This is the start of my residency in Sturovo (Parkany) as the 26th Bridge Guard. I’m Esther Ainsworth from London UK, and I work with Sound, Installation and performance.
My proposed project while here is to collect recordings from the two towns and environments at either side of the bridge in Sturovo (Parkany) 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 a state of disrepair.
The recordings and work that I create on this residency will be the starting point for a series of works developing into installation and performance work linking the two towns, considering virtual bridges in the within the community as well as the location. It is intended that this work will strengthen the mental connections between the two locations.
The medium of sound is important to me because it transcends the restraints of language which create division in global communities. Sound is a universal language which can bring our communities together and as it can be transmitted from one location to another it is also without geographical restrictions, and moves fluidly through borders and cultures without complications.
The diary I am creating is not a home for the sounds themselves but it is a place to log my methodology, thought processes and experiences and the developement of my work and research. It is also part of the residency requirements to create a log.
I am currently writing this, sitting in the Bridge Guard residence, in the lounge, listening to the rock pub over the road which is playing classic ballads to form the soundtrack for what I’m about to write. I always find starting things really difficult and especially following a legacy of such wonderfully talented writers, artists and musicians who have been Bridge Guards before me. I want to make sure that my contribution is worthwhile.
My story starts with a five day drive from my home in central London to the residency here in Sturovo. When I was given this appointment, I wanted to create a piece of work about the journey which I was determined to make via car. I wanted to experience the scale and distance of Europe as well as create a connection between the places I visited.
After suspending my paid employment managing concerts in London, I began my journey. I recorded everything on my way from the weather, machines, conversations, nature.
The project is sonic diary of a journey across a map. There is something really important about driving to a location, it really gives you a sense of place and an understanding of the scale of the world. It was a way to understand borders and crossings, the points where languages change, where rules and requirements differ, and how all of this says a little bit more about how we understand our own environment and location.
The culmitative work is a soundtrack which will be delivered as a gift to the Bridge Guard Residency as the first of my projects. I have documented this drive as a wordpress blog at:
Thank you for reading.