Seven-channel sound installation created for Pump House Park, Richmond, VA
A Brief and True Report is a 7-channel sound installation created for the small quarry in Richmond’s historic Pump House Park. Speakers placed in the site’s natural amphitheater emit chromatic vocal lines and hammering sounds, evoking a simultaneously idyllic and unsettling atmosphere. To create these sounds, the artist recorded her own voice and the bridge in Pump House Park.
Woven into the musical piece are words from Thomas Hariot’s A Briefe and True Report of the New Found Land of Virginia, a 1588 English manuscript which advertised the plentiful “merchantable commodities” and consumable natural resources of the New World, some of which are now endangered. This pamphlet was both an eyewitness account by a scientist and explorer and a marketing tool which played a significant role in the early English colonization of North America. Some of the words were written by Hariot in Carolina Algonquian, a Native American language which is now extinct.
Bouchard’s sound work evokes two landscapes that no longer exist: the Edenic vision of Virginia from early European contact and the chunk of earth and stone that was removed from this quarry. In focusing on lost landscapes and lost languages, Bouchard’s work critiques the deep-seated history and ongoing practice of the overconsumption of American land and resources and the resulting displacement of peoples.
A Brief and True Report was presented in April 2018 as part of the Sound Arts Richmond festival.