Beatboxing, flute-style

Chalk mouth xrayIn normal beatboxing all the sounds are made by manipulating the human voice box (as seen here in this x-ray of the mouth and tongue articulating the main vowels). What is different when using the flute to beatbox it that the instrument becomes the voice box. Why all this interest in beatboxing? Well, I am going to learn much more about it over the next few weeks as I work with the international beatbox flautist Tadek Chylinski-Reid to explore how we might collaborate to make something for the climate-change project ‘Deep Time Chalk Futures’. Our starting point is Jerusalem. (Image: Jones, Daniel. (1972). An outline of English phonetics (9th ed.). Cambridge: W. Heffer & Sons Ltd)

And did those feet…

Chalk Blake Jerusalem SmWell, it’s been awhile since the last post, but with the sun out and spring in the air it’s now time to get going again. It was in the preface to his book Milton that William Blake included this short poem (1808). Overlooked until a century later when it was set to music by Sir Hubert Parry, the anthem Jerusalem has since then come to represent all that is quintessentially English (not to mention those barefoot athletes running along the beach). I am starting to work with this song as the next stage in my ‘Deep Time Chalk Futures’ project, following on from Giants of Albion, and have found a musician to collaborate with. More tomorrow…

Giants in Winchester

Chalk Win Cath smLast week I installed the first part of the Giants of Albion series in Winchester Cathedral for the 10 Days Winchester arts biennial (which is longer than ten days, running until Nov 7th). It has been quite a process to find a way of exhibiting the drawings in a way that resonates with the location, and that respects the fabric of the building. They stand about two metres from the floor, in the north transept.I will be there on the evening of Oct 24th, when there is a special event for the cathedral exhibition. Everyone is welcome, and you get free entrance to the cathedral too! Would be lovely to see you.

Close, too close?

Cathedral smI have lived in the shadow of this building for more than a decade (seen here from my front door). The cathedral close at Gloucester has been my home all this time; two of my sons were born here. But in a few weeks we will live elsewhere, and I have been wondering how this building has affected my work. Fresh out of college, I came here as artist-in-residence, spending a year responding to the building, its architecture and community. I made various works, the main one being ‘The Words to Say It’, an installation in the crypt made out of latex. I was so fired up at the end of that year I applied for a second year (knowing full well there was no chance). It was just that I had much more work I wanted to make, now that I understood the place a little more, it seemed a waste not to continue. I did return, a couple of years later, with artNucleus and a show called ‘Naked Nave’: bringing together ten English and German artists to make sound works for one week in the Norman nave, which was emptied of all its clutter for the occasion. Just sound, space and stone. That was an amazing week. It surprised me how there was a much stronger reaction to contemporary sound than to contemporary visuals in that space, normally reserved for choir and organ. We had really got under the skin. The nave is still, to this day, emptied once a year of furniture, to be experienced in all its resonant glory. When, some years later, there was a retrospective of resident artists’ work (all ten of us), I was to be found blowing a hollow ball made from my own hair around the cloisters. But since then nothing. Well, that is not true: plenty of ideas in my sketchbook and a couple of proposals that didn’t get the funding they needed. Nowadays, the building, the whole layout and rhythm of this place, has taken on a new form: almost like a bone in my body. So what will happen when that bone is extracted and once again becomes something I can observe from outside? I’m waiting to see…

When the drawing stops

Chalk show panoJust spent a fantastic few days ‘live drawing’ in the Line Gallery. Chalk on blackboard. Here is a panoramic shot of the gallery before I cleared all my stuff out earlier today. If only my studio was this big (and clean!). Thanks David and Jessie for the chance to use the gallery.

What we talk about when we talk about drawing … update

Birdsong1920by1080-QuickTime H.264 Half Size.pctFor the drawing event I am organising for next week (Tue 15th) sadly Paul Fowler, one of the speakers, has had to pull out. I am really happy to say that Bob Fowles has been able to step in, and will be talking about his physical two-handed approach to life drawing. You can download an updated flier from here. [Image: computer drawing of birdsong]

Fixing the friable

Observatory gavin smHappy to be working with Gavin McClafferty again (who built the furniture for the installation at Waterhay last year). This time we are trying to work out how best to fix the chalk drawings in preparation for my starting next week in the Line Gallery (10th–16th) producing a drawing a day. A selection of the drawings will then go to Winchester cathedral next month as part of the 10 Days festival. If you are in the Stroud area do come on Tuesday evening (that’s the 15th) to an event I am organising in the gallery called ‘What we talk about when we talk about drawing’. You can download the flier here. Hope to see you then.