My space set up for the assessment on Monday!
Sunday, December 4, 2011
Recently I got in contact with Archeologist Aaron Watson, who has done a lot of research in the archaeoacoustics of historic sites, and amongst these vast investigations are the Neolithic spaces. It was when researching the cairns, that I came across his research in relation to the Maeshowe Chambered Cairn, and it was in fact his discoveries that made me want to go and experience them for myself. When I returned from my trip, I thought it would be interesting to contact him and to try and create a dialogue in relation to my own personal project, looking at 'human resonance'. Aaron Watson is not only an archeologist but also an artist, so his understanding of both the sonic values and artistic representation within these spaces made him a perfect person to get create discussion with. Aaron was kind enough to send me a collection of his own works, a series of publications following his discoeries in different historic spaces around Britain. His work looks at discovering the connection between sound and space, and looking at how these two elements transform one another...
"This is a place where I am learning to see, and thereby enabling the land to see me..."
: What if land helped us to see ourselves, our own identity, could land be a mirror to humanity?
Monday, November 28, 2011
This week I have been thinking a lot more in depth about the materials I would like to use for this sculpture/structure as they are fundamentally going to define the space, so I feel it is important to make sure they work in relation to my overall concept. It is for this reason, I have started to edge away from using such an industrial material like metal, and have begun thinking of using more natural ones....
It is in this reflection, that I have also realised that a lot of the spaces I have been looking at in relation to their acoustic qualities are spaces that were bult as sacred monuments for housing the dead. The cambered cairns are indeed tombs and the Hamilton Mausoleum is also a burial chamber, so this really made me think about these structures in relation to their context and how they exist in the world. I find it extremely interesting that these spaces house some of the most reverberant and acoustic infrastructures of any of the buildings in the world, yet their purpose serves as a resting place. It almost feels as though the people that built these spaces believed that the dead could perhaps communicate beyond death and resonate back to the living world...
I am very interested in this relation to the tombs, because originally, I had wanted to make this space like a womb, something that you entered as a reflective encounter and somewhere you could feel safe. Now I am beginning to think of how I could connected these two spaces, to construct a tomb/womb and create a limbo space in between, where one merges into the other, forming a darkness between life and death. In this darkness, the human voice would be projected, like a sound appearing from both ends, like a conversation between the living and the dead. It was when thinking about this connection between life and death that I suddenly began to envision a mass structure made of soil, of the earth itself. After all, soil is a burial material, it is something that we can clearly associate to the cycle of life; it is where humans decompose and become part of the land. I really like this link between humanity and space and I think soil is a perfect material to illustrate such a intimate relationship between our bodies and the land that we live in, realting back to my theme of 'human resonance'.
I think that the structure I want to create for the degree show will have a closer ressemblance to the cairns than I had initially imagined. I want to build a space that links closely to the process of the journey I have undertaken to create the final piece. It has also been in my reflections of the physical structure that I have started to think of how the sound will penetrate it. By using a reflective surface that the sound can bounce off on the internal wall of the structure will allow the sound to travel and create some sort of reverberation. It is through the integration of both space and sound, that makes me think I need to look at working and experimenting with several materials to make the final piece. I would like the exterior of the structure to have a very natural and organic presence, with a sense of wisdom and direct relation to the land. For the inside I would like to create a defined body, a space that feels solid and timeless, where only your presence is what exists inside of it. I have started to envision my final piece as a massive mound of earth and plants, and on the inside a chamber of concerete or cement that will form a hard and strong structure for the person to enter and resonate within. This will allow me to create a structure that reflects two different surfaces, one that looks completely ephemeral and one that looks eternal.
Friday, November 25, 2011
These are some shavings that I found from some wooden boxes I was making today. The forms reminded me of the womb-like /shell space I want to make for my structure...It definitely has made me consider using wood as it is a material that I could work with. It would allow me to be a lot more physically engaged with the process of making the piece, and one that has a much more natural presence. Then I could line the interior with an acoustic sheet or something that is going to allow the sound to bounce off it with more vibration...It has started to get me really excited of all the possibilities for this project!
Wednesday, November 23, 2011
Yesterday at the group crit I was told of a very interesting site called the Hamilton Mausoleum. It is located in Lanarkshire, Scotland and houses the longest reverberation of any building in the world, with sound echoing for 15 seconds inside the chamber. This is the sort of space that I would like construct and enable the sound to expand and ripple into the atmosphere...I would be very interested in visiting the Hamilton Mausoleum and doing some recordings inside the space to see how the voice can physically travel. It would also be a great space to measure the sonic infrastructure as a way for me to get a better understanding of how to construct resonant spaces...
I also discovered whilst researching the site, that Arika, the founders of Kill Your Timid Notion, organised a tour visiting resonant spaces around Scotland back in 2006. It seems that I have taken a circlular journey, and discovered another connection between my practice and the people that first inspired me to look at sound as a medium...The tour looks amazing, I wish I had known about it then....They visited Orkney as one of their sites, and the project looked at manifesting sound within natural environments...Very inspiring!
As part of my research for this project, I have decided to make a little survey questioning our human relationship to space...I feel that I am always thinking of my presence within my surroundings, but do other people reflect on their presence and relationship to space? I am looking forward to reading on how people relate to space and how they perceive their own personal resonance...
Wednesday, November 16, 2011
These are just some quick, initial ideas of what I would like my degree show to look like...A large structure in an empty space, completely taking over the presence of the room and resonating as a solitary object. I really like the aesthetics of the corrugated iron and think it will lend well to the acoustics of the space and the resonance inside the chamber when the sound is being projected into it. I really want the structure to intrigue the public as they enter it, and to make them think of their own presence and resonance within the space...
When a longitudinal sound wave strikes a flat surface, sound is reflected in a coherent manner provided that the dimension of the reflective surface is large compared to the wavelength of the sound. Note that audible sound has a very wide frequency range (from about 20 about 1700 Hz), and thus a very wide range of wavelengths (from 20mm to 17m). As a result, the overall nature of the reflection varies according to the texture and structure of the surface. For example, porous materials will absorb some energy, and rough materials (where rough is relative to the wavelength) tend to reflect in many directions- to scatter energy, rather than to reflect it coherently. This leads into the field of architectural acoustics, because the nature of these reflections is critical to the auditory feel of a space.
Thursday, November 10, 2011
"Usando el espacio metaforico y literal junto a la voz humana para representar nuestra existencia, un dialogo entre la resonancia humana y el espacio..."
"Using metaphorical and literal space next to the human voice to represent our existence, a dialogue between human resonance and space..."
Wednesday, November 9, 2011
"THE SHARED ORIGINS OF THE BUILT ENVIRONMENT AND OUR INNER-MOST CONCEPTIONS OF THE 'SELF'..."
Thursday, November 3, 2011
Wednesday, November 2, 2011
I want to create a completely immersive experience, in which the public are invited to enter a large physical structure that takes form as a chamber. This chamber will represent the internal space of the human body and will reflect on how humanity expresses itself and resonates within the spaces that we inhabit. For this piece I want to focus on the more internal projections and use the space to show our more invisible and unseen qualities.
The project will take form as a sound installation using both sculptural and performative elements. As part of this project I will create both the physical structure of the chamber as well as performing within it. In this piece I plan to project myself within the physical structure of the chamber, using the human voice as a vessel and creating an ephemeral dialogue where we both vibrate off one another. The chamber will act as its own external body, and I within it will act as an internal one inside it.
It is within this exchange that I will invite the audience to enter and to experience their own presence within the space. The installation looks at our origins as human beings, it is a piece that explores our existence within spaces and creates a darkened realm which we must enter, like a womb.
Tuesday, November 1, 2011
I have realised, that in many ways, after my research trip up to Orkney, the direction of this project has changed, and it now seems to be taking form as a spacial installation in which we witness human resonance and interaction within space. I am interested in creating a physical structure to project myself into, and in doing so to investigate how humans resonante within the spaces we inhabit and how humanity leaves an eternal trail of their existence behind to tell a story. I like the idea of the voice being like a metaphor in this piece, and a way of forming an open dialogue with space, in which we can both exchange our projections of one another, the invisible and the visible, and transform each another through our collective presence.
I think the best way to create this space is to build a resonating chamber where I can experiment within. In the resonating chamber I would like to do an ephemeral performance in which I use the human voice to project the internal human being, and for my soul to vibrate off the space and into the atmosphere, like an open projection, one which we can recognize as a human call, as if humanity were calling to Earth itself, to bring a connection between two bodies that live in one space.
Tuesday, October 25, 2011
v. res·o·nat·ed, res·o·nat·ing, res·o·nates
1. To exhibit or produce resonance or resonant effects.
2. To evoke a feeling of shared emotion or belief.
3. To correspond closely or harmoniously.
4. To cause to resound.
5. To amplify vocal sound by the sympathetic vibration of air in certain cavities and structures.
In search of spaces with resonance, I went up north to visit the Chambered Cairns of Orkney. The Cairns were anciently used as burial chambers and played a central part to the organisation of Orcadian society in the Neolithic ages. They are among some of the oldest structures in Scotland, dating back to 3,500 BC, which takes us to the very beginnings of organized civilization. The tombs became monuments dedicated to ‘being’, in which the living and the dead could communicate with one another. Within these sacred spaces are hidden layers of past human interaction, where we can find invisible traces of resonance that have been left for us to rediscover…
Within the chambers, I was interested in investigating how humanity can physically resonate off space and how the places that we inhabit are connected to the way we live. I was specifically interested in revealing the archaeoacoustics of these unique places and to see for myself how I could change their resonance with my own presence. The chambers have witnessed many different cycles of humanity and their very walls hold the secrets to how we have existed within them. For this trip I planned to visit the chambers and to record a series of vocal experiments inside them as a way to investigate how space can affect us whilst projecting into it. Within this dialogue I wanted to ask how do we as humans resonate off space and how does space itself resonate off us?
On my journey up there I started to become very aware that the further I went up north, the presence of the landscape changed. I felt the more remote I got the more it emerged that the land stood by itself, as its own body. It felt like the landscape knew itself, like it had a sense of its own identity. The fact that it has hardly been touched by the modern world or human society shows just how much a naked landscape can hold. It was its isolation that created this very mystical and wise presence and it made me think about just how much our landscapes can resonate as their own identities and how their presence affects the way we live around them.
When I arrived in Orkney I realised just how detached it feels from the external world, it is in many ways like its own world. Orkney’s ritual landscapes are covered in spaces full of sacred energies and the tombs themselves resonate within the landscape; they are monuments that show our human interaction to the cycles of nature. The tombs themselves pay homage to how much we used to be connected to our lands and how the cycle of life was at the fore front of our culture and understanding of the world. I thought it would be interesting on this trip to compare the past interaction with the Cairns to my present interaction, and to create a form of dialogue between the present and past worlds concealed within the tombs. This I felt would help me to understand exactly how the spaces existed then, and how the spaces existed presently. My question was, would it still be possible to continue to add layers to these spaces through out the history of their existence?
Entering the tombs felt like entering worlds left behind from many civilizations ago, they were full of invisible traces of human activity. In many ways it was like entering the past and existing within a virtual dimension of time, yet within a physical space. I loved that in the tombs you could find carvings from every different civilization that had visited them; they had left messages speaking of their journeys and lives. Their resonance in the spaces have affected the way that we perceive and understand them today, they give clues and marks that allow us to imagine how once we lived inside them.
As I entered the first chambered Cairn, I realised just how much these spaces resonate as part of our human culture and landscape. The Maeshowe Chambered Cairn was like entering a resonating chamber; the stone gave the space a wonderful depth, like an echo from ancestors of many years before us living in the shadows of the spaces that we presently inhabited. The acoustics in the chamber were phenomenal; it was when inside the chamber that you could truly appreciate just how old the tombs where and how their presence has evolved through the humans that have inhabited it. In Maeshowe I recorded two pieces of sound, one in the main chamber and another in one of the smaller side chambers. The pieces unfolded as a series of improvised songs, where I looked into the space to find inspiration for my projections. It was my aural presence in the space that allowed me to engage with it as a surface to project within and where my voice began to exist in another body, the body of the chamber.
My most overwhelming experience on this trip was in fact not in a chambered Cairn, but in an old chapel built by the Italian soldiers stationed in Orkney in World War II. The prisoners created the chapel as a tribute to their homelands and as a way to unite their stay in this unknown land to their religious faith as a sanctuary for their souls. So because of this legacy, a part of Italy’s religious culture resonates through out the isles of Orkney. It was in this very strange space, and one that brought two worlds together where I encountered my most powerful projection. Within the chapel, the acoustics created a volume within the space that made me experience a very overwhelming sensation, like in some way I was vibrating off the space. My voice allowed me to come out of the physical dimension of my own body and for my energy to penetrate the space. It was within this projection that I felt like something was being opened inside me and the tones and the strength in my voice was like no other I had heard or experienced before. It was this performance that made me truly realise just how much a space can affect you and because of this how I could affect and resonate within it.
The human voice spirals out of the body and penetrates the space, bouncing off the physical walls and coming back into the body. I find singing is like coming out of a physical dimension; it is like an exchange of energy between the space you are projecting into and the body projecting into it. I think that by using the human voice to measure human resonance meant that I could physically appreciate just how much the human body can affect space. In the action of amplifying the voice I felt a great sense of exchanging energies with these spaces, my body as a structure vibrated within the framework of the chambers and they vibrated off me; we filled one another with each others presence.
It has become very obvious to me, since being and experiencing within these spaces just how much humanity wants to leave a trace behind in the landscapes and spaces we live in. The human resonance is in itself one of the most powerful and visible elements in our landscapes. Spaces echo our past and amplify the people within them, creating this dual discourse where we can affect each other simultaneously. What I realised on my trip in Orkney is just how interconnected we are to the spaces and landscapes that we live in and inhabit. It is like the spaces themselves mirror and resonate our very own nature and it is existing through them that reveals our humanity. We will eternally resonate; it is the very nature of human beings to want to leave an impression on the earth and I think that this will always be present within the way we perceive and exist in the world…