Week 3 was rough for me as I wasn’t in a good headspace, which impacted my uni work. I however did manage to attend the class and do some work and research on the side, although not as much as I would have wanted.
The Friday class was focused around site-specific art. The most interesting thing that came out of the lecture was that some artists argue that their pieces lose all meaning, or ‘are killed’, if they’re taken out of the space they were meant to be in. This is not something I had thought of before – I find many art galleries extremely stale, with beautiful pieces hung up on white walls without any real symbiosis with the environment around them. Here are some more notes from the lecture:
We also made a quick collage with the intent of getting ideas and feelings out of us and onto paper. I started off being selective with the images but I then started picking anything I resonated with within the context of that week and of the ideas I’ve had for IP. Again, it was good to see how different we all are as artists and people, with the variety of images and shapes used in each collage.
Research and experimentation
Given that I am heading towards a project that involves producing sound, I want to be able to produce interesting sounds and expand my ability and curiosity into editing and making audio. I decided to finally learn Ableton Live (a music production software used by thousands of professionals). Sampling is new to me and I realize now how difficult it is and why hip-hop producers get so much credit. I’ve been looking at music by Madlib, J Dilla, Knxwledge, Metal Fingers, The Alchemist, among others. They all have their own techniques and ways of discovering and playing with other artists’s songs. I also played more with Audacity and discovered a cool tool called the Paulstretch:
it turns audio like this:
Dark, ethereal, perfect for ambient sound projects.
My main idea for the self-directed project is that of making an instrument. I continued doing research into instrument creators and found some very interesting projects, some of which are actually doable (unlike other stuff I have researched that would be nearly impossible to achieve in the space of a few weeks). Dust to Digital is a website and instagram account I have been using to discover music through songs or projects.
Thanks to Dust on Digital, I found two artists that are involved in instrument-making site-specific sound art.
Sky Macklay created the Harmonitree, an inflatable tree-shaped plastic bag that is fitted with harmonicas. These produce sound both when the bag is inflated but also when the tree is hugged. I find this really beautiful and I like how hugging it is the only way for humans to play it, and how it alludes to tree-hugging and the appreciation of the natural world. https://www.designboom.com/art/inflatable-tree-installation-harmonica-hug-sky-macklay-08-10-2023/
Honeypaw is a duo that is also involved in furthering our appreciation for the natural world through the integration of music in nature. They created the tree harp: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bzzbJnnleII&t=3s
The class about site-specific art also reminded me I need to integrate whatever I make into an appropriate site. I was made aware of the bell in Aberdovey that is played by the sea, much like the Sea Organ in Zadar (Croatia). I find this fascinating: the idea of a human-made, but not human-played, instrument.