text & sound
by Steve Peters


by Margot Geist


A Sonic Geohistory

72 pages

6 x 8.5 inches

ISBN: 1-888809-38-8


includes a compact disc of environmental field recordings made at the site

In 1999, composer/sound artist Steve Peters undertook a project at The Land, a venue for site-specific environmental art in the high desert of central New Mexico. Wishing to develop an intimate relationship with the site rather than impose his own noise upon it, he devoted himself to the act of listening to the sounds that were there during each hour of the day and night over the course of one year. Spanning the disciplines of acoustic ecology, environmental and performance art, poetry, sculpture, installation, and contemplative practice, Here•ings documents that experience of immersion in a particular landscape, examining the gradual process of becoming connected with Place. In sharing his findings, Peters encourages us to offer our own attention to the subtle poetry that surrounds us. His work reminds us that, beneath the surface of the commonplace, the extraordinary lies waiting to be revealed.

I am aware that, on one level, the sounds in question are not obviously remarkable or dramatic. In fact, they are quite literally mundane. Which is to say they are sublime. I hear them as evidence of Life in progress, a landscape being and becoming, a web of communication and interaction, time passing, presence.

I know that these crude artifacts can give only the vaguest approximation of the essential nature of that place, of what happened there, of the act of engaging with it in real time. I wonder if I can adequately convey the simple beauty and richness of that raw sensual experience, the emotional resonance of it. Ultimately, any attempt at documentation falls short of actual lived experience. But if this work can encourage others to slow down, be quiet, and listen deeply to the voices of whatever places they may visit or inhabit, I’ll be satisfied.

—from the Introduction

Steve Peters makes music and sound for dance, theater, radio, film, recordings, concert settings, galleries, and public spaces. His work has explored environmental sound for many years, and has been published, performed and broadcast internationally. He has recently moved from Albuquerque, New Mexico to Seattle, Washington.