I set the recorder down between two dumpsters outside one of the entrances to the big Camden Yard development right by Kevin’s Park. I was drawn here by what I saw in one of the images below: cranes high up in the sky.

When I see something high up in the sky I am always, without fail, reminded of what was for many years the tallest building in my world: Founders Hall at Maine Central Institute in Pittsfield, Maine, USA, where I grew up.

An old photograph of Founders Hall. People milling about outside and (!) on the roof.

Figure 1: An old photograph of Founders Hall, from a time when there were fewer trees.

It still counts for me as one of the tallest buildings in the world. You can see its bell tower from Interstate 95 if you’re headed north from Waterville towards Bangor. When I was growing up there were great tall maples on the field in front of it (or were they oaks? I suddenly can’t remember), and smaller brick building siblings to the left and right. I stood on the roof and touched the bell when I was 14.

Despite how tall Founders Hall was for me, it always felt possible. What I mean is that it seemed doable, if extravagant, to build a building so high. (Had I grown up in a place where the buildings don’t reach so high, or conversely in a place where the buildings are many many times taller, I would surely feel different.) I remember the first time I traveled to a proper “city”, which would have been Boston, in Massachusetts, and felt unease and nausea at the extreme height of the buildings there. I still haven’t managed to shake that feeling of discomfort which I continue to have around buildings that exceed my personal criterion of “tallest”, that being the height of Founders Hall.

So I saw these cranes in the sky for the umpteenth time, and felt that nausea at their too tall height, and decided I would go there and get as close as I could. You can’t really get to the development site as the entire thing is fenced off. So I walked around until I found Church Lane South, a tiny way that is currently a dead end unless you have permission to enter the site. It was the middle of the day but there was no activity. It was quiet, and there was nothing happening.

I am drawn to record “nothing happening”, always amazed at how much really does happen. In this particular case, I wanted my recording to be “tiny”–I can’t really explain what I mean by this, and this certainly isn’t any technique or trick. I just felt an impulse to make as “tiny” a recording as I could given the circumstances. So I set the recorder down between these two dumpsters and pointed it at the shut gate, and I stood there in the shadow of the tall fence and I looked up at the cranes in the sky and the temporary radio communications tower (seen in the center of the image below, jutting up just beyond the fence behind the dumpsters) and I pulled out my phone to do a web search for “Camden Yard Development Dublin” and read what little information I could find. One thing that jumped out at me was that, among the many concerns raised by local residents, a chief issue was that the proposed development aimed to be too high.



Looking at the construction cranes in the distance.

Figure 2: Walking southward, several construction cranes are visible high in the sky in the distance

Looking at one of the entrances to the construction site, the gate shut.

Figure 3: The recorder is on the ground between the two dumpsters.


Lána an Teampaill, Portobello, Baile Átha Cliath 8
<2023-12-22 Fri>
Sony PCM-M10
Built-in mics on the recorder
2, Stereo
Other notes
You can hear me setting it down at the start. No such thing as a pure field recording.