Tutorial with Sean

– Does the sound need the text to be complete? And Vice versa? Or do they exist independently of one another?

– My pieces will become ‘artworks’ once they are in the world – participation/interaction makes them works

Robert Barry – Telepathic Piece

– translation: work with the translation of one media to another. * graphic scores, sound translated – sculpture?

– try the text in a poster format

* insta, tv screens

– exhibition inside a book

* place sound and memory

– benedict drew, luke fowler

– Michael dean – writing and sculpture, sensory art. Making a sound physical. Violence of a sound with violence of a sculpture. Performance of sculpture.

– Lawrence weiner

– ubuweb – resource

*(my thoughts)


Pekka Kuusisto – Improvisation

I’ve been really into Pekka Kuusisto’s work since I watched him perform, and this improvisation has been on repeat. Like I was trying to achieve in my recordings, he explores the whole instrument and really pushes the constraints of musical conventions. I want to try working like this more – editing and layering sounds in present time rather than editing them after recording. I think the results could be more organic and the element of other thinking would be removed, leaving me with some unusual results.

Recording Booth – Sculptures

As well as recording instruments, I tried playing sculptures and objects. The most successful ones were a metal bowl I found last year, and my aluminium cast sculpture I made.

I played both percussively, but a revelation was had when I used my old violin bow on them. The quality of sound is completely unlike anything I’ve created before. Especially if you begin listening just after the bow has struck, you hear this pure ringing tone. The quality of that sound is so clean and clear, it sounds like recalling something. Like in the James Richards piece, the little whisps of ringing sounds and tinkling sounded like your memory was being jolted.

I think I might combine this sound with the text I’ve been working on in some way, in a sort of Pavlovian bell ringing fashion.


Recording Booth

After speaking to Neil  I found out there’s a recording booth for Speech and Language Therapy students, so I booked it out for a morning to get some decent recordings. I’ve been recording a lot of stuff at home for my Venice work I’m doing alongside for G39, but the background noises were annoying me when editing so I thought it high time to upgrade! I brought various objects and sculptures, my violin, my accordion, every whistle and tinwhistle I own, and I got Abi to bring her saxophone.

I wanted these partly to create a bank of sounds I can work with in general, but also to explore how we play instruments. Pekka Kuusisto’s interviews where he speaks about standardised ways of playing etc (refer back to previous posts) really got me thinking about not just standardised music, but sounds in general and the distinction between instruments and objects. When does an object become a sound making thing? Because all objects have sonic properties. Again with the theme of disruption, I wanted to disrupt the way of playing and listening, as well as upsetting the correlation between what we see and what we hear – seeing an object and hearing a sound we don’t expect broadens our understanding of that object.

Abi was brilliant and really explored the whole of the saxophone. I worked with my violin and accordion in the same way:

When editing and cleaning up all of these tracks the moments of silence really stood out to me. Like John Cage’s 4:33, the moments of ‘silence’ are really moments that you notice every sound that is constantly present. I’m going to try editing every pause or moment between deliberate sounds together to make one artificial silence.

As for the recordings themselves, they definitely aren’t ‘pieces’ as such. They’re the building blocks for other things I think, but I can work with them, and the ideas gained from the act of making them, into more established pieces.

Key Concept – The Exhibition

Exhibition as a Market: Artists began making work to sell rather than being commissioned. This lead to the exhibition originally being a format for buyers and artists to be introduced. The context reassured the public that the work was of a high standard. Positioning was everything: there were prime positions on the wall that had greatest visibility – a bit like visual merchandising in a shop, displaying things in a way that will make them sell better.

Exhibition as Education: Like in the RA, the work is accompanied by a lot of text and explanantion, eg booklets, wall text, audio tours etc. The exhibition exists as a way of teaching you about the art, in line with the common notion that to enjoy the work without understanding it is inadequate.

This reminds me of some of the things I saw in Venice – the Palazzo Fortuny and the 2017 Future Generations Prize were some of my favourite exhibitions, and they provided no information about the works other than a name and date. I feel like letting the art speak for itself is more valuable.

– The Exhibition as making Public: The exhibition is a social ritual – you queue up, have a glass of wine, etc. There is a determined pathway to work your way through an exhibition – it is a form of theatre about how people move through a space. The artwork sets the conditions for how the viewer moves through a space. The exhibition is incomplete without an audience, the viewer is part of it from the moment they enter.

-The Exhibition as an Argument: The curator’s argument is evidenced by the work in an exhibition. It’s a way of saying these works belong together, and what isn’t here doesn’t. Positioning determines significance, as does format – the white cube format was originally used to make works seem more scientific and clinical.

-information is presented in three ways: a dictionary, work is ordered in advance; a map, you have to navigate your way around; or a magazine, each room is unrelated. The way of presenting is crucial to what an artwork says as well. A plinth is not just a plinth, when does is end and the work begin? etc.

-The Exhibition as Temporary: The work isn’t everlasting, therefore it becomes an event. Bigger risks are taken, more outlandish pieces are created.

Presenting Text

I printed out the text pieces I had made to see how they would be different physically. They do now have more presence as an object in the real world. Yet I find them too austere – too much of the human presence has been removed. To try and bring some back in, I went down to letterpress some of the text.

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The technique was definitely a valuable process for me. Printing with Martyn’s constellation lectures in mind (looking at the impact our actions have on the meshwork of all things), I was far more wary of how much waste I was producing. By my direct involvement with the process I was more aware of the quantity of materials that was being used. It made me work more carefully and thoughtfully.

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I went for ‘A LOSS THAT WAS INCONCLUSIVE’, in all capitals as I think it seems less like a word and more like a symbol this way. I do like the typeface and I think it carries the text well, but it would be difficult for me to change it as not many of the sets have a full alphabet of letters.

What I printed on definitely impacted the text. The tracing paper, especially the half prints, acted as a metaphor for the meaning, but the cartridge paper had more presence as an object.

I think the most successful print formats were the two above. On the left I printed the words twice over each other, the resulting image faintly readable but not quite. I think the layout works well too – one strip of ink in the middle of the rectangle. If the page was full then the ‘loss’ wouldn’t be supported or make sense. On the right I rotated the card as I printed, making a border out of the text and leaving the centre blank. I think this layout is really effective – the subject is conventionally in the centre and framed by the lesser, but the roles are switched here. Again, a visual metaphor for the text.

I want to try out different sizes next. The letterpress creates a very small and personal size, but how would a silk screen or woodblock come across?

Delia Derbyshire

Since I saw a short clip of Delia Derbyshire’s work at the British Library I’ve become slightly obsessed. Her process of working with sound is so physical and precise, I’ve never encountered anything like it before.


She would create music in a very mathematical way, evident as well from the way she notated her ideas, often numerically on graph paper. A sound would be sampled (recorded onto tape), then cut, slowed down, sped up, and so on until she had the desired tone. One piece of her music was the collective of all of these sounds together played simultaneously.

She did a lot of work for tv (most famously being known for the Dr Who theme), but her radio works are incredibly valuable as well. I feel like she had more creative license in these areas. http://www.djfood.org/barry-bermange-delia-derbyshire-amor-dei/

The inventions for radio she created really interest me in terms of how we can present both sounds and words (as sounds). How is the spoken work enhanced by it’s accompanying sounds? Or a read text altered by the sonic input?

This is a very useful bank of her work for future reference: http://delia-derbyshire.net/

I think this way of working could lead to some very interesting results for me. Delia Derbyshire is fabulous and I can’t believe I didn’t find out about her sooner.