Archive for the ‘VI’ Category

In Spirit

A game about description, memory, sharing by Andy Field…

In Spirit was a game created for the spirit collection at the Natural History Museum.

In one cordoned-off corner of the collection stood shelves of creatures in glass jars so fragile that even looking at them with a grown-up’s eyes might cause them to start to grow faint and then disappear completely. In pairs, one adult and one child, players were asked to help us try and remember what was in the collection. The child would choose three creatures and describe them as best they could, whilst their accompanying adult (blindfolded for the safety of the specimens) had to listen and remember everything that was described to them. At the end of the game each pair were interviewed about what they saw.

Out of those interviews I have created this audio-piece. It is intended for listening on headphones either at home or, preferably, whilst walking through the spirit collection at the museum.

Both the original game and this audio piece were created by Andy Field.  You can listen here: https://soundcloud.com/andy-field-1/in-spirit


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Opening Lines

[Draft] project idea

Explore one site from a range of perspectives to develop different ways to experience and understand the space.  This could involve a frequent visitor, a security guard, an architect, an artist in residence, an audio describer.

The project will also explore how these observations could be combined in one event – paying attention to physical movement through the space and the information this provides for visually impaired participants.

This proposal developed from a series of events in 2011/12 exploring site specific art with visually impaired participants.  Initialy tours were led and described from particiular expert positions; a poet, architect, ceramicist and a cleaner.  These tours gave fascintaing and unexpected insights, it was interesting to think about how this knowledge developed in different ways; through academic study, observation, action.

The cleaner of a historic house described to us how she moved through some rooms in her stocking soles, having to first remove her shoes and the varying frequency for dusting different book cases.  This led to our suppositions on the value of the objects in the rooms and imagine the ones she is never allowed to dust.

Following this there were events to find out more about particular artists practise, the Bellrock co and Martin Parker.  The discussion with sandy from Bellrock was really enjoyable to meet a writer and director interested to work with visually impaired audiences and think about how verbal description could be incorporated into the voices of a play.
The final events were led by Anthony Schrag focussing on walking.  Anthony combined stories, myths and geology drawing on array of sources (including participants).  Physically walking through spaces connected ideas in different ways, similarly a museum display may be read differently depending on the order of encounters.  The curator can encorage this, or attempt to control it.

Presumably these connections and interpretations can also be left open in a promenade performance.  So there are still areas to research and consider to form a structure for the initial visits and final tour.  Who to involve, which artists might be intersted, what skills and observations will they bring?  Also thanks and more queries to be sent to Beverley at NLS and Rita Simpson for the initial suggestion.

A performance of Beats by Kieran Hurley with very visceral descriptions has also inspired the project idea.  The project should consider ways to explore and describe space with the group members, not for them.

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pacing the night

During  a seminar about Haptic Experiments, David Feeney gave an interesting comparison between artists walking practises which aim to disrupt our usual experience of the environment, sometimes useing tactics to purposefully get lost or disorientate, including walking while blind folded and the walking experiences of individuals with a visual impaiment.

In his presentation: ” An account of the importance of order and route-learning in the pedestrian experiences of individuals with visual impairments is posited between what Robin Jarvis refers to as the stroller’s ‘freedom to resist the imperative of destination’ .

Feeney argues that tactics such as blind folds and night walking, privilage the visual and suggests artist apprenticed with visually impaired individuals as a way to reach new understandings (find out more about this ideas).  This suggestion draws on James Winchester’s idea that “To understand each other across cultural divides, we must leave our comfort zone and become students of the many worlds out of which each artwork arises.”

research mentioned to find out more about:

Kevin Hetherington

David Bolt

Nina Morris “the uncritical way in which visibility is incorporated into many post-phenomenological accounts of landscape”

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A walk with artist Anthony Schrag along Portobello Prom, finishing with hot chocolate on the beach around a bon fire.

Along the way we learnt about the inquisitive, surreal and political practices of walking.  We discussed the idea of drifting, of being led by the walk without a final destination.   Led by Anthony we drifted through many topics and heard a few tales.  It was March, in Scotland, by the sea, there was chittering and chattering and a warm atmosphere.

Going on a guided walk, ending at a fire with hot chocolate led to many questions about creativity and participation more generally.  We discussed the idea of drifting, not knowing, within one journey but also the creative process in general.  Alan said “wandering” is necessay, Martin its exciting.

There was also a feeling, that there is a need for structure, parameters and for some one to take the lead; other wise we would have been freezing and without hot chocolat.  There can still be choice within the structure and a project as a whole drifts with different ways to shape it at different points.

What I took from the group discusison is the process is important and lets not be too set on where we’re going or how we get there, but you need to get somewhere.  There’s a need to to get to the fire, to gather, pause and share ideas. These opportunities are important to the idea of adoption and ultimately making a wider cultural contribution.

You can hear an extract from the walk and group discussion here:

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some sound artists

Here are some sound artists…….

Bruce Neuman http://www.tate.org.uk/modern/exhibitions/nauman/

Sarah Philipz http://theendofbeing.com/2010/12/06/lowlands-sound-sculptor-susan-philipsz-wins-the-turner-prize/

Paul Rooney (we have worked with him in the Royal Infirmary) http://www.axisweb.org/ofSARF.aspx?SELECTIONID=72

‘In writing the texts, I often work with people to engage with the particular roles they occupy in various ways, highlighting everyday practices, and peripheral positions, as potential sites for creativity and resistance to wider social structures. Recent works have involved collaborating with a TV audience warm up man, residents of a tower block, and a speech and language therapy patient. The work extends to engage with how we occupy or engage with specific physical places, in a more poetic or imaginative sense. Pop music, along with many forms of culture, often relies for its power on wider imaginative worlds that are associated with the artists or context, worlds which extend much further than the initial pop song or comedy routine, often blurring the line between truth and fiction.’

Voice-over sound tracks are key elements, referencing narrative forms such as songs, audio guides, sermons and other modes of storytelling, spoken from the position of a variety of roles or personas, such as a nightclub cloakroom attendant, a tourist guide or a fanzine writer. The works provide a contemplative space for the viewer to engage with the spoken or sung texts on the soundtracks.

Jim Finer http://www.scoreforaholeintheground.org/

Katie Paterson http://www.katiepaterson.org/vatnajokull/

Bill Fontana http://www.resoundings.org/

I have worked for the past 30 years creating installations that use sound as a sculptural medium to interact with and transform our perceptions of visual and architectural settings. These have been installed in public spaces and museums around the world including San Francisco, New York, Paris, London, Berlin, Venice, Sydney and Tokyo.

My sound sculptures use the human and/or natural environment as a living source of musical information. I am assuming that at any given moment there will be something meaningful to hear and that music, in the sense of coherent sound patterns, is a process that is going on constantly.


Artists/practitioners with specific experience of working with visually impaired people:

Kaffe Matthews http://www.kaffematthews.net/

Frerens Art Gallery http://www.museumsassociation.org/museum-practice/access-visually-impaired-visitors/15092011-creating-inclusive-museum-environments/15092011-ferens-art-gallery

Cormac Faulkner http://cormacfaulkner.wordpress.com/

Cormac Faulkner is an Irish sound artist now based in Coventry. His work is concerned with our reaction to different spaces and how our behavior and understanding can change when presented with new information and new ways of exploring them. He is a multi-disciplinary artist and use sound, video and photography in his work

Imperial College/Royal College of Art http://www3.imperial.ac.uk/newsandeventspggrp/imperialcollege/newssummary/news_19-7-2011-9-51-55

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Fuel Theatre

Fuel Theatre have commissioned a series of podcasts created especially for you to enjoy at a particular time and place.

Imagine there was a soundtrack to those small moments when you find yourself alone, brushing your teeth, in the bath, watching the rain stream down your living room window, or when you’re tucked up in bed unable to sleep.

Artists making the podcasts with us include: Inua Ellams, Nic Green, John Hegley, Kazuko HohkiAdrian Howells, Josie Long, Peggy Shaw, Hofesh Shechter, Lemn Sissay, and Nick Whitfield.
One podcast a month will be released throughout 2011. 

Listen here

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audio described architecture tour

From Vocaleyes website:

Once a place has been booked on an audio described tour of a building, you will be sent an introductory CD to listen to. This has been specially written and will include some basic information about the building, its history and what to expect during the tour itself.

The CD will also contain access information including how to get there, meeting points and any other relevant details. The information on the CD will also be available on the VocalEyes website where it can be read as a text document or downloaded as an MP3.

An audio described tour is a live interactive event and generally lasts about 90 minutes. In some cases there is a workshop prior to the tour, which can include the opportunity to explore a tactile scale model of the building. There are also examples of building materials that can be handled.

Both the workshop and the tour are led by a professional VocalEyes describer together with an architectural expert. There may also be input from a curator or someone with an intimate knowledge of the building. During the preparation period, the describer works closely with these experts, drawing on their professional knowledge.

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