Curation notes for Artists Statement & Reflection

July 2, 2009 at 3:34 pm (Artists Statement & Reflection)

Each posts reflects upon how my project was progressing at each stage (January’s Work, Progress, Process… Questions) . I found this extremely useful in assessing if I was taking things in the right direction, and also managing my time effectively. The artist statement & reflection paper (directly below this post) details both the focus of my creative practise, and the key stages of my project and how it’s developed over the 2 years here at Camberwell.

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Artist’s Statement & Reflection Paper

June 21, 2009 at 10:52 pm (Artists Statement & Reflection)

Artist’s Statement

…how do we listen to sounds never before noticed, sounds long vanished, or sounds that are not sounds, exactly, but more like the fluctuations of light, weather and the peculiar feeling that can arise when there is a strong sense of place?
(Toop, 2007: 112)

My work explores the dialogue between sound and space. More specifically, it focuses on the relationship between the soundscape and our perception of the urban environment.

I undertook this project to investigate this in relation to my own experience of London. I felt my interaction with the city was becoming increasingly dislocated and often dictated by routines of work and necessity. If, as Lefebvre presupposes, the city is expressive of a person’s being and consciousness, then this feeling of dislocation and lack of exploration could potentially sever an individual’s connection with their city and thus their self. (Kofman & Lebas, 1996: 11)

To remedy this I embarked on a series of journeys stemming from the River Thames, taking my influence from Situationist ideas of urban exploration; namely psychogeography and dérive. (Debord, 2006: 50) I didn’t plan any routes, I simply let the allure of the landscape and the sounds I experienced lead me towards my next location. These soundwalks, or sonic dérives, through London’s urban terrain were the initial steps I took towards freely recreating my experience of the city. It gave me the opportunity to examine how my perception of the spaces encountered was being shaped by the sounds present and vice versa. En route I collected and recorded the material I’ve used to create my final piece Sonorous City.

My methodologies and aesthetic decisions have been strongly influenced by experimental music and sound-based artistic practise; in particular Acoustic Ecology, defined by R M Schafer as:

…the study of the effects of the acoustic environment or SOUNDSCAPE on the physical responses or behavioural characteristics of creatures living within it. Its particular aim is to draw attention to imbalances which may have unhealthy or inimical effects.

The Positive Soundscapes Project, a detailed 4-year study nearing completion, has been trying to identify and find solutions to these imbalances in both London and Manchester. Similarly, the New York Society for Acoustic Ecology has spearheaded several community-based soundscape projects, such as Sound Seeker and City in a Soundwalk, which encourage participants to actively engage with their sonic environment and reflect upon its impact on their daily lives. (NYSAC, 2007: 55)

Although I have focused more on my own individual experience of London’s soundscape, I see my project as running parallel to those aforementioned. Whilst the agency of getting people to engage with a city’s soundscape via a composition within an installation space may differ from their methods, a common goal is shared; to heighten the sensitivity of our ears and help us establish a stronger connection with our environment through listening.

I strive to situate my work as Bill Fontana has done, existing ‘one foot in and out of contemporary music, one foot in and out of contemporary art’. (as cited in Licht. 2007: 274) Digital technologies allow me to traverse this tightrope. However, to me categories aren’t the important thing, regardless of medium the message takes priority.

Reflection

This MA has been a journey in itself. Like my dérives through the city, I defined my point of departure and let the interesting things I encountered lead me onwards. I further explored some familiar territory, but most of my trails uncovered what was new ground to me. Now that I’m at the end of this particular journey, I feel I have a better understanding of myself, my work and the possible routes I might embark upon next. New artistic opportunities linger on the horizon, which I intend to embrace with the knowledge, skills and ideas I’ve acquired through the course.

In my initial proposal I envisaged creating an interactive audio-visual piece, exploring the individuals relationship with the City. Whilst my final piece Sonorous City could be described along these lines, the agency has changed. Through practical experimentation and critical feedback, I’ve refined my approach to audio-visual composition by reducing the visual element to a minimum and focusing on sound as the main carrier of meaning. My research in to electroacoustic music and synaesthesia in art has informed my approach to soundscape composition, which I view as an inherently visual language. Much of the visual side of my work has relocated itself within my process: through both sound-drawings and documentation of spaces via a camera, as well as in the act of listening – in the right conditions our ears can stimulate spaces within the minds eye as vivid as those experienced in the ‘real’ world.

The interactive aspect to my work has also been stripped down to its essentials. I reconsidered my preliminary ideas about creating an interface using motion tracking or touch-screen technology. This was partly due to losing my computer and thus my time, but also because I didn’t want the technology to be at the forefront of the experience of my final piece. As my tutor Andy stressed, the interaction should be meaningful and not be a gimmick. Now, through the use of a seat-embedded trigger, the interaction has been simplified and will hopefully take on a more symbolic role within the work: when the audience sits the light present will fade to black, and a journey in to the city will begin. The act of listening becomes central to the experience, attempting to reveal how we can understand and engage with our environment through sound.

Within my project the historical aspect of London was discarded in favour of the present state of the city. Perhaps there was an underlying existentialist theme in this decision; I feel that I can only truthfully reflect upon the things I have directly experienced as an individual. This focus on the present lived experience was something that became more apparent as I undertook my main dérives and later attempted to describe these experiences in writing.

The use of surround sound was largely influenced by the lectures I attended at Goldsmiths. After hearing Westerkamp and Truax play their soundscape compositions on an 8-speaker set-up I realized the potential of surround sound. It can enable a more realistic depiction of how we experience sound in the real world by allowing the composer to play with notions of space and motion in more depth.

At the same time I’m excited and anxious about what the future may hold in terms of a career. I’d like to continue my creative practise through the means of artist residencies and collaborative exhibitions over the coming years, with the possibility of exploring my area of study within the framework of a PhD further down the line. Although the current financial crisis suggests finding work may be difficult, I’d like to establish myself as a freelance sound designer for film, with the long term goal of setting up and successfully running a small company. Also, over the next year I plan to start a record label as an outlet for both my experimental and dance-based music. I believe these different endeavours can exist in tandem and will definitely inform one another. If I approach each respective strand of my creative passions with the same dedication and openness to learning as I feel I have with my MA, then I will achieve my goals.

Bibliography

Books

Collins, J. & Selina, H. (1998) Heidegger for Beginners, Cambridge: Icon Books
Debord, G. (1977) Society of the Spectacle, Detroit: Black & Red
Debord, G. (2006) Introduction to a Critique of Urban Geography, In: Knabb, K.
Situationist National Anthology (Revised and Expanded edition) AK Press
Debord, G. (2006) Theory of dérive, In: Knabb, K. Situationist National Anthology
(Revised and Expanded edition) AK Press
Kofman, E. & Lebas, E. (1996) Lefebvre: Writings On Cities Massachusetts: Blackwell
Publishers
Licht, A. (2007) Sound Art: Beyond Music, Between Categories, New York: Rizzoli International Publications
New York Society for Acoustic Ecology (2007) New York Society for Acoustic Ecology, In: Carlyle, A. Autumn Leaves: Sound and the Environment in Artistic Practise, Paris: Double Entendre
Satre, J. (2008) Being and Nothingness: An Essay on Phenomenological Ontology, Oxon: Routledge
Schafer, R. M. (1977) The Soundscape: Our Sonic Environment & the Tuning of the World, Vermont: Destiny Books
Toop, D. (2007) To Move Within Sound, In: Carlyle, A. Autumn Leaves: Sound and the Environment in Artistic Practise, Paris: Double Entendre

Lectures & Performances
Cusack, P. & Westerkamp, H. (2009) Art and Soundscapes: Part 2, Goldsmiths Lecture and Performance
Truax, B. (2009) Art and Soundscapes: Part 1, Goldsmiths Lecture & Performance

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3 & 4. How do these observations feed in to how the soundscape may effect our perception of the urban environment & how can this inform my compositional process and aesthetic decisions?

May 6, 2009 at 3:21 pm (Artists Statement & Reflection, Main Derives)

Sound + Space

Sound and space are always engaged in conversation. The activity of sound characterizes space; it can inject rhythm, texture and mood in to it, imbuing it with a sense of identity. Likewise, the physical form of space helps to define the character of sound; its size, shape and material effects its acoustic qualities, which in turn alters how we perceive the sonorities that occur within it.

“You enter a space and close your eyes and you can know simply through your hearing whether it is a large or small space, whether it is made of plasterboard or of concrete… The history of architecture… cancels materiality and the way it is expressed in space through the ear.” (Bernard Tschumi cited in Rebelo, 2003: 35)

“…the brain compares the signals from our to ears to detect where a sound source is located, not just on the horizontal plane around us, but also vertically, to give us an accurate three-dimensional impression of the soundscape around us.” (Davies, 2007:105)

dscf1020

Sound always exists in a spatial context, whether we are experiencing it within our memory, imagination, or the present moment. When I listen to a field recording my mind takes me back to that specific location and moment in time. Likewise, whenever I listen to a new dance music 12”, my mind is always transported to a club space I’ve experienced.

– Use real IR reverbs, as well as synthetic spaces (real vs imagined)

– Use reverb spaces to link journeys (this is a solid reason)

– Use surround sound, more realistic depiction of space

… + Time

Sound can bring temporality into our perception of space. Imagine a deserted residential street at night; the warm orange glow of the streetlights remain constant, the sky is clear, without a cloud in sight, nothing within the scene is changing. Time appears to be static, completely still.  However, in the background the sonorous city swells with activity; a police siren violently cuts through the indescript drone of distant motorway traffic, whilst the crystalline glissando of an airplane drifts gently overhead. Our sense of time is restored.

dscf1021

In each passing moment our experience of the soundscape is completely unique; both in the sense that our exact location defines what we hear at any particular moment, and also that each synchronized occurrence of sound at any particular moment, when listened too intently, is different from the last.

– Each listeners experience should be different from the last (MaxMSP – structure – linking)

– Solidity of space vs fluidity of sound

– Our experience of sound is endless, “there are no earlids” (Marshall McLuhan)

Chance + Accident

If one were to listen to the soundscape as an endless musical composition, then undertaking a sonic derive (or soundwalk) would be way of actively engaging with it and, in a sense, creating it through our individual experience. Though certain locations may have regularly or predictable types of sound activity, the dialogue between different sounds is largely determined by chance. This leads to one of the most important parts and exciting parts of creating a piece of work: discovering the Accident. The sounds occur without intention, without trying to work together, creating interesting and unexpected moments.

dscf1018

Perhaps this leads to the question ‘to what extent should we control and shape the acoustic environment’? Going too far may remove these moments of chance, creating a dull, predictable sonic experience of spaces where sound has no freedom. As with most things the solution is balance.

–    Utopian vs distopian soundscape

–    Real vs imagined soundscape

–    How much control is too much control? Leave room for ‘the
Accident’ within process

Nature + Dynamics

Green spaces, waterways and other natural habits for wildlife are important for a City since they retain a balance between natural and man-made sounds. They are also relatively quiet in comparison to commercial public spaces. By straying from more popular locations and journeying further along the River, one can move from being in a lo-fi sound environment to a hi-fi one:

“Abbreviation for high fidelity, that is, a favorable signal-to-noise ratio… a hi-fi environment is one in which sounds may be heard clearly without crowding or masking.” (Schafer, 1977: 272)

dscf1017
Clarity is something to aspire too. Perhaps the density of sounds within urban environments has made us tune out, as a means of survival! (Chris Watson)

Recognition of a sounds source is important. Nature is often perceived as more beautiful and calming than mechanical (man-made) sounds:

“‘People can completely change their perception of a sound once they have identified it,’…. ‘In the laboratory, many listeners prefer distant motorway noise to rushing water, until they are told what the sounds are.'”(Davies, 2007)

–    Treat natures sounds with respect (Hildegard Westerkamp)

–    Dynamics of journeys (nature / man-made, quiet / loud, etc)

–    Giving individual sounds context within composition for source recognition

References

Carlyle A. (2007) “Autumn Leaves: Sound and the Environment in Artistic Practise” Double Entendre, Paris

Hill A. (2007) “Why we love sounds of the City jungle” The Observer: http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2007/sep/23/science.ameliahill [accessed 1.5.09]

Schafer R M. (1977) “The Soundscape: Our Sonic Environment & the Tuning of the World” Destiny Books, Vermont

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2. ii) What observations were made during preparing and working on recorded material?

April 27, 2009 at 9:55 pm (Artists Statement & Reflection, Main Derives)

As I began working with my sound material I became interested in how audition would allow me to revisit a previous space and moment in time I had experienced within my minds eye. Often the sound would trigger quite clear and detailed images, akin to the experience of recalling a vivid dream upon awakening. One slight problem is that I am now finding it somewhat difficult to separate my minds eye from that space and position myself as a listener who hasn’t experienced those spaces. That’s why the group critique was so useful the other day!

011

I watched a Horizons documentary on memory the other day. I was interested to find out that we use exactly the same part of our brain when remembering as we do imagining. Whilst making evolutionary sense (i.e. better equipped for survival through learning), what fascinated me were the implications. If memory and imagination is initiated by the same part of the brain, does this mean we actively construct memories rather than simply recalling things ‘as they were’? Apparently so – if I recall correctly. When we experience something the nerves in our brains connect, effectively recording experience, but of course these connections die out with time, if not re-stimulated or revisited. Our memory is essentially fragmented; we remember the key things that happened, and piece together the rest. Old details disappear, and perhaps new ones are created.

031

I want to look in to how sound exactly relates to memory, and in turn how these relate to space and our identity. Sound can make us revisit certain points in times in our lives, certain places, acting as a catalyst to relive those moments. Past experiences and feelings can leap forth from the depths of our mind and be experienced once more, sometimes regardless of whether we want to remember them or not. I’m fascinated by how spaces we’ve experienced in our conscious lives translate within our subconscious, in our dreams, our imagination. Dreamt of spaces carry with them a rich, individual symbolism. Within my dreams I experience familiar spaces, slightly mutated, but still recognizable. Often these are places I’ve lived and worked in, imbued with identity through my experience of them. Other times dreamt of spaces appear to be constructed from fragments of places experienced; vaguely familiar territory but entirely free-form, a stream of consciousness that seamlessly weaves together and ‘works’ for us in the most imaginative way, despite irrationality and randomness.

Researching and learning about the above (from a theoretical/scientific point of view) in as much detail as my mind desires, is perhaps beyond the scope of this project. So, I will gather what I can and rely on my own observations as I remember and imagine.

2ii-1

As I’ve typed these reflections, I’ve been listening to a random selection of my recordings. It’s interesting that whilst certain sounds will trigger particular spaces quite clearly, most of the voices of people I’ve recorded stimulate grey, nondescript faces. They appear ghost-like, a trace that’s fading from my memory, whilst the space remains, or rather, whilst I can still piece it together…. To my disappointment I’m yet to dream of any spaces experienced during my journeys. I wish my subconscious would be a bit more helpful with my research!

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2. i) What observations were made about the soundscape during my soundwalks?

April 27, 2009 at 12:08 pm (Artists Statement & Reflection, Main Derives)

I started to note recurring sounds within the soundscape:

Planes and helicopters,
Motorbikes, buses and cars,
Signals; traffic lights, police sirens and vans reversing,
Construction work,
Constant drones from various generators and fans
Chime of church bells,
Along the Thames Path;
Waves on the shore, water gushing through locks,
Creaking boats,
Various avian calls;
Seagulls, pigeons, ducks and geese,
Runners and cyclists,
In parks;
Parents and children playing,
Football matches,
Low hum of the City in the background….

The different dynamics of the journeys, in terms of decibel levels, differed dramatically at times. At certain points along the Thames path, particularly on the Albert Bridge North (ABN) journey, it was incredibly quiet and a solitary experience too. Coming off Great West Road and following the path to Barnes Bridge, I think I only encountered one person.

abn-man

It was only the sound of airplanes that were apparent in the foreground, the distant City revealing itself occasionally, where there was more open space (e.g. park – Riverside Recreation Ground). In fact, planes were quite a dominant feature of the soundscape. That said, their presence is easier to notice in quieter spaces, whilst in louder environments they may be masked by other sounds, and so glide gently in and out of our periphery without us necessarily noticing.

The majority of main roads I encountered were busy, since I usually undertook my journeys between 12-8pm. Embarking on my ABN journey, I followed the main road West and came across Cremorne Gardens, a little park along the Thames Path. I stood on the peer, perhaps only 100m or so away from the main road, and only slightly sheltered by short building. The difference in perceived level of traffic was surprising, and I could clearly hear the sounds of seagulls in the water below, as well as the flutter of pigeons lined up on the railings. Even the delicate tinkling of shells and stones on the shore as the waves drew back and forth could be heard.

q2-4
The frequency of police sirens on some journeys was far greater than others. On my Vauxhall Bridge South (VBS) journey – through Camberwell, Peckham, Nunhead, and finally New Cross – I recorded a great deal. Police sirens are incredibly loud and a very distinct and dominant feature of London. I actually think they’re too loud and don’t seem particularly directional (i.e. you can’t always tell which direction they’re coming from until they get close).

I recorded a fair amount of footsteps; sometimes my own, sometimes other peoples. Sometimes I would follow a person’s footsteps, letting that sound lead me to the next. (I hope I didn’t freak anybody out… though I don’t think they actually noticed!) Footsteps are interesting when they accumulate, like in enclosed places of transit (underpasses, stations), where many feet meet to create a denser rhythmic texture within the space.

q2-2

A single pair of feet crunching and squelching through a wet pebble shore has a very different feel. A single pair of feet in a relatively quiet environment is a good way of hearing the acoustics of a space and how it changes when those feet make their way through different spaces; a narrow alleyway, a tunnel leading to the tube, a stairwell leading back over ground….

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1. What was the experience of soundwalking through London like?

April 27, 2009 at 9:58 am (Artists Statement & Reflection, Main Derives)

After embarking on several journeys, I found it much easier to slip into a focused state of listening. Ears ‘open’, I found that my sensitivity towards my surroundings was amplified. This could also be attributed to the fact that I had no other objective on the journeys than to simply experience the environments I passed through and absorb them.

01

The journeys themselves were interesting for me, in that I travelled through locations I had not yet set foot in. Just as my experience of physical space was a process of discovery, my aural experience was too. I would follow distant sounds, trying to uncover their whereabouts by navigating spaces with my ears. On occasions I’d decide to investigate spaces that might have interesting acoustics. Other times I would be drawn simply by the architecture of the space, or even just the feeling it seemed to emanate. Sometimes these decisions would yield interesting results, other times the interest would reveal itself indirectly; each decision made would effect the location and point in time I would find myself in next, so every decision, in a sense, was an important one.

02

The chance occurrences of seemingly separate sounds during my journeys were stimulating. During my trails along the Thames Path, I remember getting this overwhelming sense of simply being; the things that were happening at that particular moment in time, at that specific location, as experienced by me, appeared so clearly before me. There was nothing within my perception that made me aware of anything other than the very moment I was experiencing.

03

Every moment in time felt like it was being solidified by the sound I was listening to, it felt like it was grounding my experience. Time seemed to dissolve; memory & imagination, slowly drifting into the background of the present, lived experience. Part of me had become lost within that fleeting moment of clarity, but another was found; constructions of Self gave way to a more lucid being, a being ready to absorb experience of the Now. It felt almost like slipping from a passive dream-state into a lucid one; the veil concealing consciousness is lifted, the present revealed in all it’s vivid detail.

04

This reminds me of something Hildegard Westerkamp said about soundwalking during her lecture at Goldsmiths. When on a soundwalk, after a while, one can begin to feel that the environment and oneself are not separate, but rather the environment is an extension of oneself. I think she was hinting at the kind of interconnectedness one can experience when immersed within a sound environment and ones sense are open. This perhaps is another way of describing my soundwalking experience; the feeling of losing ones self and being absorbed in an environment, an experience.

05

Today, at the Southbank, I tried listening to the sounds that surrounded me intensely, closing my eyes. If one stays absolutely still and simply listens for a while, I believe one can start to feel absorbed within the sonic environment that surrounds them. This in turn reveals an awakened state of perception whereby experience of the environment becomes richer, more detailed; visual perception and aural perception retain a balance once more and experience feels more whole.

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Questions

April 25, 2009 at 7:10 pm (Artists Statement & Reflection, Main Derives)

To give myself a bit more direction when working on my compositions, I’ve been trying to define what I’ve learned from undertaking my journeys and what exactly it is I want to say about the Soundscape & its relation to urban space. I have decided to stop working on my pieces for the time being, instead asking myself a series of written questions to answer and reflect upon. The four initial questions I’ve come up with are:

1) What was the experience of soundwalking through London like?

2) i. What observations were made about the soundscape during my journeys?

2) ii. What observations were made during preparing and working on recorded material?

3) How do the above observations feed in to how the soundscape may effect our perception; both of urban space and in a wider sense of processing experience.

4) In what ways can these ideas inform my compositional process and aesthetic descisions?

Hopefully answering these will give me a better idea of where to take things when composing, or at the least, they’ll give me a more solid foundation from which to build upon. I have, at times, felt somewhat lost during composing. I kept asking myself ‘What does this sound reveal about the soundscape?’, but I guess before asking myself that it makes sense to go back a step and ask ‘What have I learnt about the soundscape so far?’

 

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10 Journeys // useful numbers ?

March 31, 2009 at 12:12 pm (Artists Statement & Reflection, Main Derives)

I decided to reduce the amount of journeys to 10 due to time constraints.

Now that all my derives are complete and all my sound material is prepared,

I will spend the remaining 12 weeks composing.

final2

 

I’ve been doing a few calculations which may feed in to how I work with my sound material:

 

distances

Approximate journey distances (km = miles) // time (hrs/min) // avr. speed (S – mph):

50mm = 1 km (map ratio)

TBS – 600mm = 12 km = 7.5 miles
// 4hr 57m = 4.95 hr
S = 7.5 / 4.95 = 1.52 mph

TBN – 250mm = 5 km = 3.1 miles
// 3hr27m = 3.45 hr
S = 3.1 / 3.45 = 0.9 mph

LBS – 250mm = 5 km = 3.1 miles
// 3hr15m = 3.25 hr
S = 3.1 / 3.25 = 0.95 mph

LBN – 330mm = 5.6 km = 3.5 miles
// 1hr54m = 1.9 hr
S = 3.5 / 1.9 hr = 1.84 mph

GJBS – 230mm = 4.6 km = 2.9 miles
// 1hr34m = 1.56 hr
S = 2.9 / 1.56 = 1.86 mph

GJBN – 320mm = 5.6 km = 3.5 miles
// 3hr14m = 3.23 hr
S = 3.5 / 3.23 = 1.08 mph

VBS – 470mm = 9.4 km = 5.8 miles
// 4hr27m = 4.45 hr
S = 5.8 / 4.45 = 1.3 mph

VBN – 320mm = 6.4 km = 4 miles
// 2hr20m = 2.33 hr
S = 4 / 2.33 = 1.72 mph

ABS – 280mm = 5.6 km = 3.5 miles
// 3hr29m = 3.48 hr
S = 3.5 / 3.48 = 1.01 mph

ABN – 510mm = 10.2 km = 6.3 miles (1 dp)
// 4hr5m = 4.08 hr (2dp)
S = 6.3 / 4.08 = 1.54 mph

Total distance = 69.4 km = 43.1 miles
Total time = 32hr 42 m = 32.7
Total average speed = 1.32 mph (2 dp) or 1.372 mph (using rounded S)

idea

I could, for example, use the distance of a journey as time signature (e.g. 3.5 miles = 3/5 sig),

scale the journeys time length as total time for a composition (e.g. 1hr54 = 1m54sec),

use the average speed to set the beats per minute / tempo (1.84mph = 184 bpm)

 

Chronological order of journeys:

 LBN    – 09.01.10
LBS    – 09.01.11
GJBS – 09.01.14
GJBN – 09.01.28
VBN    – 09.01.29
TBN    – 09.02.04
VBS    – 09.02.19
ABS    – 09.02.20
ABN    – 09.02.21
TBS     – 09.03.11


 

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Progress, process & scaling down !

February 19, 2009 at 11:50 am (Artists Statement & Reflection, Logic Progress)

I’ve spent the last few days finishing off preparing my sound material collected from the 6 journeys I’ve done so far.

It has taken slightly longer than expected, but the extra time has definitely been worth it. Through the use of re-sampling techniques, I’ve found that I can create an abundance of material to work with. The longer I spend listening and extracting the interesting moments in each recording, the better the results.

Thus far I’ve created 100 sampler instruments in Logic, which I can play and manipulate using my midi keyboard. My work flow is building up momentum, helped by organisation, process and also subverting process!

setup

I make notes as I work on sounds, take screenshots, make drawings and mind-maps. Occasionally I get tired of using similar processes each time I am preparing sounds, so I try and experiment with new ways of cutting & re-sampling, to keep myself interested. Usually, after I’ve made a small batch of instruments I’ll improvise with them and do a few quick sketches. This is good motivation for continuing the preparation task, and allows me to assess whether or not the sound recording made is actually workable!

***

As I’ve been creating and improvising with the instruments I’ve made, I’ve come to realise that the study of urban spaces and their character can be explored at home. Now, each sound has a space attached to it in my minds eye. With each mutation and variation on the sound, this space begins to take on a whole new form. I may not need to revisit spaces after all, as the memories of a space still resonate strongly within my mind when I’m working with the sound recorded there.

***

A few weeks ago I was trying to think about linking together my separate journeys through the City. This lead me to think I needed to carry on making lots of additional ‘sub’ journeys on foot, physically piecing together my routes and also covering more of the urban soundscape.

However, I’m finding I can reconnect my separate routes mentally, since there are many ways to coherently link different sounds within the digital domain. For example;

Linking journeys with my Impulse Response Clap Reverb’s

e.g. Through the use of IR Reverb on both A & B , I can create a continuity between sounds, since they will be linked in sonic character through the effect.

sound A

space A1

sound B

space B1

state – description

1 – A

2 – A + A1

3 – A1

4 – A1 + B1

5 – B1

6 – B+ B1

7 – B

I was thinking of this in terms of my MaxMSP structure idea;

Say if sound A is from journey 1 composition and sound B is from journey 2 composition, you could create a link-way between the two compositions.

a-and-b

* the dotted lines are journeys 1 and 2 !

There are other ways to link material, such as through similar sound sources (seagulls link to seagulls, football matches link to football matches, etc).

***

I’ve realised that as I’ve been working on this project, I’ve been striving for some kind of completeness in my final outcome. This completeness, I previously thought, would come from embarking on more and more journeys and getting an all encompasing view of what London’s soundscape is.

However, time is of the essence. The more journeys I do, the more material I’ll have to work through, which in turn leads to less time for me to work on the compositions themselves. Spending time on my composition is really important to me. I’d rather make 12 journey compositions in great detail, as opposed to 24 in half the detail. Also, with the way I’m thinking of structuring the piece within MaxMSP, new routes could be added further down the line if need be – maybe even post-MA. I feel this project could keep growing!

So my new plan is to complete 6 more journeys (from bridges) by the 1st week of march, and leave it at that for the moment.

whole

It’ll take me another week or so preparing this new material, then I’ll concentrate on the compositions and MaxMSP work.

***

Each sound can have a life of its own. Each sound can move, transform and mutate into a plethora of shapes and forms. These new manifestations of the sounds from London’s soundscape, can embark on journeys of their own, they are free.

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January’s work / adjustments

February 3, 2009 at 11:45 pm (Artists Statement & Reflection)

0902

January was quite a productive period, largely due to having a computer once again! I’ve completed 5 derives from the bridges and a number of smaller journeys / locational recordings. Half of the sound material collected has been prepared within Logic, whilst the remaining material will be prepared by the end of the week.

I am moving forward at a steady pace, but am still feeling the pressure of time looming over me.

At the moment I am trying to embark on 3 journeys per week and prepare the material from them as well. This should mean I’ve covered substantial ground in terms of collected / prepared material by the end of February.

I’ve been thinking recently about how to structure of my final piece and trying to think about the visual aspect more. The journeys themselves have also sparked a few ideas, perhaps indicating a change in some of my methodologies;

I have been naturally drawn to the soundscape around the River’s embankments. Consequently, this has lead me to walk through certain spaces that I have already traveled through. This has given me the idea of connecting all my journeys together on foot, which in turn would give me an approach to structuring my final piece, for example, if I went ahead with the previous MaxMSP idea of linking together compositions. This indicates a new rule (or rather a change of method):

I can only start a journey from a bridge that I have encountered already.

or

I can start a journey at any point along a previous journeys route.
I could perhaps use a combination of the two. I may want to still use the bridges as my first point of departure, then after I encountered a wide spread of them (geographically), I could employ the second journey method. This has implications on the use of derive though. If I need to reach a bridge to start a new journey from it, it will give me a destination, which perhaps contradicts the point of a derive. That said, only 1 of the 2 journeys I embark on will have to cross a bridge (either North or South).

However I choose to adapt my approach to exploration one thing is clear, I must cover more ground. I feel I need to embrace as much of this endless City as I can, venturing deeper in to unfamiliar territory, eventually reconnecting these fragmented wonderings through urbanity…

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