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It's just where I put my words: sebastiane hegarty

It’s just where, I put my words: a voice remembered
BBC Radio 3  /  Between the Ears / Saturday 15th June at 21:45

Link: BBC Radio 3 / Between the Ears

I have just completed a short sound piece for the BBC Radio 3 series, Between the Ears.  The sound work takes the form of an audio memoir or perhaps reverie, based on recordings of my mother’s voice, which I have been making for over forty years. My mother died in April 2011, and listening back to these intimate fragments of her speaking reminded me of Roland Barthes’ book Camera Lucida, in which the author sits alone in his deceased mothers flat, sorting through her photographic remains.
The Camera Lucida ( light room) to which the title refers, is an optical device that allows artists to view simultaneously their subject and the surface of depiction, thereby enabling the creation of a highly accurate image. But such accuracy may still lack the essence of the subject. As Barthes sorted through the images he finds only a fragmented ‘likeness’, he writes: ‘I missed her being, and therefore I missed her altogether’. He continues: ‘If I were to show them to friends I could doubt that these photographs would speak’.
Listening to my mother’s voice, there is a likeness and accuracy to its reproduction. But there is something more, something vital, which lies beyond the fidelity of tone and the familiarity of the story told. When Barthes  appeals to the audible qualities of language in order to identify that which was essentially lacking in his mothers image, he tacitly recognises the vital qualities of voice and utterance.
In this new sound piece for radio, I take a journey with my mother’s voice, listening for her in the recordings we made and the sound works I composed, reflecting  upon the act of recording and our relationship with memory and loss.

I would like to thank to Chris Ledgard, who produced the show in Bristol and who sensitively and eloquently edited my ‘script’; studio manager Mike Burgess for his erudite attention to detail, and Duncan Miller for the transcription of my mother’s voice to wax cylinder.

it's just where I put my words (close up): sebastiane hegarty

mam and dad: a black diamond on the sleeve“…and he thought a kiss would make up”

ammonite: sebastiane hegarty

fossil solution: sebastiane hegarty

ˈtʃɔːk: eight studies of hearing loss
very quiet records | VQR 007 | Cdr & digital download

I am delighted to announce that a collection of my chalk dissolves has been released on the most appropriately named, Very Quiet Records. Available as a digital download and limited edition CDr, the discreet chemistry of the cretaceous recordings forms the seventh release by the independent label, dedicated to sonic detail and focused listening. Curated, designed and produced by sound artist Tony Whitehead, the labels impressive roster of artists includes: Frédéric Nogray, Atilio Doreste and Mecha/Orga.

Cliff fall at Lyme Regis: Sarah Craske

ammonite two: sebastiane hegartyThe release is titled ˈtʃɔːk: eight studies of hearing loss, and I am particularly drawn to the limited edition CDr as a method of bringing substance back to the ethereal sounds evoked: a physical shell for the disembodied noise of shell loss. My interest in this dialogue between something and nothing is apparent in the written notes that accompany the CDr:

In the series of eight sound studies, I lend my own shell like to the fossil remains of deceased seas. The Cretaceous samples employed include: Chalk taken from the bed of the River Itchen and from a recent cliff fall in Lyme Regis (kindly donated by Sarah Craske); fossilised ammonites that once swam in those lost oceans and fragments of dinosaur eggs from nestings in France and Argentina (fragments which are now geographically distant, but were once tectonically close). These studies offer a sympathetic drift of attention away from chemistry and toward the extinction of substance and the audibility of loss.
In a number of the studies such loss is augmented, by allowing the sample to continue dissolving until it is fully exhausted, until the final breath of substance has been taken. The sound does not extinguish by volume but by frequency, there is no gradual fade down into silence, but rather an acoustic and percussive crumbling of something into nothing.
Unlike the invisible microscopic algae that make up the substance of chalk, a fossilized ammonite presents a visually recognisable creature, a prehistoric form that once lived, but which geology buried away from time and preserved from disappearance. Dissolving these fossils seems like an act of vandalism, a destruction of history, an abolition of the past. But it also offers a temporal resurrection, a reanimation of the past into the present. Exhumed from permanence the past is allowed to dissolve and we can hear the immanence of nothing in everything, we can listen to the loss of substance occurring and the movement of solid matter into thin and ‘audible air’.

very quiet records: Tony Whitehead

very quiet records: Tony Whitehead

ˈtʃɔːk: eight studies of hearing loss is available now as a limited edition CDr and download from:
 very quiet records

With thanks to: Dr Simon ParkSarah Craske and Tony Whitehead.

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