (NL), Musical Instrument Museum in Brussels (BE), Klinkende Stad, Kortrijk (BE), Den Frie in Copenhagen (DK) and the Concertgebouw in Bruges (BE). However, the Soundtracks archive is continually growing. So I would like to invite you too to become part of the archive, to discover your own sonic memories. Please, take a seat and dig through your memory. Try to remember a sound that was special to you and describe it for me. Write it down on a piece of paper, and snailmail / post it to me on the following address, I'd be very grateful.

Ps: and just to avoid any misunderstandings: the archive requires HANDWRITTEN MEMORIES, so please, no email or typed letters. Apart from that, you are completely free to use whichever form or language you like. Thank you in advance.

A thank you goes out to Kristoff Demeulenaere and Joachim Demeulenaere for helping me out with the creation of the original installation. And an especially kind thank you to everyone who sent in a letter and contributed to the archive. Soundtracks isn't possible without you.

And if you're curious, you can download some pictures of the installation. This is from the set-up at NIMk in Amsterdam, and this is from the installation at Den Frie in Copenhagen. (Right click and save as if downloadlink doesn't work immediately).. A review of 'Cloud Sounds', the exhibition at NIMk, can be found here.