Reflections on Unit 1

March 17, 2008 at 11:00 pm (Unit 1 Assessment)

My project as it stands now, is something that I feel I can move forward with and I’m very excited about how it will progress. Through my own research, group crits and tutorials with Andy I have developed and refined my project proposal to a point that I’m happy with. That said, it isn’t set in stone and I must leave room for growth outside of my defined parameters.

Some of the key stages in my projects development can be seen in my blog, which I have updated recently, adding new entries for the work I’ve created in the past few months. Here I shall briefly outline the pathway I took through my research;

The interface
At the beginning of my MA I visualized building an interface in which to explore my audio-visual compositions. However, I realized that this form of interaction can really change the experience of a work drastically, perhaps detracting from its immersive qualities. Also, it would probably take a huge portion of my time to construct the sort of interface that I was initially thinking of. After chats with Andy and my course mates, I decided that researching the technology shouldn’t come first. The technology should serve the idea and not the other way around, so I choose to leave area of study for later.

Looking at this subject was quite important, as it gave me a few ideas about translating audio and visual information. Incorporating visual scores in my work and interpreting sketches I make during my journeys is something I will pursue within my project.

2 min intro to my project
This was a useful exercise. It was great to have feedback from my coursemates about my work, and it was certainly interesting how it was understood. To some people it seemed that this piece was in the realm of VJing imagery/sound, something that I’d never considered. However, I wanted to define my work away from that context and explore different aspects of audio-visual composition that incorporate more than just tight syncopation and rhythm.

Interface-MaxMSP and reading
I spent time building a simple interface using MaxMSP/Jitter, to get re-acquainted with this software again. At first it was a headache, but I was really pleased with the result and it made me feel quite enthusiastic about the possibilities of MaxMSP/Jitter again!

During this period I also got my head down and did some reading, discovering lots of interesting avenues to explore further; the Situationists, Guy Debord, Psychogeography, to mention a few. This was an important discovery for me and led me to incorporate their ideas in to my project later on.

I also spent time reading more about electro-acoustic composition, namely chapters from Trevor Wishart’s “On Sonic Art”. I remember finding this book particularly inspiring when I first read it at Uni in Bath, it was great returning to some of these ideas. I think these two compositions were a very useful exercise for me and gave me a chance to put in to practice what I’d been reading about. Though the compositions had mixed success, I still learned a fair bit through the process, which was my main objective!

A few trips…
After much more reading and laying down the first draft of my project proposal, I figured it would be beneficial to spend more time actually journeying around the City. These trips were of great import and very enjoyable. I found some interesting spaces and also got more ideas about sound in relation to space. I recorded a lot of new sound material on these trips for my sound library.

MA shows
Creating the work for the MA shows was a good experience. It lead me to explore different ways of using Final Cut. Also, it was nice to meet some of the people from different MA’s and see their work. I enjoyed putting some of my sound recordings to use, as well as taking an live-improvised approach to making music in Logic.

Back to the books
Finally I returned to the books. I started reading Lefebvre, thanks to Andy’s suggestion, and more about the Situationist. I also look at London’s history and this helped me tremendously in defining the River as my departure point.

A good balance between practical and theoretical research helped my reach where I am. I hope to maintain this through the coming months. I will also try to keep my blog entries more regular.

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