"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.
Japanese broadcaster NHK World screened an English-language version of their earlier Japanese-langauge documentary about Rupert Cox's and my collaborative film, "Zawawa." Quite a few excerpts of sound and image from our film were shown alongside some interviews with Rupert and some shots of Okinawans watching the film on its première tour around island community centres. The image below shows our collaborator Professor Kozo Hiramatsu interviewing audiences for their responses to the film.
The 6th edition of the Helicotrema Festival was held in November Venice. CRiSAP were asked to curate a playlist, to which I contributed a text piece that was originally exhibited as part of Daniela Cascella's "Sound Writing 2."
I was also invited to sumbit an additional work for the Festival, having my work played back in dedicated listening sessions alongside some incredible artists.
The sounds that comprise Marshland (Helicotrema Mix) were all recorded on the Dengie Peninsula, an area of tidal mud-flats and salt marshes that lies between the estuaries of the rivers Blackwater and Crouch. Microphones were submerged beneath the rising tide, held above retreating waves, wedged into a decaying wooden watch-tower buffeted by strong winds and lowered through the gun slits of a pill-box, where nesting swifts called to fledglings and flew in and out the Second World War concrete structure’s openings. Though left raw and unprocessed, the sounds have been layered in a series of movements between interiors and exteriors, between what passes over and what happens underneath. This Essex coast once formed part of what archaeologists have named ‘Doggerland,’ a mesolithic land bridge which joined Britain to continental Europe, and the recordings were made during fieldwork for a film project with Chiara Caterina in the weeks before the UK population voted on the referendum to leave the European Union.
Two readings from A Downland Index, one at the literary cabaret Speaky Spokey in Brighton and one at the Photographers' Gallery in London, there to support the launch of Justin Hopper's book The Old Weird Albion.
The HPNoSS (Hospital Project on Noise, Sound and Sleep) is collaborative project that aims to provide a holistic understanding of sound in the hospital environment and the intimate relationship of noise to sleep, rest, treatment and recovery. The project ran from April to September 2017 and more details are avaiable here; a short video was produced to encapsulate some of our work, including a workshop designed to test a number of noise reduction strategies in a simulated hospital environment.
"Radio Not" is a short (1000 words) text that functions as the introduction to Alana Pagnutti's Reception: The Radio-Works of Robert Rauschenberg and John Cage.
The introduction takes a broad account of the kinds of practices John Cage adopted in his engagements with radio (whether as medium, as device or as critical problematic to be approached in the same way a Palaeolithic person might depict a mammoth on a cave wall to ward off its evil). Cage's more conventional radio works are related to the programmes he produced for a local station as a teenager; several works by and on Cage are addressed as are Marshall McLuhan and Jean Baudrillard (rarely referenced with respect to Cage).
The introduction deploys a number of textual strategies to govern its production. These strategies are not revealed to the reader. Some relate to 'constraints' on writing that Cage himself used - such as mesostics - others function differently, controlling, for example, the number of words in a paragraph, the number of letters in each word in a paragraph, the sequence of words of different lengths.
In her endorsement of the book, the executive director of the John Cage Trust (and editor of "Selected Letters of John Cage") described my text as "a gift" and, elsewhere, the John Cage trust called the text "beautiful".
The book was launched at London's Cafe Oto on July 10th, 2017, where alongside the UK premiere of John Cage's "Water Walk" (1959), I gave a talk.
"In Bocca Al Lupo", is another perspective on my project "In The Shadow of the Silent Mountain:" a new text from a trip to the summit of Monte Cervialto in 2016, writing from the album booklet describing a journey to the peak of Monte Polveracchio in 2014, and a rendition of a 2013 account of a wintery walk on Monte Accelica. This rendition 'musicalises' the rivers, snow and wolf prints by turning an audio recording into a score and the text into a lyric."In Bocca Al Lupo" was published by The Learned Pig as part of their Wolf Crossing editorial season.