Archives for category: sonic art

RDD

As an offsite component of the Ulster University MFA Show 2016, I performed a series of 45 minute electronic drum and loop station performances alongside a sculptural installation. These took place in the downstairs hall of Redeemer Central Church, an atmospheric and austere space close to the Art School.

I made black sheet screens for the windows to subdue the light. The space was divided by a large black curtain. Drum sounds were played, looped and layered and relayed through a Marshall amplifier.

The black sculpture was a significant presence in the room, intensified by successive layers of drumming.

Marshall Amplifier and Curtain, Redeemer Central Church, 2016.

 

hall.jpg

 

Interlock1

I painted this wall piece for our second year MFA interim group show in Catalyst Arts gallery last week. The exhibition ran from the evening of Thursday the seventh of January to Saturday the ninth. The wall was repainted white on Sunday. The piece is composed of the ‘double E’ shape I have been using recently repeated in an interlocking pattern. One side is the colour inversion of the other side.

I performed a sonic art piece on the night, where I played live drums along to pre-recorded simple drum patterns. These had been recorded with a metronome and increased in speed by ten beats per minute with each pattern. Each of the nine sections was exactly one minute long.

I limited drums used in both recording and performance to bass drum, hi-hat and snare drum. This minimal approach was in keeping with the minimal palette used on the wall. I wrote a set of rules that loosely governed what I would play for each section:

1, 80BPM Bass drum/stick clicks

2, 90 BPM Bass drum/snare rims

3, 100 BPM Bass drum/hi-hats

4, 110BPM Bass drum/snare (snare off)/hi-hat accents

5, 120BPM Bass drum/snare (snare on)/ hi-hat 16th notes

6, 130 BPM Bass drum/snare/hi-hat/snare rims

7, 140BPM Bass drum/snare (ghost notes)/hi-hat

8,150 BPM Bass drum/snare (note every whole beat)/hi-hat

9, 160 BPM Bass drum/snare/hi hat.

Here is a video clip of the last 3 sections of the performance. It goes out of time with what is played through the amp towards the end. I like the intense, polyrhythmic feel this creates.

The bass drum in front of the work: I tried documenting the piece in various configurations.

intermission 2

The piece with bass drum and amplifier.

intermission3

shape.jpg

I presented this painted black gloss shape on black matte wall at a recent studio critique. It was accompanied by this sound piece, played through a powerful stereo:

It was sufficiently loud that it caused objects within the room to vibrate.

The group discussion read the combination of sound and visuals as being oppressive and ominous, combining to create an atmosphere suggestive of religious cult rituals or sinister political gatherings.

It was felt that the work presented in this crit represents a departure from previous work. The black gloss symbol has nothing of the organic, gentle feel of the pencil drawings. It is extremely assertive and dogmatic; very oppositional and uncompromising in every way, to the point of feeling threatening. It suggests none of the time based creative process of the pencil drawing.

I am gradually assessing where I go from here. The shape is just an arrangement of painted lines, although I can understand why it was interpreted in these ways. I do feel that playing with sound and visuals with a certain charge and potency has potential, though I want to find ways to puncture the pomposity these signifiers carry, to promote recognition of their ultimate absurdity.

Spiral From 2

A recreation of an earlier work using black chalk on a white wall at Framewerk gallery in Belfast. This drawing was the basis of a ten minute sound piece exploring order and chaos which Ben Behzadafshar and I performed in the gallery. He played guitar and I drummed. It was part of the month long BASS sound art season in the gallery in June of this year.

The drawing obeyed the same governing rules as the original but the results are subtly different.

Spiral From 2 close

finished

1stblob

I cut out the traced blob indentation shape that keeps recurring in this work and projected it using this antiquated overhead projector; the reliable, clunky type I remember from school.

5blob

I moved the projector across the floor. The shadow shape was repeated at intervals across the wall five times.

layer blob

The projector was moved progressively closer to the wall, and the resultant shadows drawn around. This made these concentric blob shapes.

bloblayered

I continued to work using this process at at intervals until the day of our group critique, the predetermined finish point.

blobangle

The piece was accompanied by a fifty second tape recording I made by digitally slowing a ten second recording of me playing bass drum and hi-hat down. I shifted the pitch down and added a series of effects using a program called Wavepad sound editor. I chose analogue audio tape because of its warm hiss, it’s imperfection. The piece was interpreted as the sound of marching boots, or of an industrial process involving heavy machinery.

Fellow students and teaching staff thought that the sound and the drawing seemed to coalesce to a greater extent than before.

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