For Helicotrema 2017, five CRiSAP members – PhD students and academic staff – have offered contributions which represent aspects of their own artistic practice. Some of these contributions constitute works in progress while others reflect previously published projects; some offer more abstract investigations while others incline towards the condition of documentary. Although the five contributions were solicited individually without any over-arching theme in place, listening to them all as a series, I can hear the consistent resonance of something François Bonnet was exploring in The Order of Sounds: A Sonorous Archipelago: “Sound moves through obstacles, flees, and is propagated for kilometres. Even a distant sound, as it is apprehended, can be heard right inside the ear. Listening realizes the intimacy of the faraway, the intimate embrace of the distant. It can transcend space, or at least change our relation to it. It reconciles two poles, without ever merging then into one another, bringing about a proximity or intimacy superposed on a distance or a distancing”.
CRiSAP (Creative Research into Sound Arts Practice) was founded in 2005 as a Research Centre at the University of the Arts London with the aim of extending the development of the disciplinary field of sound arts and broadening and deepening of the discursive context in which sound arts is practised. CRiSAP has close connections to the BA Sound Arts and Design and to the MA Sound Arts at the London College of Communication. The16 PhD students currently enrolled at CRiSAP and its 8 members of academic staff are all engaged in a wide diversity of projects.
MAOS1 (Mobile Aural Observation Station 1) was a temporary space for enhanced sonic and visual experience. Once inside the listener heard real time external sounds and a spatialised multi-channel sound piece (a 24 speaker, 6 channel playback system is integrated into the structure) composed from sounds previously recorded from the site making difficult to differentiate between the real time and the composed, the past and the present. Although seemingly peaceful inner London square was known for the sounds of birdsong, tennis games and dog walkers it was in fact dominated by the drone of airplanes on the flight path into Heathrow airport. Despite this local residents claimed never to have noticed the planes even though there was rarely more than 1 second when you couldn’t hear one! MAOS1 is the first work produced by Auricula, a collaboration between sound artist Cathy Lane and textile artist Tessa Brown.
Cathy Lane is a composer, sound artist and academic. Her work uses spoken word, field recordings and archive material to explore aspects of our listening relationship with each other and the multiverse. She is currently focused on how sound relates to the past, our histories, environment and our collective and individual memories from a feminist perspective. Cathy is a Professor of Sound Arts and Director of CRiSAP (Creative Research in Sound Arts Practice), University of the Arts London.
The selection of recordings I have submitted are taken from several countries over several years. Each raw recording is from a moment in time where I had found myself in a remote location, seemingly far from human culture only to be confronted with heavy industrial technology. The recordings are anthropocentric ruptures in space: a data centre hidden beneath a park; a wind farm obscured by a forest and peatbog; a power substation singing beside a quarry; and a large shipping vessel propelling out to sea.
“Thorney Bay Geophone Hydrophone Shipping Lane 031017 1243.mp3″, 8’28”
Matt Parker (b. 1984) is an artist working with and producing archives that amplify hidden connections between every-day technology and the environment. His work is influenced by the sonosphere, unsound, ecology, the economy of noise, infrastructure studies and the internet.
These recordings document two site-specific installations using only very high and very low frequency sounds. The walls of the space become acoustically translucent, so that the environmental sounds from outside become part of the work. I use the acoustic phenomenon of ‘beating’ to explore resonant frequencies and bring the architecture itself into audible play. “The critical shift in this installation is from apparent mimesis to a subtly unfolded artifice: permeable and open, prompting hesitation, the space created by Wynne does not display the purity of acoustic phenomena but points to the singular, changing engagement with sound that occurs at different times for different listeners.” Daniela Cascella, Frieze Magazine
“Installation no 1 for high and low frequencies (Gazelli Art House, Rochelle School Gallery, London, 2011)“, 9’15”
“Installation no 2 for high and low frequencies (Fieldgate, Angus-Hughes Gallery, London, 2012)“, 6’39”
John Wynne’s diverse practice includes sound installations in galleries and public spaces, delicate sculptural works, flying radios and ‘composed documentaries’ that hover between abstraction and documentation. His work with speakers of endangered languages includes a project on click languages in Botswana and another with one of Canada’s indigenous languages. He was artist-in-residence at two major centres for organ transplants, leading to a book, an award-winning commission for BBC Radio and several large-scale exhibitions, most recently at the Hunterian Museum, London. His massive Installation for 300 speakers, Pianola and vacuum cleaner was the first piece of sound art in the Saatchi collection. John is a Reader in Sound Arts at UAL and has a PhD from Goldsmiths, University of London.
These four recordings are taken from releases centred on interrogating travel, and listening as a means of encountering difference and acts of place-making.
The first is from a now demolished concrete factory on the outskirts of a tiny fishing village in Northern Iceland, the second is composed using recordings from a village next to nuclear power plant complex east of Paris, the third uses underwater recordings taken from Fort Saint-Jean in Marseilles, and the closer is a fence recording in the Scottish Highlands, where I first discovered what gorse is.
“The Creaking Door Of The Abandoned Concrete Factory, Olafsfjordur, Iceland M”, 00’28”
“Rising Waters (Alone in the Dark)”, 7’58”
“Under An Ancient Fort”, 4’57”
“Gorse Versus Fence”, 2’24”
Kate Carr’s work is centred on articulating the relationship between people and place through sound. Drawing on field recording, experimental composition and sonic mapping her work aims to examine the ways we shape and are shaped by the lived sonic realities of our natural and built worlds.
“Five Found Files” represents a confluence, of sorts, between two components that have persisted side-by-side in my artistic practice: writing compressed prose that has a tendency towards a certain blankness and recording sound in different environments, including recordings that are a happenstance or an afterthought. “Five Found Files” was exhibited as a poster in 2014 in the exhibition Writing Sound 2, curated by Daniela Cascella at Lydgalleriet, Bergen, Norway.
“Five Found Files”
7 October, 2002, 00.00.00 – 00.37.34
Rest In Peace, Jim McGrane. We came to work but the corridors were barricaded by metal-tubed chairs with pale veneer seats and backs; upended tables blocked doorways. Leaving the classrooms we headed towards the sounds of chanting. Bodies close enough for warmth, you with a scarf and a smile, making new friends and sharing old memories of other times on the streets with flags and whistles and the songs of several generations. The crowds parted around two men in boiler suits striking flares against the tarmac, burning streaks of black, reeking carbon and sudden red lights vivid aloft, billowing, crackling.
4 September 2004, 00.00.00 – 00.02.02.00
Through a ragged hedge and over a ditch, the sloping field. The chess piece church spire on the skyline, below which the sun had dropped just far enough for light to cast shadows in the stillness behind and to halo the mist from the farm sprinklers in front. A daughter’s laughter from the garden, the chugging sprinklers, the blackbird calling alarm from its roost, my nipples sticking clammy to the shirt, the miniature drumming of fine droplets on the fresh maize leaves and stalks, the bigger beads of water splashing down to clay-streaked puddles, the presence of circuits and cables.
9 April 2012, 00.08.080 – 00.17.423
The scuff of rubber sole on the driest soil; a cricket chirping at fixed intervals, faster to a single whine, falling to nothing; a human breath – my own – caught up in a wind straight down from the high mountains that pops on arrival like an ear in a landing plane. Camera shutter click. A bluebottle busies its way through a circle and leaves. A metal rhythm, its beat given in three – the third shadowed by a softer repeat – withheld and then released. Slow scratches of tightening and twisting, still metal. Perhaps a dog at the edge of things.
30 January 2007, 00.02.03 – 00.03.04
Can a hayayah k’wy yon, nuh? A la layo yeh ma way o sent me ma la gwa; da way layos a new wa. Ahha! Wu hayo hango dayo tan. A dabba dan u dabba do. Uderat, see may o ditta cabloos, on dey ga. An caboo. A la la la e why e why e waddata e wa. Gon ya gon, ya, gon ya. Gon ye cow cow eye wing ya. Bau. Goresh an a; e wa areddeen o raydeen a. Ay yay yay a a aa imma wa. ay. Oh noy coadji la. Bin jun maddy dor gey.
29 November 2006, 00.00.00 – 00.04.37
Hangover, sour, sulphur, ache, bulge, clasp, shutter, rasp, wooden, widen, croak, grain, gape, belt, hairs, shiver, rinse, scrub, bristle, cheep, hollow, splay, split, spit, shame, gums, circle, tighten, tear, tap, tube, stair, squeak, squirt, tinkle, rumble, dribble, chug, rub, caw, drain, metal, grind, rough, raw, hem, pot, pop, pat, pad, throat, totem, turn, ajar, Autumn, mat, bare, twist, tilt, lift, crinkle, glass, scrape, shelf, scratch, breathe, bleed, rinse, whisk, clink, sniff, seep, enamel, chain, bubble, pace, fade, foam, peter, wrap, knock, chirp, push, place, recede, open, bump, balance, brush, shuffle, leaves, wade, red, gold, lake, evening, forest, stillness, mountain, moon.
Angus Carlyle is a researcher at CRiSAP at the University of the Arts, London, where he is Professor of Sound and Landscape. He edited the book Autumn Leaves (2007), co-edited On Listening (2013), co-wrote In The Field (2013) and authored A Downland Index (2016), an exercise in nature writing on the move. His art works have included 51° 32 ‘ 6.954” N / 0° 00 ‘ 47.0808” W (2008), Noli Me Tangere (2009), Some Memories of Bamboo (2009) and Air Pressure (2011 – 2013), a collaboration with anthropologist Rupert Cox. His new project with Cox, Zawawa (2015 – ) extends Carlyle’s fascination with the heard world of people and place, memory and presence. www.anguscarlyle.com