It was one of those days: Tadek’s car blew up so he couldn’t make it, so I had to get on on my own. I’ve started to put together some structure to the score, and it looks like there are going to be five different elements: computerised voice (called Oliver), prerecorded sounds, live ‘foley’ sounds, speaking voice and live looped flute (oh, not to forget the visuals). Well, we see if I can get all this together in time. Next need to film those CO2 bubbles.
This morning Tadek and I have been working on the ‘Score for a Flautist‘, getting our heads around the loop station (on the floor with the green lights) with which we can layer sounds into a complex soundscape. It’s new territory for me, allowing music into my work. It can be so seductive. So I am trying to work out the right balance of music and other sounds, such as the voice of Thomas Henry Huxley, whose words are highlighted in blue on the wall. Well, a few days to go yet before the performance: exciting times!
This morning I am listening to the bubbles produced when chalk is dissolved in vinegar (malt vinegar, Sainsburys). Yes, you may well ask! It is the sound of carbon dioxide being released back into the atmosphere, reversing a reaction that took place millions of years ago when small marine plankton extracted CO2 to make their ‘shells’, which subsequently became chalk. So, you might say that I am listening in on the Cretaceous (66–145 million years ago).
Today I’m setting up for the show in The Hardwick Gallery. This is the second time in the past few months that I have relocated by studio into a gallery for a short period; and I’m finding it a good way of working. Bringing all the different elements together – drawings, materials, videos – here in the clean and clear space of the gallery, gives me the freedom to think and work that is just not possible in the studio. Too many established habits there! It’s strange: for so long I have shied away from the gallery environment exactly because of it ‘white cube’ effect, of its isolation from the world outside. Now, it is just that artificiality which I am after. The next couple of weeks I am working here with sound/music, in collaboration with the flautist Tadek. Just with that in mind, the most solid of objects seem to vibrate, fluctuate, become fluid. Looking at this flint, it is moving, turning into something else, just so slowly that I can’t see it. But then isn’t that the nature of fluidity; as much to do with the timeframe you are working with as to do with the material itself – my slow is a geologist’s fast.
So, yes, I am really happy to be able to confirm that the talk-performance with Tadek is going ahead on Thursday 17th! We have just met in the gallery to test out the acoustics, and started the collaboration. The two week exhibition/residency at the Hardwick Gallery is in preparation for this event. So if you can make it to Cheltenham on that evening then it would be great to see you.
Part of the ‘score’ I want to produce for Tadek is in the form of a film storyboard. I have been working on that this morning, along with searching for a chalk core sample for the exhibition next week.
This month I am really looking forward to my short residency and collaboration at the Hardwick Gallery, 7th to 18th March, called Score for a Flautist. I will be working with Tadek to create an improvised soundtrack/performance for the ‘Deep Time Chalk Futures’ project. More info is on the Hardwick website. There might be a presentation of the work on the second Thursday, that is the 17th, 5–7pm, but this is yet to be confirmed. I will keep you posted.