I was thrilled to be selected for a six-week Sura Medura residency with UZ Arts from October to December 2016. The Sura Medura residency on this occasion was being hosted in Hikkaduwa, Sri Lanka. My fellow artists were Natasha Russell and Sumit Sarkar, and two other artists arrived later in the residency – Martin Janicek and Samson Ogiamien. Early experience after arrival was a whirlwind of sensations and there was definitely a process of settling into Sunbeach and adjusting – heat, humidity, sounds, smells, surf, swimming, dogs, jungle, mozzies, food, walks, and meeting many warm friendly folk along the way sharing experiences, tips and ideas.
As part of the residency we travelled to Colombo and gave presentations to staff and students in the University Faculty of Visual and Performing Arts in week 3. 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.
Thinking about soundscapes
The sound environment is generally very dense and I spent quite a bit of time actively listening and drawing.The area has two main aspect – beach and jungle – 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. 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. I created two soundscape pieces – Sabda saha Pintura and Wave Shift.
In week five we hosted a Moving Out public event at Sunbeach as part of the Colombo Art Biennale, which was a big success. And actually it was on my birthday so an extra cake was involved at the end of the night. Read a bit more info on that at Moving Out. Finally, we had a trip up to Colombo for the opening of the Biennale. I also had been invited to perform/score a film clip at the opening as part of Video Jam. More info on that at Video Jam…
Huge thanks to Neil and all at UZ Arts, Chaminda, Chathura, Hasantha, Kari and all at Sunbeach, Maria and Jack, my fellow artists-in-residence, everyone I met.