Lines Squiggles and Webs

PART ONE OF A TWO-PART WORKSHOP ( Saturday 30 April, next Saturday 28 May)

The main ideas of the cross-disciplinary workshop are to investigate visual responses to music/sound, look at improvisation and explore the fine line between chaos and coherence. Soon into the workshop, we joined Carla by making along with music and exploring the stimulation of the music in our way of creating/making.

Ideas that touched me around improvisation:

Time stood out in this experience – how music can change our perception of time, for the audience/viewer and the performer/artist. I like the idea of capturing a moment and how we represent it. It is about being in ‘real time’.

Being spontaneous was addressed: how we work and live with it. Thinking about my decision-making process in these moments – how does it happen? I do doubt myself and over think certain things, but I can also be spontaneous in my making and search for learning opportunities rather that best outcomes.

Talking about silence – knowing when to …listen, that less is more….just because you can, should you? Using ideas about other people as inspiration

Ideas of repetition – a fundamental decision is how we repeat and how we are open to freedom. Now one see how chaos and coherence come to play.

How do we think about memory?

It is also clear that tutor Carla Rees loves challenges and improvisation. I know she is an accomplished flutes specialist, performer, composer and educator. It became clear that she works exploratively and believes in collaborations.

Our group, who will be collaborating is named after the female composer Errollyn Wallen. As a composer, Wallen has a very wide repertoire of compositions, and we chose to look at her work called Daedalus. She composed Daedalus in 2012 to serve as the opening and closing theme for a BBC drama, One Night. Daedalus was composed for mezzo-soprano and string quartet, and the length is 8 minutes. When I searched for the score for this piece I read that it was originally composed for voice and piano.

Daedalus was a Greek mythological character who made wings for his son, Icarus. He told his son not to fly too near the sun, the wax on the wings would melt. The son ignored his warning, fell into the sea, and drowned. Wallen wrote the song from Daedalus’ perspective and alluded to a murder he committed earlier when he was threatened by his apprentice and nephew, Perdix whom he thought could overshadow his own talents for inventing. Daedalus murdered Perdix.

We decided that each will make at least a 1-minute video of drawing and recording of drawing sounds. These videos will then be shared with Vivianne by 14 May 2022. Vivianne will combine this into a video work with audio which should be around 4min long.

My making

I continued to develop a previous work but used the music as a form of quiet listening whilst making. I had headphones on whilst doing the work, which was done over a period of time during a session in my studio, which I followed up on the next day. I am working with the idea of mycelium or mycorrhizal fungi and how the hyphae collaborate. Sheldrake writes about “…hyphae travelled into knots and coils. This wasn’t sex……But it was sexy.” I realise by now that I am working with scale, making something very small and intricate into an imagined upscaled work. I believe this is spontaneous making….my improvisation.

My making explored fragile Japanese paper sheets, 70 x 128cm each, and a very explorative way of drawing by imagining mycelium running underground, unseen. I use frottage with acrylic ink to put a layer down. I hear music and the sounds of the charcoal on the paper support – I feel the music keeps me at the moment. I continued to finish this work as part of a series and used the music and learning as my experience to make work. I decided to name this work: This wasn’t sex, after Merlin Sheldrake, 2022.

Group effort:

I made a video to share with the rest and add to our collaborative effort.

Our group all made their own work, with video and shared it with one group member, Vivian, who agreed to put it all together. Our next meeting will be Sunday 22 May at 19:00GMT . The group video after all editing can be seen here, as it was done by another member of our group, Vivian Spry:

This was a great opportunity for personal learning and working with students from different study areas, as well as being guided by Carla, a musician. I could use my knowledge and understanding of painting and drawing to learn new skills by opening up to ideas around visual responses to sound. I am so aware of where I work in my studio – I am almost always surrounded by the natural sounds of birdsong or sheep blaring. I enjoy music and would like to employ sound in future work. These group sessions became a safe place to share and transfer skills between students.

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