Kingfisher Spotting with Brian Carruthers
Trout Fishing with Des and Christy
Otter Surveying with Barbara Freitag
Bat Hunting with Sean Meehan
Over the summer of 2015, as part of a wider exercise of documenting the river, Matt Green and colleague Stuart Sloan undertook a series of expeditions along the Tolka in search of the river’s rarer and more elusive wildlife. A local river enthusiast knowledgeable of the animal being sought guided each expedition. Four of these excursions are recounted in four audiovisual compositions. These works include recordings of the conversations had as the river and its parklands were explored, and focused recording of the sights and sounds both encountered in these journeys and evoked by them.
Each of the four compositions seeks to impart the experience of the expedition it recounts: Each piece is invested with a sense of travel and of time spent in close connection with the river and river environment. The splendour and serenity of each setting is also evident. So to is the warmth and humour of each guide and his or her enthusiasm for, and knowledge of, the animal in question, and for and of the Tolka, the home of this animal.
Throughout each expedition, each guide annotated the river environment with anecdote, personal feeling and description. On the whole, this description referred to the features in the environment favored by the animal in question or suggestive of its presence, which each guide was greatly skilled in spotting.
As a result of the expeditions, of time spent with each guide, scenarios once unnoticed and unappreciated, such as the lone branch stretching out across the river, are now more apparent, sought out even, and excite. For these scenarios now suggest the possibility of an encounter with a lesser-spotted, much revered animal: Upon the branch might sit a kingfisher and below which might be a brown trout seeking solace from the sun.
The four works are intended as invitations to explore the Tolka for oneself and present a little of the insight of each guide as a means of heightening these experiences, bringing the walker closer to the environment.
Matt Green is a sound artist. He is an advocate of the everyday soundscape with the belief that it can be as rich as any music and as awe-inspiring as any landscape. The four compositions uphold Matt’s belief: Rather uncommonly, the image and soundtrack are balanced, they collaborate, and there is no musical score, in its place are the bold upfront sounds of the river environment.
Bat Hunting features Sean Meehan, a professional ecologist and member of the Irish Wildife Trust, Dublin Branch.
Kingfisher Spotting features Brian Carruthers, an avid birder and Tolka advocate who maintains the facebook page Tolka River Valley Park. The film also features kingfisher calls used with the kind permission of the recordist David Jablonski.
Trout Fishing features Des Chew of Inland Fisheries Ireland and Christy Emmet of Tolka Trout Anglers Club.
Otter surveying features Barbara Freitag of the Irish Wildlife Trust, Dublin Branch and photographer John Fox of Birdwatch Ireland, Tolka Branch.