From Lee: My first day back in Corris has been excellent. Veronica and I walked to the local adits (mining bore holes), which were drilled into the face of a local defunct slate quarry. The reverb inside was excellent and unlike that in any other tunnel that I have been in and I can’t wait until I am back there with a recorder.
Back at base I have been loading new software onto the studio computer and we have been talking about where Veronica wants to go with this project and what we need to get done in the coming days, the day concluded with a gong bath at the Corris institute so all in all a great start.
From Veronica: After a late night to meet the train, we woke to a slow start. Lee did some TaiChi and I went for a run. About 11am we came together to start work. So how do we get into the project? Where to start? With notebooks and pencils we skirted around what we wanted to do and achieve. The sun was shining outside (rare thing in North Wales) so I suggested a walk to the ‘Italian Village’ and the bore holes. The bore holes is an amazing area – it has a path curving around the side leading down to a shallow waterhole, at the moment filled with tadpoles. Surrounded by enormous quarried rocks, it is like a natural amphitheatre. We sat near the waterhole and pondered the life of tadpoles and then Lee climbed up to the boreholes. I sat on a rock soaking up the sunshine. Next thing I heard was the most amazing sounds as Lee explored the acoustics of the boreholes. Walking back down the hill we were suddenly fill of plans for the week. The ice has broken the project has begun.
I have spent the past week chasing up the equipment Lee has suggested we need to record sound in the studio and outdoors.
This is the list:
a digital recorder (with windshield for field recording if it has built in microphones) or a digital recorder and separate microphones (again with windshield / Rycote for field recording)
headphones for monitoring
A condenser mic (or similar) and stand for indoor recording
cables to connect microphones to recorder
cables to connect the above recorders to a computer
cables to connect the above to sound sources with a ‘line out’ capability
I have no idea what most of this stuff does – but am sure I will by the end of the week. I will be fluent in sound equipment!
To acquire the equipment for the week I had to fill out a risk assessment form for the School of Art – seven pages of questions that responded to things like ‘Describe who may be affected by the hazard, how an accident may occur and what kind of injury they might suffer.’ I’m really hoping there will be no hazards and no one will suffer an injury in the creating of sounds. With Lee arriving tonight (11.03pm) it turns out I can’t get the equipment until Friday. But as they say in Wales – dim ots (doesn’t matter) – we can spend Thursday planning our week together, catching up and maybe see what sounds we can record with basic equipment – like our new phones!
The first step in this project was to discuss (via the phone) dates that Lee could come to Stiwdio Maelor and the date I could go to London, what equipment we will need and some suggestions of the sort of recording we can do (both inside and outdoors) and how they can be developed. Between his many projects, Lee worked out that he could come to Wales for a week in May for our first working sessions. After a series of emails with equipment lists, thoughts and suggestions, I rang Lee to confirm his visit next week. His first words to me were ‘You are the first phone call on my new phone’, my response was ‘You are the first person I have rang on my new phone’. Turns out we had both brought new phones the afternoon before. It felt like an appropriate start for a sound project!
Though our first sound connection has been through a modern mode of communication, the project will actually be looking at endangered languages. My work focuses on endangered languages and language loss, and through art I want to create a form of awareness and insight to contribute to the questions and concerns surrounding the loss of language, culture and the loss of intellectual knowledge contained in those languages. I use two languages, an endangered one (Kurnai – an Aboriginal language) and a minority one (Welsh) to create a visual language through translating Kurnai into Welsh visually though printmaking and painting.