esther ainsworth | e_s_t




| bridge soundings |






artists residency 1 april - 30 june 2013 - bridge guard, sturovo


this body of work is the culmination of research and projects made whilst working as the 26th bridge guard in stúrovo (párkány), slovakia.  my proposed project to the residency was to collect recordings from the two towns and environments at either side of the bridge in stúrovo (Párkány) and esztergom.  

the towns are located at either side of the slovakian/hungarian border on the banks of the danube and are connected by the maria valeria bridge.  the bridge has a tumultuous history and spent a long time in disrepair.

the work began as a sonic diary, collecting sounds in a state of daily wandering and exploration between the two locations, always via the maria valeria bridge. i recorded everything from bells, traffic, birds, horns and conversations, sonic textures speaking. these recordings became a starting point, developing into installation and performance invisibly linking and bridging the two towns, strengthening and deepening connections.

the process of making new observations and listening to the environment became a pursuit to understand a spirit of place and capture the rhythms underpinning the way the towns move and live.  each sound recording, only a few moments, creating a series of snap shots, like photographs.

i considered the medium of sound as a way to transcend language differences in mixed lingual communities and without geographical restrictions, it is able move fluidly through borders and cultures carrying its unique message.

i created two arrangements from my recordings, one for stúrovo (párkány) and the other for esztergom.  both arrangements consider subtle rhythms and repetitions.  silences are symbolic of the absence of structure when the bridge was destroyed and the flow of communication between the two locations was brought to a standstill.

the first live performance of this work was for the event aquaphone. aquaphone refers to a time when the bridge was destroyed and it was almost impossible for relatives and friends on each side of the danube to get in touch or communicate. people would go to the river, and the water carried the sound of short messages, often encoded, to the other bank half a kilometer away.

for aquaphone i mixed samples from the two arrangements, finding interesting points where sounds overlap and link to create a joining and overlaying of two locations.  My role became the orchestrator of a live mix, as well as a metaphorical bridge blending together the voice of two places.

the performance also included live sound from the streets of esztergom via skype and courtesy of kaleidoszkóp ház as well as participation from the local community in both stúrovo (párkány) and esztergom. contributors’ recorded sound samples via mobile phone, as part of a series of workshops and sound walks.

a second performance took place at museum night in budapest at the school of fine arts.  the performance titled water&mark was a reworking and extension of this work in a live improvisation with Budapest musicians dóra attila and szurcsik józsef.

the evolution of the projects are documented below;


remix project sturovo/esztergom and reaching out to bridge locations beyond










local recording project sturovo/esztergom

an invitation to the local community to participate in recording sounds. this is the foundation of my work and research and the beginning of the creation of a social network between two towns.



recording workshops, listening walks





drive-in sound 03

the first part of this residency began with a follow up to my previous drive-in sound projects. this was a five day drive from my home in central london to the residency in sturovo, creating a piece of work about the journey. i wanted to experience the scale and distance of europe as well as create a connection between the places i visited marked by my presence. i was interested in the crossing of borders and changes in systems and cultures from place to place. the details of this journey are documented at my drive-in sound wordpress page.






| projects and works to date....


| warrington voices |

| balfron listening |

| air traffic |

| bridge links |

| bridge soundings |

| parallel relay |

| short films - france 2011 |

| forest fire |

| respire in e, d and f |

| radio-active |

| evening call |

| in bloom |

| drive-in sound |

| downstairs |

| crack project |

| spring clean 08 |

| |

| text opera |

| textual intercourse |

| chatroom drama |

| unsound night |

| relax |

| tiles |

| behind closed doors |

| tubular bells remix |

| tap |


©2003 esther ainsworth