News today that even Antarctica is now experiencing 400ppm CO2 levels. We are truly Generation CO2! We hear a lot about the stress it is putting on our environment, the new volatility in weather, the political stress as resources shift/become scarce; but what about the cultural stress, how we represent the world to ourselves? That’s where I am headed next… [Image from NASA animation]
Simon McBurney in The Encounter at the Oxford Playhouse last night: a master class is vibrant, visceral, thoughtful relevant theatre. McBurney himself was, quite literally, the encounter. And for me, one who uses a lot of technology in their work, a master class also in the soulful use of technology; never being swayed by its inherent possibilities beyond how it could be bent to his playful creative purpose, to his storytelling. There was loop pedal, some neat 3D video mapping, a seamless multilayered soundscape, microphones of various descriptions, pitch modulation and reverb, to mention just two filters, and some pretty cool stage lighting. This guy is in a class of his own. I first saw him in The Street of Crocodiles about 20 years ago; he was brilliant then and remains so. The performance last night was followed by a talk between McBurney and the scientist Marcus de Sautoy. What a disappointment; de Sautoy had the cheek to use the opportunity to publicise his new book. Boo!
I am looking into sound (or maybe I should say listening in) to low frequency sounds, as used so effectively in many movie trailers: that deep boom or swish that you feel rather than hear. I want to use these ‘subwoofer’ sounds as a balance to the flute playing of Tadek, but there is lots to learn before I get to that point, and my research brought me to the French sound designer Nicolas Becker and his tip for learning about sound: “watch thousands of films, read books, listen to music, walk in nature, stay curious, work a lot, practice a lot, learn a lot of different techniques in order to be able to forget them…” I particularly like the bit about learning a lot in order to forget. I can identify with that. [Image: sorry, I couldn’t find who to credit for the pic.]
Like a birthmark across the face of England, the chalklands stretch from Lulworth Cove on the south coast to Flanborough Head on the northeast. Huxley gave his famous talk in Norwich, the Thames Estuary cement works supplied lime to London up till the 1970s, the White Cliffs face towards France, Giants of Albion came out of the Observatory being sited at Winchester, and the Isle of Wight has its chalk Needles. So, where does this project go next? Any suggestions?
Starting today and running until the 23rd of April, 10 Degrees North-East of Basecamp brings together artists with studio space at SVA for a group show, part of the Site festival here in Stroud. For this I have been window dressing. Do come along to the ‘opening’ on Saturday evening, and there is live poetry on the last day. Hope to see you there.