With Mark Peter Wright, I presented our "Decoys" project as part of CRiSAP's contribution to the "Into The Wild" event. It was great to revisit this work and get a sense that there is so much more still to explore. I'd completely forgotten this description of the project that captures succinctly what we were excited by:
We wanted to create a work that would somehow propel the immediate and futurological aspects of life on a damaged planet. There is a sense of environmental toxicity, debris, heat and movements of the human or more-than-human.
A track played on Luke Fowler's "Everything Is Permissible" show on Clyde Built Radio. Listen back here. The track was a recording of plastic bags drying on a washing line, a sound I'd come to associate with lockdown heard in a place I'd come to associate with lockdown, our back yard. Different COVID-related sounds mentioned in a post from last year.
"Everything Looks Different in the Dark" is a pretty amazing review by Anneka French of Fleur Olby's "Velvet Black" and my "Night Blooms" from a recent issue of Photomonitor. I've loved "Photomonitor" for the ten years of so since I first came across it so this is a real treat.
Fleur Olby’s ‘Velvet Black’ (2018) and Angus Carlyle’s ‘Night Blooms’ (2020) contain photographs of flowers and other natural phenomena in darkness. The two small publications share mutual interests in the beauty and escapism that nature often provides, something that is especially critical at times of crisis. Indeed, Camden Art Centre’s current high-profile online exhibition ‘The Botanical Mind’ and recent articles in Apollo and Elephant magazines have highlighted this need, offering screen-based botanical experiences from home. ‘Night Blooms’ and ‘Velvet Black’ draw out other facets of this relationship with nature, one that is complicated as we continue to interfere, ever struggling to get to grips with nature’s rhythms and its chaos. Explored explicitly in Carlyle’s book through photographs taken in fleeting snatches on solitary runs, this relationship is more subtly alluded to in Olby’s via staged floral still-lives.
My chapter "Dropping Down Low: Online Soundmaps, Critique, Genealogies, Alternatives" has been published in the Bloomsbury Handbook of Sonic Methodologies, edited by Michael Bull and Marcel Cobussen. Here are the concluding paragraphs:
Less homogenous is the genealogy of the soundmap, a family history in which scientific culture’s noise maps and audiospectrograms form one branch, textual ear witnessing another, diverse diagrammatic innovations a third, and the various alternative approaches a fourth. The three alternative approaches I provided could each have been deepened to draw in more exemplars, just as they could have been broadened to incorporate other cartophonic categories: the transmission works of Dawn Scarfe or Jiyeon Kim suggest the possibility of a live soundmap, the reverberation of interior or external spaces in projects by artists as different as Viv Corringham and Davide Tidoni imply a performative soundmap, and a potential classification of storied soundmaps arises out of the separate creative research endeavours of Isobel Anderson and Ultra-Red.
A while ago, I was interviewed for the "Listening Across Disciplines II" project that is funded by the AHRC and has Dr. Salomé Voegelin, Professor of Sound (UAL) as its the principal investigator and Dr. Anna Barney, Professor in Biomedical Acoustic Engineering (University of Southampton) as a co-investigator. The interview was conducted by Mark Peter Wright and edited with other interviewees, Syma Tariq, Matt Parker and Ximena Alarcon. The interview took place in a challenging acoustic environment and, as with the "Uncanny Landscapes" podcast, this seemed to connect to what was being discussed. I spent a while talking about what was for a long time my favourite recording "NR_CROW.aiff."
It was very enjoyable to be interviewed by Justin Hopper for the "Uncanny Landscapes" podcast. I was mainly talking about the trilogy of books that relate to my on foot explorations of the local area: A Downland Index, Night Blooms and the forthcoming Mirrors. The technical glitches ghosting our Skype conversation seemed to add their own voice to the themes of health, marking life through technology, and the intimacies of distance / the remoteness of the near. The podcast is available on a number of platforms, including podbean, which you can listen to here.
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 (!).