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Sura Medura 3

Moving Out Sunbeach
Sura Medura 3

The final stage of our residency was focused on preparing for our Moving Out event. Overall, the day at Sunbeach was a wonderful combination of visual art, sound, sculpture, video, performance, people, food, beer, Arrack sour, sea, sand, laughing, chatting, sharing…and cake (what a fabulous day for a birthday!).

We were thrilled to have a good local crowd join us for the day, and also delighted that so many people came down from the Colombo Biennale and the University Faculty of Visual and Performing Arts to join us for some or all of the time.

Listening Sabda Saha PinturaIn our exhibition, which combined some finished elements and work-in-progress, my sound work Sabda saha Pintura was available as a headphone installation. Notebook Entry

The title Sabda saha Pintura means sound and picture in Sinhalese – through much discussion this seemed to be the most apt translation for the collage idea I was working with in the piece. Exploring  differences in the English/Sinhalese languages was very intriguing – how or in what way  metaphors or concepts translate, for example, sound, soundscape, landscape,  environment.

During the afternoon an audiovisual tuk tuk tour was running – a collaboration between Natasha (Russell) and me. Three people at a time could hop into Sudu’s tuk tuk Tuk Tuk Tourand take a short round trip to visit Natasha’s work in local shops accompanied by my soundtrack. Big thanks to Sudu and Chinthaka for running the tours.

The soundtrack combined recordings I gathered from those shops – peopleSudu - Tuk Tuk Tour Driver introducing themselves and their businesses, shop sounds, etc – the general store, jewellers, barbers, a fruit and veg stall. I also recorded an introduction to the tour in Sinhalese, with pronunciation help from folk at Sunbeach.

Before a fantastic Sri Lankan curry banquet, I accompanied Samson Omiagien with some live vocals for his performance piece with sculpture, which we had rehearsed  in the lead up to the event.

Video Jam

Later in the final week we headed up the road for the Colombo Biennale. I was absolutely delighted to have been invited by Shereen Perera to perform a live score for Video Jam – an event running as part of the opening night. Video Jam Colombo Biennale

My film extract came from the beautifully strange, thoughtful film Light in the Yellow Breathing Space by Vimukthi Jayasundara.

I still have much to reflect on – such a wonderful thought-provoking time. Thanks to Neil and UZ, Chaminda, Chathura, Hasantha, Kari and all at Sunbeach, Maria and Jack, my fellow artists-in-residence, everyone I met.

Video Jam Video Clip

BANNERColombo Art Biennale - 2Video Jam Video Clip

Here’s a short clip from the Video Jam at the opening night of the Colombo Art Biennale. The link takes you through to the Facebook page of Decibel.lk – a Sri Lankan online news, reviews and events site…

Watch clip

Thanks to Decibel for that. And big thanks to Shereen Perera for inviting me to score for Video Jam.

Video Jam at CAB

VideoJam
Video Jam – Live Score/Performance

I am very excited to have been invited to create a live score for the Video Jam event on the opening night of the Colombo Art Biennale, Sri Lanka. I will be responding with a solo vocal performance to a beautiful clip of Sri Lankan film-maker Vimukthi Jayasundara’s Light in the Yellow Breathing Space. 

BANNERColombo Art Biennale - 2

The event is on 2nd December 2016 at the ZMax Fairway Hotel roof terrace and is part of the Colombo Biennale Performing Arts Programme.

Here’s the Facebook event .

Sura Medura 2

Sura Medura, Storm Brewing

Sura Medura 2

Sunbeach, where we are staying for the residency, is a great place and everyone is really helpful so eventually, after the first week, things settled down a bit.

In week 2 Sumit arrived so there was a bit of getting-to-know-you time, and the three of us chatted regularly. We discovered common and differing ways in our processes and practices, and endeavoured to understand how each wanted to work. Because we all had phases where we needed to work alone, the gatherings were particularly valuable and supportive.

Presentations

In week 3 we travelled to the University Faculty of Visual and Performing Arts in Colombo and shared our work in presentations with students and staff. That was a really good day – as well as meeting people, we were fortunate to be shown round all the art departments then had lunch before travelling back.

Process and Decision-making

With presentations done it was now time to develop a work. I decided early on that my maiSura Medura, Lightening Storm n tools for gathering actual sound material would be binaural microphones and a portable recorder. Part of my plan was to respond in different ways to the environment for future reinterpretation in sound, for example through spontaneous mark making, but I knew I definitely wanted to make a sound work for our forthcoming residency event later in November.

I realised quite quickly that that idea was a bit challenging – for one thing, I was conflicted about spending too much time composing at the computer when there was so much to explore and experience. The heat, humidity, mozzie bites and limited equipment threw in additional curves to negotiate. I also knew I wanted to do some kind of performance. I decided just to keep gathering and see what happened.

Thinking about soundscapes

The sound environment is generally very dense and I spent quite a bit of time actively listening and drawing. Sura Medura, JungleThe area is divided – beach side and jungle side – and each has its own distinct soundscape. On the beach side the sea roars continuously as the surf thunders in and on the jungle side the air is thick with heat, bird song, massive trees rustling and people going about their daily lives. Sura Medura, Train Nichola Scrutton A railway line runs between the two through much of the area and regular trains, horns and bells punctuate the air. In the mix are a whole rich array of sounds – the hollering voices of people selling at markets and on the street, the honking and revving of huge buses overtaking other vehicles at breakneck speed (treacherous), thunderstorms and torrential rain, intermittent firework eruptions, the bread, fish and other vans making melodic announcements and so on.

Developing a work

At some point, I started to sense rhythms and cycles, and this was to become a guiding feature of the sound/music. In the end, a piece emerged in a collage form, through which I tried to evoke an essence of this wonderful place. Sura Medura, Fish MarketI was initially concerned that the binaural recordings might be difficult to work with in this way because they were so dense but in actual fact they worked really well because the place and spatial content was so rich and varied. I could both cut between different sounds abruptly and find similarities that allowed me to morph from one sound to another. While doing this work I saw there was another strand I wanted to develop, working with voices, as well as continue with drawing/mark making – but that will come later. Ultimately there were many ideas…

Now it’s also time to start preparing for Moving Out and the Colombo Art Biennale…more on that in part 3.

Sura Medura 1

Coconuts After Annual Cut Back

So, here I am in Hikkaduwa, Sri Lanka for a six-week Sura Medura residency. I travelled out with Natasha Russell, one of the other artists on the residency, which worked out really well. We only met up once before leaving so it was a great opportunity to natter round our initial thoughts more. Fellow artist Sumit Sarkar arrived a couple of days ago. Another couple of artists will join at various points along the way.

The first week or so was a whirlwind of sensations…heat, humidity, sounds, smells, surf, swimming, dogs, jungle, mozzies, temples, food, walks meeting many warm friendly folk along the way…and chat – people sharing stories and offering tips, and us at Sura Medura sharing experiences and ideas. There was definitely a process of adjusting, settling in and finding the way around. Now various things are brewing but it’s still much more about experiencing and gathering at this point. We have presentations to share in Colombo early next week and a Moving Out event planned for 26th November as part of the Colombo Biennale 2016 here at Sunbeach. Exciting to see what will develop. I’ll return soon with news about how things are moving along. Now I think I’m finally arriving…

BBC Radio 3 Exposure

BBC Radio 3 Exposure

I’m very excited to be part of the first programme for a brand new BBC Radio 3 series – Exposure. The programme ‘explores the local alternative and underground music scenes’.

The live event is on 23rd September 2016 in Glasgow at the Glad Cafe. The programme will be broadcast on 29th September at 11 pm and available online for a month.

At First Light in installation

Tomorrow CAAA Installation

The ‘Tomorrow, Today will be Yesterday‘ collective sound/video art installation will be installed in Gallery #3 at the CAAA in Guimarães, Portugal  from 12th December 2015 until February 13th 2016 and includes my vocal work At First Light .

The artists involved are: Alfredo Costa Monteiro (PT/ES), Artificial Memory Trace (Slavek Kwi) (CZ/UK), Darius Ciuta (LT), Elisabetta-Senesi (IT), Fernando Ribeiro (PT), Iride Project – Massimo Davi & Monica Miuccio (IT/IE), John F. Barber (US), Juan Carlos Vasquez (CO/FI), Lin Culbertson (US), Loren Chasse (US), Luigi Morleo (IT), Luís Antero (PT), Manuel Rocha Iturbide (MX), Mathieu Ruhlmann (CA), MUfi.re (PT), Nichola Scrutton (UK), Nuno Miranda Ribeiro (PT), Osvaldo Cibils (UY/IT), Paul Collins (CA/FR), Philip Mantione (US), sonosFera (PT), Steve Roden (US), Takamitsu Ohta (JP), Una Lee (KR/UK).

Visit the CAAA Gallery website here.