Peter Cusack is a field recordist, sound artist and musician and with a long interest in environmental sound and acoustic ecology. Projects include community arts, researches into sound and our sense of place and documentary recordings in areas of special sonic interest such as Lake Baikal, Siberia, and Xinjang, China’s most western province. He was involved in 'Sound & the City' the British Council sound art project in Beijing 2005. His project ‘Sounds From Dangerous Places’ examines the soundscapes of sites of major environmental damage, such as the Chernobyl exclusion zone, the Azerbaijan oil fields, controversial dams on the Tigris and Euphrates river systems in southeast Turkey. Using sound as a way of investigating documentary issues he now calls ‘sonic journalism’. This project continues and is currently researching the regeneration of the North Aral Sea, Kazakhstan.
In 1998 he initiated the 'Your Favourite London Sound' project that aims to discover what Londoners find positive in their city's soundscape, an idea that has been repeated in other world cities including Beijing, Chicago, Prague, Manchester, Birmingham and Berlin. The favouritesounds.org website has been developed for listening to recordings linked to the Google map.
He produced 'Vermilion Sounds' a monthly environmental sound program on ResonanceFM radio, London, and is a Research Fellow in ‘Sound Arts & Design’ at the London College of Communication. He took part in the multi-university multidisciplinary ‘Positive Soundscapes Project’ funded by the Engineering & Physical Sciences Research Council from 2006 to 2009.
During 2011/12 he was a DAAD artist in residence in Berlin working on the collaborative (with Sam Auinger, Universität der Künste students, Valeria Merlini, Berlin Tuned City) project Berlin Sonic Spaces that considers the relationship between city development and soundscapes.
Musicially he has worked with Clive Bell, Nic Collins, Alterations, Chris Cutler, Max Eastley, Annette Krebs and Viv Corringham. Recorded releases include "Where is the Green Parrot?" (ReR PC1 - solo CD); "A Host of Golden Daffodils" (Platelunch) with Nic Collins; "Your Favourite London Sounds" (Resonance); “Operet” (Rere121) with Viv Corringham; “Day For Night” (Paradigm) with Max Eastley; “Baikal Ice”(ReR PC2); “Favourite Beijing Sounds” (KwanYin 022); Sound from Dangerous Places (ReR PC3&4); Favourite Berlin Sounds (ReR PC5).
September/November 2013 – Sound and photographic installation ‘Sounds from Dangerous Places’ in the exhibition ‘Urban Sounds’ at the Haus für Elektronische Künste, Basel, Switzerland. www.haus-ek.org/en/content/urban-sounds?loc=EV
September 2013/January 2014 – Sound and photographic installation for the exhibition ‘Atomic Surplus’ at the Center for Contemporary Arts, Santa Fe, USA.
April 2013 - Sound and text installation ‘The Wrong Dredger’ for the show STILL: Conflict, Conservation and Contemplation. METAL at the Peterborough Museum, Peterborough, UK
January/August 2012 – Curator and participant in the Berlin Sonic Places project that organised public events, day symposia, installations, performances that explored the relation between city soundscape and urban planning. Funded through the DAAD Berliner Künstlerprogramm. Collaboration with Tuned City Berlin and Universität der Künste, Berlin.
February/May 2012 – Site specific installation ‘Some Favourite Berlin Sounds’ for Tonspur, Schlossplatz, Berlin. Curation Georg Weckwerth. http://berlin.tonspur.at/index2_en.html
November 2013 – CD ‘Favourite Berlin Sounds’ on the ReR Megacorp label (ReR PC5). Supported by LCC/UAL. www.rermegacorp.com
April 2012 – Double CD and 80 page book ‘Sounds from Dangerous Places’ published by ReR Megacorp and the DAAD, Berlin (ReR PC3&4; ISBN: 978-1-907828-01-0). http://sounds-from-dangerous-places.org/
November 2012 – Chapter ‘No, It’s Not All Music’ in the book Cage & Consequences, edited Julia Schroeder, Volker Straebel, published Wolke Verlag, Berlin. (ISBN 978-3-936000-79-5) www.wolke-verlag.de/cage-consequences.html
November 2013 – Paper ‘Why are favourite sounds favourite?’ at the Symposium ‘Choreography of Sound – Between Abstraction and Narration’, ZKM Karlsruhe, Germany. www.cosound.de/en/welcome
October 2013 – Paper ‘Sounds from Dangerous Places: Chernobyl’ at the Symposium ‘Mind the Envronmental, Oxford University. www.smithschool.ox.ac.uk/events/symposium2013.html?content=programme
October 2013 – Paper ‘The Favourite Sounds Project after 15 Years” at the Functional Sounds Conference of the European Sound Studies Association, Humboldt Universität, Berlin. www.soundstudies.eu/2013conference/
June 2013 – Paper ‘Berlin Sonic Places’ at the Resonant Bodies: Landscapes of Acoustic Tension Symposium, ICI Kulturlabor, Berlin. www.ici-berlin.org/event/532/
June 2013 – Paper ‘The Favourite Sound Project’ at the Sound Diaries 2013 Symposium, Oxford Brookes University, UK. www.sound-diaries.co.uk/
May 2013 – Paper ‘Sounds from Dangerosu Places’ at the Music & Ecologies of Sound Symposium, Universite Paris 8, France. www-artweb.univ-paris8.fr/spip.php?article1677
February 2013 – Paper ‘Observations on the Soundscape of Berlin’ at the In the Field symposium, British Library, London UK. http://www.inthefield.org.uk/
January 2012 - JSPC Symposium ‘Risky engagements: encounters between science and art’, Whitworth Museum, Manchester. www.jsps.org/news/2012/02/manchester-symposium-5th-to-6th-january-2012.html
March 2012 – Paper ‘No, It’s Not All Music’ at the symposium Cage & Consequences during Maerz Music Festival 2012, Berlin.
TALKS AND PRESENTATIONS
December 2013 – Presentation ‘Sounds from Dangerous Places’ at Geräuschwelten Festival, Münster, Germany. www.aufabwegen.de/events/?p=937
December 2013 – Presentation ‘Sounds from Dangerous Places’ on the series Ping Pong at Les Chiroux, Centre Cultural de Liege, Belgium. www.chiroux.be/ping-pong-2.html
September 2013 – Talk ‘Sounds from Dangerous Places’ at the Ertz 14 Festival, San Sebastian, Spain. www.ertza.net/eu/event/hitzaldia-peter-cusack
February 2013 – Talk ‘Favourite Sounds and City Soundscapes’ at the Artefact Festival 2013, Leuven, Belgium. www.artefact-festival.be/2013/program/detail/60593
RESIDENCIES AND FIELD ACTIVITIES
September/October 2013 - Research residency in Taranto, Italy to create work for the exhibition “Seductive Currents” in Taranto and Berlin 2014 www.correnti-seduttive.com
July 2011/June 2012 – One year artist residency in Berlin at the invitation of the DAAD (Deutscher Akademischer Austausch Dienst) Berliner Künstlerprogramm. www.daad.de/deutschland/stipendium/musik-kunst/en/8590-daad-berlin-artists-in-residence-programme/
2013 - £750 UAL staff development finding towards the production of the Favourite Berlin Sounds CD
2013 - £240 staff development funding to attend the Music & Ecologies of Sound symposium at Paris 8 University
2013 - £160 funding to attend the Functional Sounds International Conference at the Humboldt University, Berlin
- Research Fellowship, The Positive Soundscapes Project- 3 year multidisciplinary, multiuniversity (UAL, Warwick, Lancaster, Salford, NMU) project funded by the EPSRC.
- Favourite London Sounds: Arts Council - Installation for the foyer of the Arts Council's building at Pear Tree Court, London.
- Paper, Beyond Text Symposium, Manchester University, July 2007.
- Paper, EMS07 Languages of Electroacoustic Music conference, De Montfort University, Leicester, June 2007.
- Paper, Sounder Spaces Symposium, London Zoo, March 2007.
- "Field Recording" concerts and workshop tour - Quebec State, Canada; Organised by Daimon Arts and visiting Montreal, Quebec City, Gatineau, Saguenay.
- Concert at Roulette, New York City, USA - with Nic Collins.
- Residency at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago - March.
- Beijing Soundscapes - installation commissioned by the Capital Museum, Beijing in collaboration with David Toop - supported by British Council.
- Paper, Sound and Anthropology conference, St Andrew's University, June 2006
- Sound and the City, Beijing, China - commission by the British Council - 2 visits to Beijing to create pieces 'Beijing Bike Ride and ' Favourite Beijing Sounds'. Also concerts and workshops.
- Vermilion Sounds - continuing radio series for ResonanceFM, London, on phonography and acoustic ecology. Over 50 shows. Produced and presented in collaboration with Isobel Clouter. Supported by Awards for All Lottery grant.
- Soundtrack for 'The Black Sea Files' - video installation and DVD by Swiss artist Ursula Biemann. Shown Kunst Werke Gallery, Berlin.
- Musique Quotidien Sonor Festival, Albi, France - concert performance.