the thermal baths at Vals
Architect : Peter Zumthor
The recently completed Thermal Baths complex in the Swiss alpine village of Vals is already regarded as a structure of international architectural importance. A remarkable building which is embedded in the mountainside and fuses both the local stone and the thermal spring water into an environment where all the senses are sharpened by the acute intelligence of the structure and its conception.
My aim in continuing the Site series with this particular structure is to explore in detail the experience of the baths in the context of sense memory, sound mapping/recording and the shaping of a poetic narrative within the rooms and cells at Vals.
As with the Jantar Mantar project (Second Site) I want to evoke the physical and poetic presence of this site using sound and spoken text. Peter Zumthor's work is distinguished by his exemplary use of materials and I have attempted to draw analogies between the ways in which our memories of touch and sound connect to the sense presence of complex man made spaces. I am also interested in the parallels between the internal organisation of thoughts and sensations and the external experience of moving through designed spaces.
The end product of this process is both a stereo recording and a more complex split channel version made to be installed within another space. The idea being to superimpose the presence of the first space within the volumes of another unrelated space. The "libretto" contained within both of these works will be published along (I hope) with some notes by and an interview with the architect. It is my intention when installing this work within another space to incorporate video material generated at the site as well as still images. The design of the installation will also try to reinforce the experience of the original space.
1 the surface of the eye (8:47)
2 the skin of the face and neck (3:19)
3 the head, the soles of the feet, an arm (11:10)
4 the palms of both hands (14:23)
5 the breath (9:37)
catalog#: RCD 10464
format: CD, album, slipcase
credits: gong, vibraphone, electronics, composed by, lyrics by, recorded by [flute], producer - Paul Schütze
guitar - Raoul Björkenheim , Simon Hopkins
mastered By - Simon Heyworth
photography - Christian Lichtenberg
recorded by [percussion] - Alex Buess
shakuhachi, flute [pi saw] - Clive Bell
voice, recorded by [voice] - Thomas Köner
notes: percussion recording at Wolff 2.8.1 Studio, Basel.
flute recordings at The Surgery, London.
voice recordings at Nunatuk Studio, Dortmund.
mastering at Chop Em Out.