"Before Eternal Silence" was a text commissioned for the LP version of Jani Ruscica's work "Felt The Moonlight on my Feet." In the work, a "tap dancer is presented with poetry chosen by Ruscica for reasons including their political and social censorship during the course of their existence. Each poem has been translated into Morse Code, itself further translated and interpreted by the tap dancer into a dance piece". Inspired by the ambitions behind Ruscica's work and by my previous research into sonic codes, the resulting text involves the most complicated (and least legible) constraints that I've used.
Above is the cover for a cassette tape which I had held onto since January 28th, 1996. The cassette contained a track in lieu of a paper for the Haçienda Must Be Rebuilt conference held at Manchester's nightclub, The Haçienda (RIP). The track, "Swarmachines" was attributed to "switch/***collapse/CCRU" and featured my voice, alongside those of Sadie Plant, Mark Fisher and Nick Land. Urbanomic digitised and posted the audio track, the text for which had appeared in Abstract Culture, later in nomadsland (and I believe it was translated into Serbo-Croat, though can find no evidence of this). It was republished in #Accelerate: The Accelerationist Reader, being mentioned in the 2017 Guardian review of accelerationism. The CCRU connections seems to be stirring at the moment with me being asked questions about this period by Simon Hammond for his excellent article in the New Left Review about Mark Fisher.
September 12th, 2019: at Cafe OTO for "Animal Sounds" - part of their Music and Other Living Creatures Programme, a performance-lecture that dug back to the 90s to find those points where I'd written of encounters with the more-than-human.
March 21st, 2019: at Felix Art Museum, Brussels, talking about "Concealing and Revealing The Field," Igloo White, sound as camouflage, masking, etc.
January 24th, 2019: at Iklectik for launch of Salomé Voegelin's The Political Possibility of Sound, another performance-lecture, this time mining my archive for "Thirty Years of Height," finding those moments across three decades where I'd found myself with new friends at different points above ground.
The fourth manifestation of A Crossing Bell took place at the Antwerp Art Weekend in May. A selection of bells bought from flea markets in exchanges with recent residents to various cities in Europe (Paris, Chania, Brighton, Bruxelles, Lisboa) were made available to gallery goers to ring and offer a prayer of safe passage. The struck bells were recorded. Also exhibiting in the show curated by Sam Watson were Jani Ruscica (FI) and Christian Jendreiko (DE).
Two workshops: the first with Alice Eldridge at the University of Oulu, organised around field recording, sound mapping, sound walking and sound writing; the second, with Sasha Englemann and Mark Peter Wright, was our 'field' contribution to a TECHNE: Conflux programme that involved seminars and workshops during the year and culminated in a summer school in Bude, Cornwall.
After the original A Crossing Bell at the Estuary Festival in 2016 and a later iteration at the "What Has To Be Done" exhibition for the Beijing Today Art Museum in 2017, another adaptation of the project was developed as a contribution to one aspect of Tomoko Hojo's "Unfinished Descriptions" exhibition at the Hundred Years Gallery. Tomoko invited scores to respond to the undocumented material catalogued under "O14" for Yoko Ono's 1966 show at Indica. I thought a gentle version of "A Crossing Bell" could work here, shown in first two images with some shots of Tomoko's own work for context.
"THINGS" is a show produced by Tamara Projects which involves writers and artists responding to an object chosen for them by the curators; their response has to be formatted in the style of an eBay listing, conforming to that site's rules but otherwise open to approach. I chose to connect my object, an oil lamp, to my ongoing research into Krakatoa through an overwrought and hand-wringing account of a writer's rejections:
To hear Dalby’s voice on that winter’s London afternoon, to be lured into his tale, raised the hairs on the back of my neck, setting off a shiver that has only just subsided nine months later, sending me on a trail to discover more about Krakatoa, to understand the eruption not from today’s remote vantage but through a lens fashioned nearer his own time, hence the props: this lamp to light the books that piled the desk in the garden shed, the tight blue jacket with its missing button and rough material that rubbed a rash into my neck, the coils of rope on which I rested my feet, the tin of coal tar creosote I would open to suffuse the shed with scent, the music hall songs and shanties I played at first, later substituted by a sound effects score I composed to honour the sonority of Dalby’s memories, to honour the “weird groans and whistles …the loud rumblings [that] got louder, they seemed all round us, the gusts increased to such a hurricane as no man aboard had ever experienced … the winds seemed a solid mass, pushing everything before it and roaring like a huge steam engine, shrieking through the rigging like demons in torment.”
"Orang Alijeh / Mountain Ghost" is part of a developing project relating to the eruption of Krakatoa. Part of the "Velocity" installation, curated by Alex Cooper and Tim Hutchinson at "Everything Happens So Much" at London College of Communication, my contribution comprised an essay, Morse code flags and posters designed in response to the essay by Alex and Tim. More information.
A round-up of some recent talks.
"The Near and The Far" at YARMONICS, St. Georges Theatre, Yarmouth, 21st of September. More information.
"The Ecology of Sound" at Bold Tendencies, Peckham, part of "The Dominant Eye," 20th of September, organized by Sian Hutchings and Noematic Collective. More information. Dedicated Journal of Sonic Studies site dedicated to project, including interview with me and documentation of various works.
"Zawawa: Sounds of Wind in the Sugar Cane," (with Rupert Cox and Kozo Hiramatsu), Socio-Sonic Symposium, City University, 14th of September.
"The Nature of Sound", Ace Hotel, London, with Dr. Simon Jones and Antoine Bertin, organized by super/collider, 29th of August. More information.
"The Sounds of Wind in the Sugar Cane, The Angry Roars and Sobs of the Dead: Representing Okinawan War Memories" (with Rupert Cox) at "Why Remember? Remains, Ruins, Reconstructions", Sarajevo, 27th - 30th of June. More information.
"Hear Lightning and Thunder" at LOMA (Large Objects Moving Air) conference at London College of Communication, 8th of January. More information.
“Decoys” is a two track vinyl album that began as a collaboration with Mark Peter Wright. Having spent time researching different foley techniques used in the history of film sound, we adapted a repertoire of our own, shifting from the usual kind of pastoral / wilderness scene where foley is recruited to add punctual detail and acoustic atmosphere to conceive a wastescape instead. As we were recording and then as we were arranging the recorded material, we constructed an oblique score, which was then interpreted by musicians Claudia Molitor, Tullis Rennie and Alison Blunt. At that point they had not heard our version, nor did they know our toxic ecology thematic. Their response to the score forms the second part of the album.
The album will be released - with the score - on Multimodal in the Autumn, the first release from this new label.