“Sound can be a huge source of inspiration; it triggers our imagination and prompts action. Unlike image, which remains superficial, sound puts us right in the middle of our environment and brings us deeper to the core” – Raquel Castro.
As previously discussed, I’ve possessed a continuous distaste at the pressure to place meaning upon my work, instead arguing a “romanticist approach” insisting on being able to appreciate and see value within the aesthetic content without the turmoil of a deeper meaning.
However, when it came to this project, I found it caught me in a perfect moment of musing on my current situation of being away from home, university and Aberystwyth in general. I’ve felt out of place for a while in constant discussion with myself in preferred isolation, finding difficulty to settle and find content within my current situation. This led me to discover the review ‘ “Take a River Walk with the “Sound on Mystic” Audio Installation ‘ by Ashira Morris, in which she discusses the artist Charles Shadle and his audio installation exploring music derived from the sounds of nature.
Truthly, I was inspired not by the product itself but the cause of it.
Covid-19 and ‘the senior lecturer in music at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology was working from home—a place he had never composed before—and felt stuck. His regular walks along the river became an anchoring ritual and source of inspiration,’ claiming “I was turning inward, but the natural world was saying ‘no.’” (Morris, 2021) This introspection encouraged me to review my current environment with a hyperfocus on what I’m hearing in the moments when I’m feeling comfortable, content and inspired as a way to combat my current negative mindset towards Aberwyswyth.
As a result, I’ve recorded three separate environments: The living room while my flatmates and I play video games, The silence of my bedroom while I lay in bed, and the sound of the sea at night while I sit by the beach.
This week’s lecture proved equally useful in establishing the use and perception of sound within my work. To begin with, when looking into Alan Licht and reviewing his description of sound art being placed amongst three categories:
- An installed sound environment defined by the space (and or acoustic space) rather than time and can be exhibited as a visual artwork would be.
- A visual artwork with a sound-producing function, such as sound sculpture.
- Sound by visual artists serves as an extension of the artist’s particular aesthetics, generally expressed in other media.
Alongside Michel Choin’s theory on the three modes of listening:
- Casual = which you’re doing to understand the source of the sound. (e.g., to decipher whether that bang was a firework or gunshot)
- Semantic = referring to the mode of listening when acknowledging linguistics (e.g., morse code)
- Reduced = Involving the dissection of a sound to acknowledge, appreciate and examine the individual qualities such as tone and pitch (the concept and method were coined by not Choin but Pierre Schaffer, a sound artist, composer and theorist.
Finally, the activity in which we were encouraged to tune our sense of hearing and examine how we listen to our surroundings, for example, who do we listen to?
To conclude, I found all of these elements of the lecture helpful in picturing how I wish to move forward with this project, confirming I want imagery of the location to go alongside the audio, preferably in the form of a multi-media collage as an acknowledgement of my comments from week one and to expand my skill set in addition to how I view the quality of my work.
Morris, A. (2021, May 15). Take a River Walk with the “Sound on Mystic” Audio Installation. Boston Art Review. October 17, 2023, https://bostonartreview.com/reviews/sound-on-mystic-ashira-morris/