When asked by the Outposted Project to respond to the OS map for Brighton and Hove, there was only one place this invitation would take me: my favourite dew pond on the ridge of the South Downs near Ditchling Beacon. I carried some microphones and a camera the five miles from my home to a relative sheltered spot between some gorse bushes in what was one of the windiest days of the year. Originally, I thought I would just record the sound and make an ambient portrait of the hawthorn and the pool of water with its reflection, but things took a different shape: deciding first to write a text and then finding that the process of writing and listening back took me very far away from the runners and dog walkers on the Downs. You can read the text and watch the short film here.
Really pleased to have worked with Makina Books on the publication of "Night Blooms," a combination of photographs of wood and wayside flowers caught in the glare of my head torch and short texts about nocturnal wanderings in the two local woodland. The editing and sequencing of the photographs was in collaboration with Robin Silas Christian and the design was by Patrick Fisher at Frontwards Design. Some of the photographs can be seen here and some of the texts here at Hotel. The publication date was back in May but I forgot to post the news ...
A couple of live readings. One was for Reveil - the 24 hour broadcast organised by Soundcamp - and involved me giving an audio commentary while running before reading a section of "Night Blooms" that had originally been written in place where I was retracing my steps (an area of scrub- and woodland close to my home). The other was the launch event for "Night Blooms," this time a more sedentary affair on Instagram Live where I read other sections from the book as dusk crows settled to roost above me.
Uncharacteristic of me to respond to something unfolding in the historical present like the COVID pandemic and the responses to it but I found myself: using my phone to record the fluttering of security tape in a supermarket car park repurposed as a distant queuing area; hanging microphones out of the first floor window for the first and last NHS Claps in my suburban street; holding an induction coil against a Playstation 4 to document the shifts in electro-magnetic flux as I booted up a game to play (gaming being a surprise activity I found myself turning to in Lockdown). Three of these were on Kate Carr's Interiorities show on RTM radio (episodes 1, 3 and 8), one was on the Parallel State podcast and one on Gabriele de Seta's Noise Reduction, a "multi-sited field study". I also submitted a potential contribution to Drew Daniel's crowd-sourced "Quarantine Supercut" but this wasn't used (!).
Fun - if slightly nerve-wracking - to be involved in one the reading sessions for Irene Revell and Anna Barham's A Year With Stein project.
On New Year’s Eve of 1974/5 Stein’s 925 page novel was read aloud in a ‘marathon’ 48-hour reading at Artists Space in New York, organised by Alison Knowles, Annea Lockwood, Ruth Anderson and Jean Rigg, starting a tradition that has continued into the present. After a ‘mini-marathon’ in London last Summer as part of Longplayer Day we proposed to slow down the format and are committing to read the book over the whole of 2020, in 4-hour chunks roughly every four weeks on a weekend afternoon.
Three poems and four photographs from the forthcoming Makina Books publication "Night Blooms" published in Hotel, "a magazine for new approaches to fiction, non fiction & poetry ... which provides the space for experimental reflection on literature’s status as art & cultural mediator". More here.
Chairing a Q&A at Tyneside Cinema on February 13th, 2020 with Siân Hutchings who led a performance to introduce her new film 'Quietly Beneath.'
Photographs: Adam Pugh
"Dew Pond #1" was a talk and listening session that was part of "Acoustic Ecologies: Hildegard Westerkamp and Environmental Listening" at the Attenborough Centre of Sussex University on January 31st, 2020. The sheets of paper I am holding in the first image and the participants have in subsequent photographs were letter-pressed by Alex Cooper and used to respond to the listening environment of the dew pond, marked with chalk to create soundmaps, scores, listening diaries.
Photographs: Tunde Alabi-Hundeyin
Dusk brings a shift of the senses, a change to how the world is known. A similar recalibration can happen when we choose to settle down somewhere and map what our perceptions find there.
Pictures of Alex Cooper's letter-pressed Dew Pond sheets and examples of what participants did with them.
Screening of Rupert Cox, Kozo Hiramatsu and my film, Zawawa at the Salon for Alternative Social Science Strategies at Museum of European and Mediterranean Civilisations (Mucem), January 10th, 2020.
Durant le bombardement d’Okinawa, en 1945, les habitants ont cherché refuge dans les grottes et les champs de canne à sucre. Ils ont forgé des souvenirs qui habitent aujourd’hui les sons de ces lieux. Un paysagiste, un acousticien et un anthropologue ont travaillé ensemble pendant dix ans pour écouter, enregistrer ces sons et leur donner sens, à travers les récits d’individus qui expriment, comme tant d’autres à Okinawa, l’expérience d’une vie suspendue entre les guerres américaines, le passé, le présent et le futur.
"Atom Place The Site" is a constrained text for "Atomic", the third edition of Im-Pressed, designed and edited by Tim Hutchinson Design and Alex Cooper. The text takes 63 words from Aristotle's expression of an 'atomist' position he attributes to Leucippus and Democritus and subjects it to a series of manipulations. The following explanation comes from the text's preamble:
"my first constraint involved reconstructing an orthodox timeline of atomic science, then expanding it beyond Leucippus and Democritus and the more modern usual suspects to include contributions from sub-Saharan African, from Maghrebi and Vedic thought. Each node on the timeline was associated with the most proximate written language (Marathi for Sanskrit, for example) and Aristotle’s rebuff was then translated into that language through an automatic translation engine and then back again to impromptu English. This process proceeded in twelve steps from the most recent script to the most ancient, the meaning of subsequent transpositions of the original mutating ever unpredictably. With each iteration, a second constraint came into operation, this time determining the erasure of a single word from the resulting text, emulating Democritus’ parable of the stone cut once, then cut again, smaller and smaller and smaller, as much as it does the radioactive decay of the half-life (albeit without a strictly exponential quasi trajectory). A third (soft) constraint governed the grammaticality of the transformed texts; a fourth and a fifth constraint (and potentially a sixth) remain undisclosed, once more'."