Their mission: to present their full sensory experience of a ‘normally noisy’ world. So that a hearing audience might think again about the sensation of hearing.
And they were a hit which made me very (very) happy. And proud
I was recently approached to run a workshop and develop a performance for this year’s Edge of Wrong festival (a cross-continental festival of exploratory arts and music).
As result I’ve been running a running a series of exploration sessions with four deaf students from Cape Town’s Dominican school for the deaf (Wittebome). And it will all culminate with a performance called Normal Noise this Saturday evening as part of this weekend’s festival events.
So what have we been doing in the sessions? Basically we’re exploring sensation using everyday objects. With sound as our focus.
But what is sound to someone who does not have fully functioning ears? (more…)
Sound Art is a term I feel uncomfortable with. It appears to fit in neatly with the categories ‘visual art’, ‘performance art’, ‘conceptual art’, ‘installation art’. Logical enough? Except that it reinforces the notion that sound is somehow different from those other categories, that it focuses on hearing to the exclusion of other senses such as sight and touch.
During December I visited Dean Henning and Vaughn Sadie’s ‘Frequency, lumens, place’ at the GIPCA Live Art Festival 2012. The installation was a broad spectrum experience – a room filled with objects emitting light, and an invisible yet very physical noise.
After a protracted break from stage and stardom, Shower Songs, my duo with Masha du Toit will relaunch this weekend at the fabulous Voorkamer festival in Darling, South Africa.
Voorkamer is Afrikaans for ‘front – room’, and the performances literally take place there - in private homes in a variety of locations from the dorp (town) centre to township locations. A really nice community integrated project which brings high class performances (including ours into interesting locations. Read more about the festival here.
Masha and I perform a very eclectic set – everything from pop to folk with some real oddness-es thrown in (blues, ancient song, funk anyone?) – all arranged for just mandolin and voice. Read more about us on Masha’s blog.
A few works which stood out for me at the (still ongoing) Sounding Out exhibition …
João Orecchia’s Small Worlds was a quiet contemplative work . A collaboration with pianist Jill Richards, the work consisted of three simple objects in a darkened room, each emitting a recording of a minimal piano work. Barely audible, it forced me to listen and imagine.
The darkened setting reminded me of the slightly musty and intriguing interior of an aging local history museum, and the sound treatment of that process where homeopaths serially dilute a substance until very little of the original agent is left. A filtering where only a memory of the original remains. (more…)
A nice sized group of enthusiastic sound-ista’s turned up – thank you Bag Factory .
I introduced the group to a range of simple listening tools such as bottles to use as resonators for listening to vibration. Then we set off to explore the surrounding Fordsburg neighbourhood to search for hidden and unexpected sounds.
The ‘new adventure’ in this blog title refers to the excitement I felt and encountered during a sound workshop I recently ran for deaf theater makers.
Sometime back, somewhat inspired by the deaf musician Evelyn Glennie, I approached Jayne Batzofin from the theater group FTH:K with the idea of creating a soundtrack for a deaf audience. In the process of discussion she invited me to run a workshop for the group’s deaf trainees.
Well the workshop ran well. Very well. One of those really amazing paradigm shifting moments in life where you realise that things are not as you thought they were!
The workshop in pictures:
This coming week I’m going up to Johannesburg to take part in an exhibition at the Bag Factory. It opens on Wednesday night(4th July). And I’ll also be running a workshop on the 7th July (details here).
Sounding Out deals with contemporary music and visual art. A rarity on the South African experimental scene, I’m looking forward to this gathering of sound artists and sound thinking people.
When the show’s curator Kim Gurney approached me in March of this year, I considered a number of ideas which I’ve been experimenting with, but each seemed too noisy. An odd thing for a sound artist to say you might wonder? Well my thinking was that any idea worth pursuing would need to take into consideration the possibility of there being a number of noisy artists in one room.
So I decided to take a silent approach and create something which could be used to listen with – to the works on the show as well as other sounds in the building.
Eventually I came up with a modified hearing instrument, in some ways similar to my Kone Phones, but durable and much more useful. I’m very happy with the resulting Ear Shells.
Here’s me sporting the first model I made.
The listening experience is something like covering your ears with shells, (more…)