I’m delighted that my sound composition Wave Shift will be playing on Radiophrenia on Saturday 18th November at 8.20 pm. Source sounds for the work include voice, hydrophone and other field recordings captured during my Sura Medura Residency in Sri Lanka.
A Sura Medura exhibition is running from 21st April to 19th May 2017 at The Briggait in Glasgow. The exhibition includes a range of work by artists who have been artist-in-residence at Sura Medura in Sri Lanka.
Wave Shift, a new work made in collaboration with artist and illustrator Natasha Russell, is premiered as part of the Sura Medura exhibition. Read more about Wave Shift
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 Shift into 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.
In the final week of the Sura Medura residency we headed up the road for the opening of Colombo Art Biennale in Sri Lanka. I was excited to also have been invited by Shereen Perera to create a live score for the Video Jam event on the opening night. I responded with a solo vocal performance to a beautiful, strange and thoughtful clip of Sri Lankan film-maker Vimukthi Jayasundara’s Light in the Yellow Breathing Space.
The event took place on 2nd December 2016 at the ZMax Fairway Hotel roof terrace and was part of the Colombo Biennale Performing Arts Programme.
Video Jam at Colombo Art Biennale
Here’s a short clip from the Video Jam at the opening night of the Colombo Art Biennale. The link takes you straight through to the Facebook page of Decibel.lk – a Sri Lankan online news, reviews and events site…just click the image to play…
Thanks to Decibel for that. And big thanks to Shereen Perera for inviting me to score for Video Jam.
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.