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Test-Pitting with Zoë Strachan

Zoë Strachan and I had a two-week residency at Glasgow Project Room in April/May 2022.

In our residency we were engaging in a process of ‘test-pitting’ to develop new work around themes of excavation as a means of opening an aperture onto fragile lines of connection between inner and outer landscapes.

In archaeology a test-pit is a trial, a delving in to reveal layers, fragments of artefacts, the potential of a site of enquiry. It enables a snapshot of composition and decomposition, of life cycle and decay in the earth. Grids and tracing map the process.

We shared some work-in-progress at the end of the residency in an event that included an informal performance and Q+A chat.

Zoë and I have an ongoing collaboration making sound art works and experimental radio combining newly written and found text, composed sound, field recordings, found sound, voice and improvisation.

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Radiophrenia and Mobile Radio

Mobile Radio residency – Glasgow Calling Scale
In collaboration with Radiophrenia and the Goethe Institut Glasgow ‘Mobile Radiophrenia’ is a cultural exchange and radio residency that will result in five new live broadcast works. The artist duo Mobile Radio (Sarah Washington & Knut Aufermann) from Ürzig in Germany have been invited over to work with five Glasgow based artists or artist duos on an intensive daily collaboration that culminates in a live radio performance at 5pm each day. The performances have been devised within the following framework:

Mobile Radio residency – Glasgow Calling Scale live with Nichola Scrutton – 17 February 2022  5:00 pm – 5:30 pm

‘Glasgow Calling Scale: a verbal response series in five parts’
There are five grades starting with the most musical:

Mon 14th Feb – No verbal response
Eothen Stearn, Lady Neptune, Knut Aufermann, Sarah Washington.

Tues 15th Feb – Incomprehensible sounds
Elina Bry, Knut Aufermann, Sarah Washington.

Weds 16th Feb – Inappropriate words
Cindy Islam, Knut Aufermann, Sarah Washington.

Thurs 17th Feb – Confused
Nichola Scrutton, Knut Aufermann, Sarah Washington.

Fri 18th Feb – Oriented
Rebecca Wilcox, Hannah Ellul, Knut Aufermann, Sarah Washington.

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Salt Cellar | Zoë Strachan

Salt Cellar is an experimental radio work. Zoë Strachan and I first performed Salt Cellar as a live-to-air broadcast on Radiophrenia, 11th February 2022, in the Creative Lab at the CCA Glasgow.

Programme Note

What is a prompt? It’s an inciting, a bringing forth, an augury, an urge, a bringing to light. In this live to broadcast performance, Nichola Scrutton and Zoë Strachan employ a cootie catcher (also known as a salt cellar) to provoke a series of discreet but interlinked improvisations based on texts, photographs and physical objects. Thus they seek to enact an archaeology of embodied memory within the palimpsest of a time-limited performance space.  

Zoë and I collaborate to make sound art/experimental radio combining newly written and found text, composed sound, field recordings, found sound, voice and improvisation.

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Memory | Dream | Encounter Micro-Commissions

In another thread of my Night Vision research and development, I responded to the main text through a series of improvised drawings. I photographed fragments of the larger drawings in process and used the images as a prompt, a connecting point, a spring board for dialogue.

In a series of micro-commissions, I invited composers/sound artists Ruth Wiesenfeld, Elisabetta Senesi, Dafna Naphtali, Julia Drouhin and Claire Docherty to create miniature sound compositions using the visual prompts. The umbrella title is Memory | Dream | Encounter. The sound compositions stand alone as individual works and as a collection.

On 31st August 2021 the six composers met in a virtual gathering to listen together, discuss the works and creative process. The collection of works were first broadcast on Radiophrenia at 9pm on 13th February 2022.

Many thanks indeed to:

Claire Docherty – Pulse dream fragment For Una MacGlone (bass) & Emma Roche (flute) (3’23)
Dafna Naphtali- Striations (3′)
Elisabetta Senesi – Under the Surface (3’50)
Julia Drouhin – Mer4 (3’50)
Nichola Scrutton – Gestures (3’44)
Ruth Wiesenfeld – the wool from which the ribbons were made (3’54)

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hyphæ drawing collective

One of ten artist who formed the hyphæ drawing collective. The collective met online during the lockdown of early 2021, through the inaugural Drawing Correspondence development programme (Feb 2021). Read more about hyphæ drawing collective at our website, where you can also contact us and sign up for our newsletter. We are also on social media a Instagram @hyphaedrawing 



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Giant Tank Pot Luck at Tusk TV

I was delighted to be invited into a duo with Manuel Padding for Giant Tank’s Pot Luck, which was aired on TUSK TV on 6th August 2021. Big thanks to Manuel, and to Ali and Collette for hosting – connect to Giant Tank on their FB page – Giant Tank Facebook

Our duo track is available as part of TUSK Editions #5 – download the album at TUSK Festival’s TUSK Editions Bandcamp.

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Up Closeness | Zoë Strachan

Zoë Strachan and I continue our exploration of performing live experimental radio artwork. Up Closeness is a dialogue between two green urban spaces, a close look at the local. An attempt to find small connections amid the dislocation from everyday life. Field recordings and voice sounds are combined with found and composed text to animate distinct temporal spaces. Live improvisation and embedded writing practice enact a mimetic re-inhabiting of space.

We first performed Up Closeness as a live broadcast at Radiophrenia Glasgow on 20th November 2020 in CCA Glasgow.

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Radio Play | Ian Spink

Radio Play, Unfix Festival

Delighted to be working with Ian Spink, Aya Kobayashi, Skye Reynolds, Selina Boyack and Stella Boyack to develop Radio Play. The immediate focus was a scratch performance for UNFIX Festival 2019. Here’s more info about the event on Sunday 31st March at CCA Glasgow Scratch Night. We re-visited the work for Batch2 Festival In August 2019.

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Rays & Correlations | Zoë Strachan

Zoë Strachan and I created Rays & Correlations  for a live broadcast from the Radiophrenia studio on 15th May 2019. This is our third collaborative radio artwork. Previous works are In Transit and Static Flux. 

Rays & Correlations

Inspired by the patterns of cosmic ray interactions in a cloud chamber, we imagine the myriad signals and attempts at communication that might enter a sphere and intersect, cluster, miss or fade away. Rays & Correlations is a voice-focused improvised performance with layers of interactive soundscape.

The listener is invited to find a thread to hold onto amid interweaving sparse and dense streams of words and evocations – and to decide whether the sound space is literal, as inside a kind of radome, or metaphorical – representing any individual consciousness trying to make sense of human connection.

 

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Co-commission – Outspoken Arts

Love Street – The Musical

Love Street Paisley ExpressMartin O’Connor and I collaborated once again  on a co-commission from Outspoken Arts Scotland. We were invited to develop a proposal for a  new theatre production in Paisley called Love Street – The Musical. We spent two months  out and about visiting organisations and gathering stories from people in Paisley who have memories and connections to Love Street.

Love Street research
Research at Paisley Heritage Centre

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Beton 7 Festival in Athens

Demosthenes

Q+A

Gallery Screening

Festival Opening

We were delighted to be invited to share work for the opening night of  Beton 7 Festival in Athens on 4th June 2018. The event included an introduction by curator Demosthenes Agrafiotis, my solo performance When Night Comes, screening of Wendy Kirkup’s two films Touches Bloquees and film from a score, and a Q + A session in conversation with Simon Murray.

Festival dates: 5th – 17th June 2018. Festival theme: “Visions-V_Ideas, Performances”…

“Visions-V_ideas, Performances” celebrates 5 years since its launch at BETON7. In April 2014, it was stated that the set of actions of the festival aimed at exploring the interface between performance and video in the specific frame of the Votanikos neighbourhood – the site of BETON7, Center for the Arts.

When Night Comes 4

A review may be necessary, not in the sense of a conclusion but an assessment for future adjustments. According to a terminology, performance is at the crossroad of the living arts (arts vivants), which rely on the human body as the main tool, in order to found its artistic idiosyncrasy or specificity (dance for example) and the visual arts, where physical elements allow to shape primarily spatial structures (e.g. sculpture). At this crossroad, the video is entering, which is the field, the opportunity to create a new version of what is happening at the aforementioned crossroad from aesthetic and social point of view.”

Many thanks indeed to Rania and Demosthenes for their invitation, welcome and warm hospitality.

 

 

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Static Flux at Hidden Door Festival

Static Flux 2 Nichola and Zoë

Zoë Strachan and I performed Static Flux at the Hidden Door Festival in Edinburgh on 29th May 2018.

Hidden Door Festival:  hiddendoorblog.org
Our FB page: FB event page

Static Flux is a sonic seance! In this spoken word/sound piece Zoë and I are exploring narrative and time through chance encounters with remnants, fragments and the ephemera of past lives. The performance was originally created for a live studio broadcast for Radiophrenia in 2017.

Hidden Door brings lost Leith venues to life with 2018 line-up

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The Mark of the Beast review

***** (The Herald)

Read the review online

Presented by Martin O’Connor and Platform
Written and Performed by Martin O’Connor

With Nichola Scrutton and the North East Recovery Community
Platform, Easterhouse 13th-15th April
The Scottish Storytelling Centre 19th April

Creative Team:
Martin O’Connor – Writer and Performer
Nichola Scrutton – Composition/Sound Design
Fergus Dunnet – Set Design
Hana Allen – Stage Management
Davie Green – Lighting Design
Alan McKendrick – Directing Support
Eoin Carey – Image and Production Photography

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Corner Corner Volta Flip | Kate Briggs

Corner Corner Volta Flip 2

I was delighted to collaborate on the audio form for Kate Briggs written piece Corner Corner Volta Flip, which was part of ‘How Forms Live’ at the Mitchell Library for Glasgow International Festival of Visual Art. The work was set up as a headphone installation in the Poet’s Corner.

Read more about Corner Corner Volta Flip

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The Mark of the Beast | Martin O’Connor

Mark of the Beast 1

The Mark of the Beast – a collaboration as composer/sound artist with writer/theatre-maker Martin O’Connor that explores lived experience of alcohol and addiction in Glasgow.

Between November 2015 and March 2016, Martin and I worked with the North East Recovery Community to create materials for a sound installation Good Days Bad Days.  I composed a ‘soundtrack’ from the many voices/stories of participant’s experiences that was projected as an immersive installation at Platform Glasgow. The work was commissioned by GEAC Platform-to-Health and GRAND (Getting Real About Alcohol n Drugs).

The installation was research and development for Martin’s live solo show The Mark of the Beast , for which I re-composed the Good Days Bad Days material in 2018.

***** The Herald (Platform Glasgow)
**** The Wee Review (Scottish Storytelling Centre, Edinburgh)

 

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Rough Breathing | Alex South

Through the Rough Breathing project I have been collaborating with clarinettist Alex South to investigate the role and use of breath as an improvising tool in live performance. Our collaborative exploration to date has focused on a) the psychoacoustic and sonic relationships between voice and clarinet, and b) breath and bodily breathing processes as potential material and/or structural devices within free improvisation. One line of inquiry, for example, centres on how the breath might sculpt the dynamic flow of sound-making in performance.

With early exploratory performances at The Glad Cafe and Sharmanka Kinetic Theatre (many thanks John Cavanagh), the work was further supported and developed through a CCA/AC Projects Residency in the Creative Lab at CCA 2018  and Tectonics Festival 2019.

In 2020, Rough Breathing was shortlisted for the Scottish Awards for New Music Ism Prize for Collaboration.

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Sonic Bothy Inclusive New Music

I am delighted to have been working with Sonic Bothy  Ensemble since January 2014. Sonic Bothy was founded by creative director Claire Docherty, and explores, composes and performs experimental and contemporary music.

I post occasional updates – read more in News or click on the Sonic Bothy tag.

For more information on Sonic Bothy Ensemble, and all the charity’s activities, please visit Sonic Bothy’s website

 

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One Hundred Tiny Glass Brains Waking Up | Sarah Tripp

One Hundred Tiny Glass Brains Waking Up

Listen out for Sarah Tripp’s Radiophrenia commission online or at 87.9fm. First transmission is at 6pm on 14th Nov 2017 with a repeat broadcast at 6pm on 15th Nov.

“One Hundred Glass Brains Waking Up is a fictional conversation between two people who begin as strangers. Without any prior social bonds they discover they are free to make each other up. This is escapist fiction pared back to two people in a room looking for a way out of social stultification.”

Performed by: Brighton Upton Trust
Composed by: Nichola Scrutton

 

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Static Flux | Zoë Strachan

Zoë and Nichola

Static Flux is a radio and performance collaboration with writer Zoë Strachan. The work was initially produced as a live studio broadcast for Radiophrenia in 2017 and then subsequently selected for a live performance at  Hidden Door Festival  2018.

Radiophrenia 2017
Static Flux
 
focuses on out-of-time memory states, and how they can be both static and in flux. We are interested in exploring narrative and time through chance encounters with remnants, fragments and the ephemera of past lives. Metaphors for our endeavour include the remnants found in second-hand bags and the pockets of clothing, or in notes scribbled on the back of black and white photographs. There is a melancholy air to these things, but as with any kind of haunting, also the potential for fear, and for deeper connections with our own sense of mortality.

 

 

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Building a Nation | Martin O’Connor

Building A Nation eflyerCollaboration as composer/sound designer with writer/theatre-maker Martin O’Connor on his solo show Togail Nàisean/Building a Nation. We toured as part of a double bill with Aisling Oidhche Meadhan Samhraidh/A Midsummer Nights Dream (performed by Daibhidh Walker, directed by Liz Carruthers).

The tour visited venues in  Lewis, North Uist, South Uist, Skye, Isle of Mull, Glasgow, Edinburgh. In 2018 the work had a performance at Tramway, Glasgow. Read more about it at Martin’s website here.

 

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Sonic Bothy Updates 2017

Sonic Bothy Review

Sonic Bothy Glass-instruments
Photo courtesy of Sonic Bothy.

Sonic Bothy Ensemble’s first gig of 2017 at Mono in Glasgow gets a wonderful review from The Cusp Magazine. Read the full review here

Sonic Bothy recording 1

Sonic Bothy Ensemble have been in residence at Riverside studios recording tracks for a forth coming album.

Paritor Award – Sonic Bothy was one of several Glasgow Life/City Council partnered projects submitted to the National Music Council Awards, and received the Paritor Award for New Music in Education. Read more about the Paritor Award and other winners at the National Music Council website.

Sonic Bothy Ensemble, Sound Festival

Performances include: Recital Rooms, City Halls, Glasgow, Mono, Glasgow, CCA, Glasgow, UNLIMITED, Tramway, Glasgow, ISME conference, RCS, Glasgow, SOUND Festival, Aberdeen, Atelier Public #2, GoMA, Glasgow, Counterflows Festival, The Glad Café, Glasgow

More Information

For more information on Sonic Bothy Ensemble, and all the charity’s activities, please visit Sonic Bothy’s website.