I_P_5 – Week 1

I will begin this week with the ExperimentationResearchReflection triangle which points me in the direction of reflection on the work that has preceded this point in my artistic journey at SoA. I have encountered many new things, most importantly the remit to experiment, explore and have fun.

Year 1

The first Interdisciplinary Practice module was a real treat as I found myself immersed in creative practice and conceptual process.

musicalandscape was an enjoyable and fruitful re-purposing experiment, lacking a real reason beyond “that’s what happened”… being new to a process based approach I dived into the project with few expectations and lots of discovery. The artwork I created was based on using a found object – a piano roll, and I found this such a rewarding object which helped me experiment in all kinds of ways. The piano roll became a new landscape and that landscape became a musical score and that musical score became the backdrop for a new environment. It is a beautiful, aesthetic triumph that could have been presented more effectively with a 90 foot sculpture, moving lights and ambient sound fields.

musicalandscape – Tim Beckham © 2019

I was invited to exhibit the piece in the Winter Show 2019. This was a gratifying invitation and a great ending to my first semester.

Year 2

My second year featured two semesters of Interdisciplinary practice. The modules were based on a theme, firstly nature, and secondly, animal.

The first project, static/dynamic was my first real video excursion. This was another fun experiment in presenting ideas with visual and audible elements. Again, the question “Why?” comes to mind. I did learn the joy of the tripod, though. I liked the premise of alternate views… is it a tree or is it me? Still or moving?

I felt I worked within the broad brief very effectively. The acorn project that Miranda set helped me to formulate the idea of presenting opposing perceptions of moving and being still, how our nature governs these perceptions and how we might interpret and respond to opposing viewpoints.

The video is meditative, stimulating, thought-provoking, humorous and visually intriguing. I enjoyed sinking into the concept, trying to avoid cliché and working with communication of message. I presented it at the Winter Show 2020 along with a reversed version, which bookended the whole online extravaganza. I felt some pride in being at the beginning and the end of the show.

The second semester presented me with the theme of animal. I was tasked with creating an imaginary animal to develop and this became the buz fox. Named after a hand built, custom fuzz pedal made for me by a reunited friend, the buz fox became the focal point for a lot of marvellous work and experiences.

Conversation Pieces was a step forward in terms of concept, process and productivity. The project enabled me to connect a range of elements together into a multi-stranded, cohesive project. I felt like an alchemist, at times. I was able to pull together many of my interests and areas of experience: music, sound art, recording, visual arts, teaching, performing, composing, improvising, etc. The project covered a lot of ground, from audio recording and manipulation to graphic scores to language and communication to group work and audience participation.

I delivered a three hour workshop with my group via Zoom which I felt had been a big success. I’m sure that the participants enjoyed at least one part of the various activities and took away something useful from the experience. The workshop idea has got potential for expansion and development. It “has legs”, it could run and run!

After the workshop, I composed a trio of audio animal conversations made from the recordings of the sound conversations of the workshop participants. These were presented as individual sound compositions during the Spring Show 2021. I really felt I had achieved something important for me on my path through this course of “higher education”. I consider it to be my best work so far. Everything connected in a magical way and looking back on the work done I really did cover a lot of ground.

Throughout my work so far, I notice an absence of the “environmental/ecological issues” focus, despite being involved in the themes of nature and animal. Not very trendy, really. I’ll have to see what I can do this time around.

This semester the theme is JOURNEY. Another vast ocean to draw a droplet from.

As a continuation of my interest in electronics, my current obsession is electro-magnetic fields (EMF) and my journey to discover “the sound behind the silence”. All electronic equipment emits EMF radiation and it’s possible to use a simple device to hear the sounds of EMF. I found information and a schematic for such a device called the Elektrosluch, designed by sound artist, inventor and composer, Jonáš Gruska and decided to try and build one. There are a few examples of the device online as the designer has graciously made his schematic open-source. There are instructions on how to make your own version of the Elektrosluch here: https://makezine.com/projects/weekend-project-sample-weird-sounds-electromagnetic-fields/

I found the diagram below here: http://subwoofersub.blogspot.com/2018/02/elektrosluch.html

PARTS LIST:

  1. PCB Board
  2. 1kΩ 1% metal Resistor x2
  3. 100kΩ 1 % metal Resistor x2
  4. 390kΩ 1 % metal Resistor x2
  5. 2.2µF 10V Capacitor x4
  6. 100µF 10V Capacitor x2
  7. 2.2mH Vertical type Inductor x2
  8. IC Socket, 8 pin DIL x1
  9. Op-Amp IC chip (OPA2134) x1 
  10. Stereo Jack
  11. 9v battery and battery connector
  12. Hookup wire

I made a prototype on a breadboard, which didn’t work first time, but with a bit of fiddling I managed to get it sensing the EMF from my iPhone. I didn’t have all of the exact components, but it’s a promising start.

Elektrosluch prototype

Tutorial #1

My first tutorial was enjoyable, my enthusiasm was returned and my thinking was tightened by Miranda’s input. She told me that I need to find out the: what/who/where & define the purpose of the project. Yes, I do.

“my” acorn is turning into a real tree

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