Sunday, May 6, 2012

My new website....

This blog, The girl who talked to herself, has been a site to record my journey whilst at art college, and in many ways has been like an online sketchbook, logging my process and thoughts. For my journey after art college I have decided to set up a new website, starting fresh. This will be more like a professional online portfolio and will give updates on my artistic activities. Here is a link to it:

Overview of 4th Year...

I have thoroughly enjoyed the process of my journey in 4th year. It has been an extremely transformative time for me and has definitely helped me to find my identity as an artist. Now that I can reflect on this process, I would like to spend the time to thank everyone who made it happen, for without their encouragement, guidance and support this would not have been possible:

My thank you list:

Anton & Jason- for both helping me to construct the space and for being so supportive and helpful- and for being a great team!
Evelyn Law- for all her hard work and support over the past year and being an amazing helper!
Sean Ahern- for all his technical assistance and support with max msp & my arduino
Alan Grieg- for his encouragement and support and helping me realise my final space 
Pernille Spence- for her support, insight and for being a part of this process 
Janice Aitken- for her guidance, support and eternally good advice 
Gair Dunlop- for his endless knowledge in great literature 
Holger Mohaupt- for his truthful advice and giving me perspective
Mark Vernon- for helping me with my sound piece 
Zoe Irvine- for your insight in sound and encouraging me to go to Orkney
Mary Modeen- for being constantly supportive and for guiding me through my toughest moments
Arthur Watson- for being inspirational and encouraging
Richard Layzell- for the giving me the most wonderful and inspiring week and for always giving  great advice 
Performance Platformers- for being inspiring, supportive and fun!
Maria Conte- for all the love and support any daughter could wish for
Michael Law- for his insight, knowledge and support
Marie Williamson- for her thoughts and little messages in times of need
Peter Annin- for all his support and helping me set up the pir sensor to the arduino 
Alex Fakinos- for helping me with the architectural aspects of my project and being understanding  
Aaron Watson- for talking to me a giving me a great insight into Neolithic Acoustics 
Tim Sandys- for all our lengthy chats, for supporting me and for being a great studio mate
Mel Shearsmith- for her support, encouragement and knowledge 
Martin Grimes- for all his help in the wood workshop and constantly lending my things
Ruth Aitken- for her advice and constant support through out this year
Becca Clark- for her quirky ways of making me feel good in bad times and for keeping team spirit
Dave Fyans- for his support and technical assistance through out the year
Andrew Maclean- for being extremely patient and supportive through out this year and for being a great technician
Daniel Pike- for also being a great technician
Nigel Johnson- for setting up one of my most important meetings this semester and helping me take my project to the next step
Ali Napier- for helping me out with the interactive parts of my project
Lorens Holm- for giving me great advice and for talking to me 
Graeme- for making and welding my metal pipes 

and to all the students who have helped, supported and helped me these past few months and also to all the staff from the sites I visited and who granted me permission to record inside them!

My Degree Show Space

My degree show space is finally installed and it is looking beautiful. The earth has already started to fade and dry out, making the space feel more weathered and like it has been there for  along tome....Having the earth imbedded in the structure really makes it feel like there is a living and growing body inside the space. I have loved working with earth and brining it into the space, I think it completely transformed it, and makes the whole piece more linked to the idea of 'site & environment'. I have had so many compliments from people walking passed and I can't wait to finally have the sound working so that I can experience the piece for the first time. I also can't wait to share it with everyone, and to see how people react to the space and the experience inside it. It has taken a lot of time and thought and help from a great number of people, but it is finally finished. There is something so natural about it, it feels like it has been there forever. The installation fits in so well with the space and I couldn't be happier with how it sits in its environment....

The last finishing touches!

Over the weekend, I made the last finishing touches to the space. This consisted of doing all the little things that I have been putting off until the last minute....Like drilling the small hole for the sensor to trigger the sound piece when someone enters the space, installing the little shelf I made for my postcards and business cards and putting up my name vinyl. I couldn't have done this all  without Evey, Anton and Jason who have been my installation helpers over the weekend. The space is now starting to come together and is looking amazing... 


Over the weekend I had the big task of installing the speakers and all the technologies into my space....
Before doing this, I imbedded my 6 audio files into max and tested it with Sean. It all worked, so we then I was ready take everything and set up in the space. On Friday afternoon, Sean and I brought my mac mini, the keyboard and desktop upstairs with the and arduino and the rest of the interactive technologies. I had previously collected all of the 6 speakers from the AV workshop, so they were already there. The big task was working out how to connect all the speakers together, as they are 1.2 metres apart. I spent the end of the day working out which wires went where and then connected them all to the sound card. There are a lot of cables underneath my structure right now, which is funny because you would never think so looking at it from outside, the installation has this very natural and relaxing presence, so you would never guess that udnerneath it is a jungle of wires.

Once everything and good to go, I switched on the mini mac and tested it. Unfortunately, I haven't managed to get it all working yet, as there is no sound coming through the speakers and I figure out why. My guess is that it could be a problem with the sound card or max msp, as the arduino and sensor are working fine. because it is the weekend, and there are no staff, I haven't been able resolve it, however I have emailed Sean to inform and I am hoping to get some technical assistance on Monday. There is nothing I an really do until then, so I continued to work on the space and get everything ready for the assessment.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

My Sound Piece....

For the past two days I have been focusing on my sound piece. It has been a very difficult process,  as I have had to sculpt a space through another one, and  trying to figure out the best way to translate my experiences of resonance into the show. For this, I have had to go back and listen to all my recordings, and think of which ones would work to represent the experience of resonance that I want to create in my space.
The thing is, is that a lot of my recordings were done as tests are are more like field recordings, rather than finished pieces, and they all have different vocal and tonal ranges depending on the spaces I am in. My major problem was that none of the recordings really related to one another and they were not made to merge together. They are all recordings of my own interactions and exchanges with site, so for me it felt strange to bring them together.
Last week I had a tutorial with Holger, who listened to a piece I was working on. The sound piece only included my recordings from Hamilton Mausoleum, and he told me that he wasn't sure it made sense to do this. So I took his advice and started playing around with recordings from all the different sites I had visited.
Listening to them all was manic, and very unnerving, the tones were completely different and the quality of the recordings varied, making the final piece sound unfinished and diverging from any sense of self or identity. It was because of this lack of identity, that I so wanted to create, that i decided to not go down this route. I have added the test to my supporting material to show my progress working up to the final piece. I also wanted to show that at least I tried to bring them all together, but for the sort of immersive experience I want to create in my space, the sounds needs to harmonize and work with one another to create the notion of 'site'.
What I started to realise through doing this, was that this had to a piece in its own right, and I had to sculpt an experience and make it into a new one. For this I decided to go back to the Hamilton Mausoleum recording as for me it feels like the only one that brought the space with it. In the piece, my voice carries the echo of the space and because it has such tremendous reverberance, you immediately get a sense of the site.  I thought there could be no better sound piece to work with than this one. It is also the site in which I had my strongest experience of resonance, and for me is the only recoding that sounds like a finished piece, and like a performance in itself.
So by working with this I have tried to select the very best of my journey and to work with it for degree show.
Over the passed few days I have played with the recording, and have played with how the sound moves around the space, choreographing its movement through the pipes. The idea behind the piece is to carry a space through the human voice. For the final piece I have tried to encompass my experience, but sculpt it for the space, to create a new site, and one that will exist in a new body and environment. The final piece is 6:01 minutes, done to fit into my space, which is room 601.

This is the final track:

Friday, May 4, 2012

Importing the Soil!

Yesterday was the soil importing day! After working on my sound all morning, in the afternoon, we went out and started digging. Luckily enough, I have been able to source a pile of earth right outside the college (behind the sheds), which is part of the university's botanical gardens, so it has been a fairly easy task. Evelyn and I got a wheelbarrow each, and together we spent the afternoon digging the earth and carting it back to my space....

 The difficult part was then getting it into the space...We just managed to get the wheelbarrow through the tight entrance into the circle, and then had to pile the earth all around it. We started piling it in different parts, mostly around the edges, and then decided to tackle the furthest away corners, which was just a case of throwing the earth as far away as possible. It was a bit of trail and error, and some dirt did get splattered on the lovely white walls, so we will have to find a way to clean it. But that was the most difficult corner, where there is no access.

I am very happy with out progress. Evelyn worked very hard helping me, as I had to go down to the wood worksop, which incidentally is when everyone started to come and see it. We didn't quite manage to finish the space, as the garders closed the gates at 5pm, so we still have a few more wheelbarrows to go, but I am hoping the space will be finished by today!