Sunday | 12.08.12 | 15:00 | Free
A concert of field-recordings, found voices, dissolving ammonites and CO2.
Performed live as part of the We Are Collective festival at:
Chapel Arts Studios, Andover, Hampshire, UK
Although in my earlier days, performance art (also known latterly, as Live Art) was my main form of communication with the outside world, more recently, reclusive tendencies have conspired to isolate me from direct, immediate contact with a living audience. I have withdrawn to the acousmatic anonymity of ‘recorded space’, the obscured spatial and temporal flux of radio, and the intimate originality of the sounding object.
As much of my work is concerned with time, place and remembering, such a retreat into recorded places might seem appropriate, but it is also contradictory.
Sound is essentially temporal, emerging moment-by-moment, and insistently coloured by the present site of audition. Memory itself should not be considered a fixed recording of past experience. As the excellent writing of Oliver Sacks, Israel Rosenfield and A. R. Luria suggest, memories are anything but permanent or fixed, and remembering is an active process where past and present coalesce.
‘We understand the present through the past, an understanding that revises, alters and reworks the very nature of the past in an ongoing, dynamic process.’
Israel Rosenfield, The Strange, Familiar and Forgotten
Working with field-recording, sound objects, found tapes and discarded voices, would therefore seem problematic in relation to the essential ‘temporal presencing’ of sound and the dynamic process of remembering. Certainly the live performance of recorded sound would seem at least incongruous if not oxymoronic.
The sounds I collect (and by that I primarily mean, the sounds I record) seem to emphasise not only their belonging to a particular location and time, but also their displacement from it. And it is perhaps the inherent loss and absence of such spatial and temporal disruption, that allows the dynamics of sound and remembering to emerge: producing an original, live dialogue between the moment present and past.
It is this originality of the sonic moment that seems to be essential to the live performance of sound. Such originality welcomes indeterminate elements that are open to the unexpected, allowing sounds ‘to be themselves’ (Cage). Does it not also require some form of loss; that something should now be missing from the present? Towards this end and in preparation for the concert, I purchased a pre-historic fossil: an Ammonite that once lived in the now deceased Jurassic seas covering Somerset. As one element of the live soundscape, these remains of a life now extinct, shall be heard escaping substance: a chemical evaporation from presence, an audible disappearance into silent air.
That this disappearance should take place beneath the canopy of Chapel Arts Studios seems totally appropriate, the live soundscape, dispersing and dissolving amongst the cemetery of hush which surrounds it.