Making the mind map was extremely helpful and during the week I dissected one or two of the branches.
The Recording Event
Why is it important? what is it? what are the implications of my presence?
There is a connection between the artist and the “subject”. Something I am interested in, similar to the connection between the artist and the participant in the last piece through the listening event. By going on these adventures making recordings I am forming memories. These memories amplify the sense that I am collaging moments and atmospheres of different geographic places into one soundscape. The chronology of the recordings is reduced to the simultaneous when they are brought together to form one work. Time is condensed or warped or perhaps in it’s right place I don’t know.
The recording event is an interaction even if I am silent. The other option of recording is to get the subject to record themselves and send me the file. I have done this once with someone abroad and Bea has offered to do the same for me yet somehow I am resistant. My process, when instigating a recording, becomes about finding out how to pull from someone the speech/content I am after. However I have no specific content of interest. It is more the attitude or mindset of the speech, catching genuine glimpses of introspection/reflection/story telling. I want to collect the different perspectives seen from different vantage points. It is very hard for me to know what to say and often I say very little becomes I am more curious about what kind of tangent a person will take when given the opportunity then how they will answer a question.
The Role Of The Narrator
The narrator is subjective. We are all narrators and that is the basis of perspective and bias. It is also this perspective, the identification of self and the gaze, that creates the other. By defining the self and drawing its contours, separation occurs. In my last sound piece I was interested in writing out “standing at the wall” with “you” as the subject instead of “I”. I imagined it would put the listener in my experience which was actually the experience of being the voyeur of someone else’s experience which triggered a memory. The listener becomes the voyeur of a voyeur. We are all stories millions of stories with slight variations.
How can I manipulate/play with the role of the narrator and why? to what effect?
All the voices I have recorded thus far are my other. Mostly older male foreign accented voices. At first I was concerned by the overly masculine voice. However it does establish a sense of the other. If my voice were to be included this would polarize the voices between artist/self and other, creating a dynamic an interaction. Although this dynamic would reform between the participant viewer and the work as a whole, as even my voice becomes an other and the subject/narrator becomes the viewer.
If my voice is not included the “otherness” of the voices informs the idea of the negative image as a self portrait. the picture without the subject.. reminding me of Brain Eno’s “Music for Film” (hypothetical film). Music that is all context without action.
I have continued with the Transcript and typed up Steve’s recording which comes to 5,338 words. The document can be downloaded from the link below. It is interesting to see the difference between spoken and written word. The form and punctuation must be decided on next.
Polyphonic Transcript 2
In my theory tutorial John recommended I look up Goldsmith’s Seven American Deaths and Disasters when I mentioned my interest in Transcript. It is a piece where Goldsmith transcribes radio broadcasts of seven major deaths/disasters from John Lennon to the Twin Towers. In some of his other works Goldsmith transcribes all the words he says for a day and the weather report.
“But Mr. Goldsmith has also delivered a kind of found treasure of the American vernacular. His book is about the sounds our culture makes when the reassuring smooth jazz of much of our broadcast media breaks down, when disc jockeys and news anchors are forced to find words for events that are nearly impossible to describe. This book is about language under duress.” – The New York Times
I have been listening back to The River. I love the experience of sharing a piece with others after it’s been finished… the work takes on a whole new identity once it leaves the making process. I think it needs a little editing. I was thinking to exhibit it with Rhiannon’s group for the second year off cite show. would be good.
-the outro of Rob’s speech (lighter clips and other sounds). This part sounds constructed/forced needs a better flow
-the transition from Rob’s speech into my memory. This is the part where the automated voice and my voice do a little call and response repeating lines from the Transcript. This part is supposed to introduce my voice into the piece as well as connecting my story to the witnessed narrative; tying together the initial and ending sections of the piece. However I feel it is too long and confuses the flow of the piece as a whole
-last of all there needs to be a little more space in the final section of the sound piece. This will be difficult as there are many layers timed in a specific sequence. it will take some time to add the smallest amount of space that is needed.
I have edited my voice out of Abdi’s talk, a few loud noises, and the intro where he is waiting for me to roll my cigarette and begins to play the banjo. In total this takes off 8min, the length is now a total of 28min of talking. I have kept a few clips of Abdi playing the banjo. It is a song he usually plays on the guitar and a song I have heard him play constantly since I got back to England in August. It is characteristic of him.
I used the adaptive noise reduction to make the voice a little clearer. and I made a new preset for abode’s voice.
Yesterday before the lecture I made my way to Denmark St on the recommendation of one of my peers, Ryan.
It felt so natural to be playing a synth. I am used to improving on the piano.. I don’t play the piano in a trained way. I let my hands move and focus on the emotion and try to allow it to well up and surface. It would be incredibly exciting to start making ambient music. However I don’t think I can afford to buy one. perhaps I can beg ryan… again to let me borrow one of his. I would like to experiment using the synth with the voice recordings I’ve been making.
On Saturday I went to the exhibit John in Cage at the Chalton Gallery, a very small gallery. It was a lovely event and I enjoyed speaking to the curatorial students that put it on and to Richard Melkonian about his composition/sculptural work. I noticed that the scores of John Cage’s music on display had no key signature and change time signature every few bars. I also began to read Silence John Cage lectures and writings. my favourite quote “what is needed is irresponsibility”. I am also interested in how zen influences artists like John Cage and the east west identity.
There were unscheduled performances through out the evening. I noticed the organizers would go up to the old style radios on the gallery floor and retune them at seemingly random times. There was also a list of texts and a random number generator that would determine which text would be read by the participant audience. This was fun but I didn’t quite feel the significance of the chosen texts.
Richard installed hanging sculptures, made from mundane industrial objects, which could be played as instruments by gallery goers. During the performance/event he played drone sounds in the background a composition based off the chord created by the notes C A G E. Patrick then dumped across the gallery floor a scrunched up pieces of paper and invited the audience to pick up the pieces and follow the instructions. The instructions directed us to either read one of Cage’s texts out load, interact with the sculptures in a particular way, or make certain sounds.
I was very interested in speaking with Richard about composition and music. He is studying traditional classical composition but is moving towards the gallery space in an attempt to break from the prescribed audience and setting which music is “supposed” to be listened. It is interesting to see the borderlines of practice. I feel that my focus on sound thus far certainly borders music/music production and even interview at the moment.
It would be helpful if I could get a little lesson on music theory from him, as studying it on my own has not gotten very far. Bellow is one of Richard’s more traditional compositions.
He also recommended a very interesting piece which I will do more research in. Reminiscent of Karlheinz Stockausen’s Stimmung