Radio Art Zone broadcasts from 18th June – 25th September 2022
I’m delighted to be one of 100 artists creating a 22-hour programme for Radio Art Zone’s 100-day programme for Esch 2022 European Capital of Culture. My show is called Dream Stream. Radio Art Zone is a project by Radio Ara and Mobile Radio. Read more and find out how to listen at https://radioart.zone
Dream Stream – 22nd August 2022
Dream Stream weaves together field recordings, voice, fragments of text, visualisations, stories, performance and archive materials in a sonic contemplation of inner / outer landscapes. The sound of water is a thread across the whole duration. From that constantly shifting ‘surface’, various other sound worlds emerge and recede in a transient dream-like encounter. Read more at https://radioart.zone/monday-22-august
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.
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.
I’m really thrilled to share news of this PRS Foundation Open Fund for Music Creators Award to record an album for release in 2022. Label and other info will follow in due course. Thanks so much – this is very exciting!
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.
From the archive – Bruised was my first solo performance work, made in the early 1990s as part of a collaborative project Segami Dance Company with New Zealand performer Hugh Major. Read more at Segami. I am currently going through archive materials to see what remains from that time.
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.
I was delighted to be selected for a residency at Q-O2 in Brussels for two weeks May/June 2019. See more info at Q-O2. Part of my priority was to reflect on Night Vision – a new work-in-progress originally developed at Rough Mix Residency with Magnetic North Theatre Company. While I was there I also made some recordings, explored some visual artwork as an extension of the Night Vision text and, and gave an improvised performance with cellist Arnold Noid Haberl as part of a public sharing at the Q-O2 space.
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.
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.
Martin 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.
Night Vision (working title) is a body of work in development.
The starting point was a series of texts captured in the middle of the night lying down in a semi-conscious state over a two-year period (2017-19). This was a new approach for me as a composer.
Many thanks to writer Em Strang – an early reader of a random, unfiltered selection of the texts. Em’s generous response gave me encouragement to trust my instincts in pursuing the work.
Early inquiries focused on investigating the text, making selections and initial thoughts about how to interact with the texts in performance. In 2019, I had the opportunity to explore those seed ideas in a Magnetic North Rough Mix Residency. The work-in-progress was aired in a public performance at Perth Theatre, Scotland.
I am delighted to say that in early 2021 I was awarded Creative Scotland funding to develop the next phase of the project over a six month period. A few threads are now unfolding, including a more substantial ensemble work for performance (which takes the title Night Vision), as well as a solo recording project, drawings/visual compositions, and micro-commissions.
I will link to more information here in the coming months, and I’m posting occasional updates on social media – you can connect there too if it’s of interest, details are on the Contact page…
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 installationwas 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.
Collaboration 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.
Wave Shift was originally an experimental audiovisual collaboration with artist and illustrator Natasha Russell in response to the ideas and situations we encountered on the UZ Arts Sura Medura Residency in Sri Lanka. Natasha and I were in residence from October – December 2016, along with Sumit Sarkar and other visiting artists. Following the installation I re-worked Wave Shiftinto a stand alone composition.
During our post-residency collaboration, Natasha and I were interested in the way an understanding of the experience of a place shifts over time, between people, even at the drop of a hat. We decided to weave decaying memories, slippery facts and shifting folklores through sound and print to form a portable set that melts place and atmosphere into an imaginary landscape.
Integrating with the structure and printed visual landscape with the set, my Wave Shift audio was projected into the space as an immersive, abstract, evocative soundscape. Source materials for the work included a selection of field recordings captured during the residency and vocal sound recordings. Both the main thread of sound that underpinned the work, composed with a series of hydrophonerecordings, and the form, which unfolds as a series of wave-like emergences, draw on myriad notions of water as a bridge between real and fictional landscapes.
The installation was exhibited in 2017 at Sura Medura Exhibition, The Briggait, Glasgow and then Summerhall, Edinburgh
The final stage of our residency was focused on preparing for our Moving Out event. The other artists involved were Natasha Russell, Sumit Surkar, Samson Ogiamien, and Rose Staff. On the day, we were thrilled to have a big local crowd join us, and delighted that 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.
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!). In our exhibition, which combined some finished elements and work-in-progress, my sound work Sabda saha Pintura was available as a headphone installation.
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 tukand take a short round trip to visit Natasha’s work in local shops accompanied by my soundtrack.
The soundtrack combined recordings I gathered from those shopkeepers 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. Big thanks to Sudu and Chinthaka for running the tours.
Early evening, 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. The evening finished with a fantastic Sri Lankan curry banquet.
Big 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.
Sabda saha Pintura is a sound collage composed on site during the six-week Sura Medura residency with UZ Arts in Sri Lanka using a selection of field recordings captured early in the residency. Repetition and fast cut edits try at the same time to capture something of the sensory experience on arrival in Hikkaduwa and reveal detail in a dense sound world. Sabda saha Pintura had its first airing as a headphone installation at Moving Out for the Colombo Art Biennale in November 2016.
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.
I am delighted to have been invited by Dominique Balaÿ to curate a programme for broadcast on WebSYNradio from 16th – 30th June 2016. Alongside a selection of my own works are compositions by Alistair MacDonald, Bethan Parkes, Luca Nasciuti and Mark Vernon – big thanks to them for contributing.