At the end of 2011 I was selected for Escalator East to Edinburgh and Escalator Performing Arts. I now have the support of Arts Council England, and need to get on with it.
I’m taking two works to Edinburgh Festival Fringe, and developing a third performance over the course of a year.
I will not get distracted by other ‘opportunities’. I will make better work if I concentrate.
I’ve modified my Grants for the Arts project so that it includes a final presentation of Hear a Pin Drop Here, rather than of An Audio Guide to Varo’s Harmony. Whilst I still intend to pursue the latter I’ve found that stage-based work is less relevant to my practice than site-based (although anyone could have told you that), and frankly, I much prefer walking. Today I have walked five and half miles in the first stage of my pin dropping at Battersea Arts Centre: http://hearapindrophere.com/2013/06/03/battersea-d…
Many of the techniques I used in the Harmony performances (you know, learning lines etc) have been useful in other work over the last few months, so in that respect it has been quite useful to keep the work at a ‘work-in-progress’ stage. It might end up as something radically different, like a vinyl pressing of the finished sounds. We’ll see. For now, I am grateful to ACE for allowing me to modify the last bit of my project, and am looking forward to developing the pin dropping into a guided tour on Friday…
In an interesting twist, the two works I took to Edinburgh (One Minute Birdwatching and Hear a Pin Drop Here) have been programmed by Forest Fringe for an event in Japan. http://www.britishcouncil.org/japan-arts-forest-fr… The theme for the TPAM event is ‘Playing with Cities’, which suits the work perfectly. As both pieces are instruction-based, I’ve been acutely aware of the need for translation, and so in addition to having a live translator for my spoken pieces I will also have a pictorial instruction sheet about how to listen for pins dropping! It’s turned out like a mad IKEA self-assembly sheet. Perfect.
So ‘Harmony’ has been a little quiet recently, in preparation for the Japan trip, but it is still bubbling away. I keep seeing lovely things which I’d like to include such as Leafcutter John’s crystal-growing experiments: http://leafcutterjohn.com/?p=1518
In the meantime, I know I said I wouldn’t get distracted with other projects, but I have devised a new performance for The Minories in Colchester, which is at 8pm Friday 1st February. It’s about whalesong and space travel!
On Saturday I performed a short extract from An Audio Guide to Varo’s Harmony. This was presented at a networking event for artists in the Eastern region working with live art, and took place in the studio theatre space at The Junction, Cambridge. It was a great opportunity, as it made me select just five out of a potential eleven objects to talk about, and to simplify the format for a low-tech get-in. And actually, I think it has improved the piece. I had previously presented all of the sounds in a final pre-recorded composition at the end of the piece, which was going to become a live-looping section in later performances, but now I have performed it as a live series of noises in quick succession I think that might make more sense. It also has the potential for more audience participation (volunteers taking on specific assigned noises), which was what I had originally intended. Funny how it takes a few months to work out all these possibilities…
Junction performance of An Audio Guide to Varo’s Harmony (extract)
Well, it’s been a while. Obviously I went to Edinburgh in the meantime, and had a blast. I did actually write quite a lot about it on my other blogs http://www.oneminutebirdwatching.com and http://www.hearapindrophere.com as I went along, and I have also contributed a post (about incorporating chance into my work) to The Peripatetic Studio, which is a blog by Viccy Adams and Samantha Silver and is “dedicated to the spaces we work in and how they impact on the creative work we produce”.
It was great to be asked to write about a specific aspect of my work so soon after Edinburgh, because it helps with the withdrawal! It was wonderful being a full-time artist for just over a week: days were full of performance and research, and nights were full of video and sound editing in the flat. I had said in my GFTA application that I wanted to treat Edinburgh as a residency, and that is what it felt like.
So, onwards. I now need to perform ‘An Audio Guide to Varo’s Harmony’ twice more before March, according to my proposal, and thankfully I have just been invited to perform an extract this Saturday at The Junction in Cambridge, as part of the Mad Artists Tea Party. It’s a great opportunity to try out an idea I’ve had for the structure. I want the final “this is what all the objects sound like altogether” bit to be created live, rather than as a pre-recorded composition, and so I am going to try out a section in that style on Saturday. Fingers crossed…
Quick update before I head off to Edinburgh tomorrow:
My Norwich Arts Centre performance of ‘An Audio Guide to Varo’s Harmony’ is now online in full, alongside a short showreel version of the PULSE performance.
I was MUCH happier with the NAC version as I’d done some serious editing, and added a chalkboard and audience participation. A roomful of people playing blades of grass is a wonderful sound!
I’m almost ready to head up to Edinburgh now with my pieces ‘One Minute Birdwatching’ and ‘Hear a Pin Drop Here’.
I’ve been told that BBC Radio Scotland would like to record a preview version of ‘One Minute Birdwatching’ for broadcast on Saturday, which is very exciting! Sound art on the radio. Perfect.
I’m going to be researching and actually producing the content for ‘Hear a Pin Drop Here’ whilst I’m in Edinburgh, which is a little nerve-wracking but is the only way it can be done. It is a study of the sound of the city during the festival, and so couldn’t be done at any other point. If I don’t add any more to this blog over the next week then you’ll know why: I’ll be frantically editing video footage at every opportunity. I will manage to send updates through Twitter: 140 characters won’t take long. If you are interested, please follow me @holly_rumble.