You can read an interview with one of the curators, Joseph Young, at http://www.attnmagazine.co.uk/features/10411.
A documentary about the whole Landscape : Islands residency project produced by Tela Films:
01 September 2016
Exciting day, the opening. Yesterday we didn’t quite get around to balance the levels between the two installations, so that’s what’s left to do this morning. Mike’s Pan flute sounds travel very far as do my “tabla” sounds. In the end all works out ok, Thankfully, no hick-ups as we move the computer up on the ledge above the door. Phew.
31 August 2016
On my arrival Ingibjörg is as good as finished herself. Objects are in place, sounds are great and give a strong feel of materiality. There is not much left to do for me as I listen to the track a few times more to check if anything needs changing. The only thing really is getting the levels right so it won’t interfere with Anne’s and Mike’s piece. Then we’ll move the mini box up on a ledge, out of sight and hope for the best – e.g. no problems as we do that…
I’ll post a stereo compression of the sound piece at some point.
30 August 2016
Today is a major installing and day everyone is competing for access: Ingibjörg needs to work on placing the sculptures, Mike S. needs to build a piece to block off a window. Neither is particularly quiet. But we manage and everything falls into place nicely. Nearly finished! Tomorrow I’ll start late so Ingibjörg has a bit of time to herself in the gallery.
At the end of the day we are giving a joint panel talk about the project. Great to hear everyone’s perspectives.
[Images by Manel Ortega]
29 August 2016
Hooray, we have a title: We are calling it “Littoral Assembly” unless we think of something better… Littoral means “relating to or situated on the shore of the sea or a lake” and it ties in nicely with theme of the work. We’ve also written a little text for the program/interpretation panel.
I’ve been busy creating the sound piece, which has taken me into a slightly different direction than initially envisaged. Sounds in the space travel not very cleanly so rather than moving longer sounds around I am working with shorter individual events that are bouncing around the room. You get a feeling of direction, but because it’s not easy to isolate the sounds, it seems they are coming from the objects. Loving it.
At the end of the day, Ingibjörg has moved most of the sculptures into the space.
28 August 2016
From today, things are getting serious and I’ll be staying in Eastbourne for easy access to Brighton. The trains are a nightmare. First task is to install the speakers and hide the cables with trunking. Leaving them out in the open would impose too much on the sculptures. Thanks to Mike Stoakes for a great job! Joseph Young has been kind enough to install Reaper on his Mac Mini which will be used to run the sound from. By the end of the day all is in place so that tomorrow I can get down to putting the piece together.
24 August 2016
Another boiling day in Brighton, recording Ingibjörg‘s new sculptures and maneuvering the speakers onto the fitted wall shelves My favoured of the new sounds are a series of almost African poly-rhythm.
They were created by sticking a small Sony stereo microphone into the crack of the object and then drumming it with my fingers. The clip below layers two recordings on top of each other.
I’ll be returning to Brighton on Sunday to start on the final installation. We’d like to have everything done by Tuesday 3oth, for our Spotlight talk at the Phoenix.
20 August 2016
Today, a brief excursion into what other artists have made of the relationship between ceramics an sound, or vice versa.
Joseph Young and Kay Aplin, the originators of this residency, collaborated on their first project Base Sound :: Sonic Gold in 2011. It “explores the correspondences between the artistic processes of ceramics and sound art in the making of an audio guide to accompany Kay’s permanent installations at The Ceramic House.”
Dan Scott‘s On The Sonority of Clay takes his inspiration from ” a letter written to the journal IEEE in 1969 suggests the curious possibility of clay sound recordings from antiquity”Claiming to have evidence, an enigmatic scholar named Richard G. Woodbridge III outlines a hypothesis: sound, by causing a shimmering of airwaves, leaves traces on materials the waves break upon; wet paint, for example, or the soft, wet clay spun by a potter. Using suitable technology a contemporary listener might hear these traces, so allowing a rehearing of whatever sonic activity was occurring in that original impact of sound wave and substance.”
This idea seems to have found expression with the help of 3-D technology. Solid Vibration , a collaboration between spatial sound designer Ricky van Broekhoven and designer Olivier van Herpt. Although thigs are mot quite that straight forward as the method of making it has a definite impact on the resulting look. 3D printer as co-sculptor.
Another take on this ceramic-sound relationship comes from Keith Harrison “is interested in the physical transformation of clay from a raw state, and the transformative qualities of sound. Using technology and sound in live public experiments [e.g. performance], he attempts to permanently change the properties of clay or to produce a sensory alteration such as the generation of sound or an aroma”.
This small survey very much goes to show how the different results can be when different artists bring their ideas to bare on only two other ingredients, sound and clay.
17 August 2016
On my way to Brighton, with the last installment of gadgets in tow. I’m very happy to be travelling lighter next week!
Today we’ll be doing our interviews for the Landscape : Island documentary with filmmaker Nicki. Also on the schedule is the start of my in-situ composition process. Yehey! Unsurprisingly, everything sounds quite different than in my studio. What works well in one, does not sound as fab in the other – the acoustics are vastly different. The space here at the Phoenix is very reverberant making it tricky to isolate sonic instances, let alone get a feeling of sounds moving sound. I get around that to some extent by playing around with slight phasings and micro-delays on the panning crossover. I’m still not sure whether to cross pan for greater effect, or just leave it top down. I’ve installed the two bottom of the speakers for this try-out but the top elevation awaits shelving. Sounding great nevertheless! Very “pure” as Ingibjörg calls it.
In terms of her sculptures, it seems that the walls will now be painted light grey instead of white, with white chalky markings and Brighton beach stones added to the mix. It’s already looking great and will be fab once completed!
14 August 2016
Over the past couple of days I have been editing last week’s recordings. Definitely no processing other than cleaning and sorting out levels! I’ve uploaded a few example to soundcloud, which you can hear below.
11 August 2016
Today Ingibjörg and I decamped to Kay’s underground glazing room to record the sculptures. Apart from the aircon hum that travels through an air vent from the kitchen (and can be switched off) it is delightfully quiet. Ingibjörg and I switch roles playing and recording until she returns to the studio to finish off another sculpture. I continue recording by myself.
Between the both of us we use Brighton beach stones and other mini-sculptures to bang, scrape and otherwise resonate the black clay objects. I also get out my violin bow, which leaves a white resin outline on the rims, reminding me of salt deposits. Both me and Ingibjörg like these a lot, so they’ll stay. It is very generous of he to let me mistreat her artworks! In this way, whilst the objects are embedded in the sound, sound making also leaves a trace on the objects.
My feeling as to what to do with the sounds has changed whilst recording: Initially I thought I might process the recordings substantially, mirroring the “alchemical” firing process that occurs as part of the ceramic making process. However, hearing the gorgeous sounds, feeling that I can hear the human being making the sounds within their irregularities, makes me want to use the untreated sounds. I’ll post them next week.
3 August 2016
My first outing to Brighton and it’s great to get properly started. Joining busy London commuters I managed to get some of the equipment down on top of myself. The trolley looks quite innocent, but it was super heavy!
After a brief exchange of ideas in Kay’s studio…
…we had a look at the available exhibition spaces at the Phoenix Brighton.
As Ingibjörg is inspired by beaches (the first image shows ceramics influenced by the vulcanic environment of her native Iceland), we went out the Brighton sea front, collecting stones. We certainly picked the day for it!
Below is a flickr slideshow from the day, I’ll be adding photos to this album as I go along.
26 July 2016
I am happy to say, some equipment and respective cabelling has been sourced (thank you LCC) and collected (thank you Ciaran).
21 July 2016
I thought of two different ways that might provide what I need sonically. Version one is somewhat inspired by the look of Susan Hiller’s Witness (see photograph on the left), or Robin Minard’s s0undb1ts, albeit with only two “strings” of about 8 speakers framing the central area of ceramics (see V1 elevation sketch below).
However, I was not overly impressed with the sound of the small speaker cones I was thinking of. Especially as we are currently envisaging a quite musical composition made from “played” ceramics, and sound quality is key. But, I’m still looking.
In the meantime, I’ve also been re-thinking the idea. In principle, if I use 4 “proper” speakers I can create a sound field around Ingibjörg’s ceramics and move sounds around through panning, either as two stereo pairs or a quad field (see the V2 elevation sketch for an up-down version).
For example, if I wire up speakers 1/2 and 3/4 as stereo pairs, I can get an up-down movement effect through panning. Another option might be to do a “crossed” version, pairing 1/4 and 3/2. In any case, I will have to do at least some of the composition in-situ.
Below a visual mock-up of the up-down stereo version, using a photo of the gallery. It’s a bit tidier than the sketch…
15 July 2016
Ingibjörg has been thinking about a series of objects cascading down the wall. I am considering to have a corresponding sonic flow, perhaps structurally interlaced with the objects, perhaps a little adjacent to it. So, my current task is to get a head start on technological solutions that don’t bust the budget.
7 July 2016
I am beginning to give some thought to the installation I will we creating with Icelandic ceramics artist Ingibjörg Gudmundsdottir for the Brighton Digital Festival. The residency is part of the Landscape : Islands series devised by Kay Aplin and Joseph Young. The image above is one of a series by Ingibjörg in her native surroundings and presents one of her initial inspirations. The text is my response to her early thoughts.