Sat 22nd September – Sat 20th October 2012
Thurs – Sat 11.00am – 4.00pm
Admission is free
Collected recordings and audio works by:
Janet White, Susan Timmins, Karen Thompson, Susan Slann, Steven Potter, Jade Montserrat, Emma Miller, Adele Longstaff, Stuart Cameron, Dawn Brooks
Soundings presents a series of recordings and audio works which, as the word suggests, test out some of the possibilities of auditory or acoustic expression incorporating speech, language, music, and noise.
Recordings range from ambient sound captured in the course of work or domestic activity, to recitals, readings and performances of poems and texts written or selected by the artists. Several of these recordings emerged from workshop activities within Artist Writes, a continuing investigation on our part into the connections between visual arts, language, writing and text. Artist Writes is designed to encourage visual artists to explore writing and texts, in all forms, as a critical and creative element within their practice.
Earlier this year Jeremy Akerman and Eileen Daly led two writing workshop sessions at Crescent Arts, augmented by a live performance from artist Patrick Coyle (Beats I,II,III). The adoption of collaborative and performative strategies to generate, present and disseminate textual material and information led to audio recording as an alternative means of creating, sharing, experiencing and publishing ideas.
That the processes of performing and recording would make their own demands, and (for some) offer exciting possibilities, was inevitable. The recordings are not intended to suggest any shortcomings to the presentation of text on the page or screen; these offer their own challenges and opportunities for expression. However, lifting the text off the page, through transmission of a recorded delivery, makes for a very different experience for an audience to that of the reader or viewer.
Even the most cursory experience of radio will demonstrate its ability to evoke vivid, yet imaginary, visual sensation. The auditory experience, especially when recorded or broadcast, is capable of stimulating involuntary visual equivalence coupled with a strong sense of the temporal, spacial, and atmospheric, and extending to emotional response.
Of course the reading of text on the page can also elicit these qualities, but the response is perhaps not so immediate or direct. In either case, absence of visual evidence feeds and sustains the imagination, and it is questionable whether what we imagine corresponds to the author’s or artist’s vision of ‘reality’.
It’s a highly subjective and elusive experience which may only partially correspond to that of the next person. This seems particularly pertinent to recorded oral communication. The expressiveness of the voice draws upon our capacity to empathise whether invited to or not, and it is difficult to separate the disembodied voice from our mental picture of the person.
This in turn, will directly affect our response to what we are hearing or listening to. The physical presentation of these recordings at Crescent Arts also attempts to reflect the range of approaches by the artists and their engagement with the technology itself, whether expressing intimate thoughts on an intimate scale, using language more playfully, or creating broader landscapes of ‘abstract’ sound.