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.
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.