(Sound field-work at a stone circle, Cumbria 2013)
My artworks sit between noise and music, utilising a myriad of sounds to construct ‘symphonies’, which draw our attention to the sounds of the world. Installations, sculpture, and performances attune the viewer’s ears to everyday, overlooked noise; whether it’s the interior of a medieval church, the howling wind, the distant cry of traffic, or the dormant hum emitted in our kitchens. My work is informed by developments in music during the 20th Century, particularly Russolo’s manifesto “Art of Noises” (1913), where the realm of music began to be influenced by the everyday sonic environment. The sound installations and performances amplify their immediate environment, or relocate environments audibly and through different objects, creating an event with a dimension of ‘affect’. The sheer intensity of the sound has a physical effect on the viewer, and draws connections and similarities between the sounds emitted by human-made objects, and by nature.
Through experimenting I have identified a drone (similar to drones used in Medieval and ancient Asian music): an underlying low frequency that resides as a constant motif within my work. The drone manifests in different ways, such as a church organ, the wind at an ancient stone circle, or a pure sine wave. The performances and sound installations are hymns, rituals and revealings of this drone, which is visually and audibly realised by the large horn-path black speaker cabinet in The Drone (2013).
My work uses, and at the same time questions, the use of traditional musical structures like score and rhythm, and embodies the Futurist’s call for the acknowledgment of the infinite array of noise in life. The work creates a tension by at the same time being a call back to the ancient status that sound used to possess – of mystery and having a religious purpose (Attali: 1977) – but also acknowledging the existence that sound and music now possess within digital space.