Sound and Vision

In our on- line session last week Ed Kelly introduced us to more sites and ways of thinking about and making sound.

We covered the topics below:

The concept  of foreground (events) and background (ambience).

The more we listen, the more we can distinguish events, even in ambient settings
The line is necessarily blurred in real life, between the two
This is the difference between listening and hearing
Look at means of generating audio in real-time, rather than making fixed compositions.
One of these is Pure Data.

A little WebAudio demo that will get you used to the concept of “patching” :

(I couldn’t get this to work..Only in Firefox and Chrome?)

It was a two hour session with loads to listen to, look at at play with…

Lots of things to reference later and opened me up to thinking about maybe making or altering the sound I end up with on my videos.

Because I am still at the…doing but with no objective… stage , and what I am doing is mainly layering up projections ( I think… sort of …some of the time..)

I am not interested in making my sounds ‘pure’ or separate ( at the moment……)

The ambient sound and events within it is much more what I am interested in and the layering of these…

The confusion that arises.

But certainly Ed’s workshop showed what could be done….(relatively, once you have learned to program )!! if you want to use this sound and manipulate it differently.

For me I have been thinking that maybe sound is one of those things that anchors me ( when making work) or other viewers, to a specific site and location and time.

That is certainly true when I think about the relationship of the sound to visual components of my works on the Salt Way  ( another one below this I think) and the ambient recordings I made…( on trains and BUS REPLACEMENT SERVICES!!)

People who have commented on some of the Salt Way  work have referenced the sound and its impact… something I had not considered when making the videos…!!

Now I am really much more conscious of the layering of sound in the most recent work and also in work I have been making in the studio…. and thinking about what that means.

( see future posts)

The workshop also made me remember some of the Drawn Meditation drawings I had made several years ago… Image to follow?

This is an example of Ed’s Digital version of his sound drawing!!!!

Ed Kelly Sound Drawing

This is where I suddenly want to try out some of this for myself…. but it doesn’t fit with my proposal or does it… experience… mediated through my physical body and represented digitally…

Memory ?  How does this work..

File for later use maybe…

Anyway, here are the next two videos of the Salt Way

The first reprojected and re-filmed  ( again) and then re-filmed ( again)  from my Computer screen.


This one below here needs rotating!

This  (below) is a version of the first of these which has been enhanced by You Tube who offered kindly to fix the lighting….!


Participation session with Jonathan

2 weeks ago I had to miss the session on Participation because of a meeting… which involved ironically talking about participation of a different sort…my community based work which doesn’t directly involve my own practice at all… but of course both inform each other…

I watched the video about Blast Theory and the I’ll Hide you Game and  also the lecture by Matt Adams.It made me think of the huge range of ways in which artists make participative work and what that means.

In my own case I work with people and ask them for their co operation, Friends, colleagues sometimes other artists, members of the public, in a relationship where I rely on them for the making of the work.

They become part of the the work as they help me to film and document it .

The actions I make , whether as part of my own practice or in the context of leading workshops for others, in simple water-colour or drawing technique, are only a small part of the equation .

The others make the work happen also..

My community workshop work of course would not exist without the participants!

In my own work, sometimes this is not the case.

I can do something with no-one watching or documenting ( if I do not need physical help to carry it out) but the final document is often made by them, the witnesses of the event .

This document becomes the evidence of the work.

rather than my memory of the event

This often / usually shows a completely different interpretation of the action from the one experienced by me.

I hope to take this apart a bit more when I post the Salt Way ‘final’ videos and hope that there will be a conversation of sorts between Helen ( who helped me to make the work by holding the projector) and my self and maybe others through Comments.

Also, the lecture refers to external funding  and how that may change the work.

This is an area I have thought about long and hard wrt vulnerable groups and who funds, what they want, what the artists want, what the participants want… if they are supposed to be involved in this choice… the artist’s role as agent and what sort of agent…Claire Bishop’s ideas around the nature of the work produced… whether the process is the work or the final documentation/ exhibit/ wall hanging/ video…

Big Big questions about participation and control…. I’ve thought about these and written about them a fair bit… here.

Depends on the individual context I guess is the easy answer.. but still something which makes me feel very very uncomfortable if i don’t feel it is ‘right’ in  some circumstances… Particularly art delivered in the context of care and ‘therapy’.

I could rant and rant about uncomfortable experiences from well intentioned projects and people but I won’t now.

Just that last weeks meeting and the session I missed all bought up the same internal discussions for me…political and personal

Remembering and forgetting

I’ve probably already written a post with this title but, you know what?, I can’t remember….

So, here’s another one. Last week I spent a lot of time thinking about my ‘other work’ –

The work I do with the elderly and people with dementia and in the community eg. Lights Up at Chipping Norton I went to a training day for artists who are part of the Taking Part Scheme run by Cherwell  District Council, Arts Development Team.

All the artists there work with older or vulnerable groups in the community and it is rare that we get to talk to others about our experiences. The trainers encouraged us all to collage our own little box for our business cards.


( What Business cards???.. Note to Self…‘make business cards‘).

While we made them we chatted…sorry networked..

We also had a go at making up imaginary projects, working in groups. Wow! did we come up with some good stuff…now for the funding… always the hard part..amand imaginary too.

Anyway it gave me chance to discuss issues of working with the elderly with other artist working in this fields and discuss the role of reminiscence/ art and its effect on a group. I

‘ll talk more about this later on but just to note that it doesn’t always lead to a ‘nice cosy feeling’ for participants and my Take Home feeling was again that I feel very, very uncomfortable with the role of the artist as therapist if we have not been trained professionally in art therapy.

For this the artist has to have specialist training and on-going therapy themselves. I am always concerned with these boundaries, I think through working as a therapist in a different field, myself.

When working with vulnerable groups and seeing the benefit that that artwork has, it is all too easy to want to ‘save ‘ people and believe that we and art can do that.

I, of course, do believe that art is wonderfully therapeutic, BUT when we go in to a group and work with them we are there to do our job, effectively and although constantly aware of and sensitive to the issues of our participants, and whilst building relationships with them, we are there as artists.

And the work we do is for them, not to make us feel good about ourselves and fulfil our needs…… Other people are skilled Social Workers, counsellors etc. We are skilled community artists. I

think we have to be wary of accessing sensitive areas of peoples lives, thinking we can solve all their problems and not necessarily being fully aware and mindful of the possible consequences for ourselves, or for them.

Anyway, the training was very, very useful  and, importantly, reminded me of this possibly contentious area Rant over.

The following day I went to a meeting of Creative Dementia Arts Network (CDAN) in Oxford organised and chaired by Maria Parsons

This was an altogether different experience, as although there were some artists, musicians etc there the group includes professionals working with people with dementia in a range of areas from NHS Hospitals, Care organisations, Outreach  Education and so on.

This meeting felt cohesive and productive and it was very helpful talking to others with a specific interest and expertise in Arts for People with Dementia. We were all given some background, physiological and social, about dementia and discussed the forthcoming conference in April .

For me the networking within this group left me with a positive feeling that I was with people with common aims and complementary skills and for the first time I felt that my own personal practice and research may be able to come together at some point through this group.

I was also reminded of my thoughts about arts patronage and the autonomy of the artist during this session which links a little with my previous rant written for ARTvsREHAB.

We discussed possible areas where funding for Dementia Arts maybe available and so the questions about what work, what purpose and a key thought about evaluation and how this can be done effectively to attract funding when  achievements are so difficult to measure.

All fascinating stuff. More about working with People with Dementia in another post! and Remediation……


Ok, for some time I’ve been thinking about this but not got round to writing it. I am so mind-numbed after last nights First  Great Western Rail experience that I can’t do the ‘homework’ set a couple of weeks ago and just need to splurge out some stuff that requires no rational and linear thinking..

The GWR experience involves travelling back from Worcester to Banbury by train ( via Oxford to avoid the Bus Replacement Service that is in place due to landslip north of Banbury…I got caught in that one last Saturday night…and the consequent BRS!!!!)


Don’t you just love the jolly music!!!

Here is an ambient track I made whilst I was on this BRS…more jolliness… ooh that old camararderie!

Quite a contrast to the experiences of the hundreds of displaced people getting on and off the buses weary at the beginning and end of their extra long days….. One woman I met had left Hull at 5am to get to a meeting in Oxford for 9am. She was on the train with me at 11am, not yet in Oxford and had to return to Hull that night!!

This time I arrived at Evesham after 30 minutes gentle journey and remained there in a carriage for 90 minutes until we ( 20+ innocents) were left outside a cold (shut) station waiting another hour for  a coach ( well 3!) to arrive to drive us to Oxford.

Some poor people still had to make their way to London on trains disrupted because of previous landslide…2 people at Oxford to sort out the chaos.  I blagged a cab for the 20 miles home to Banbury otherwise I would have been on YET ANOTHER RBS which would have had me arrive in  Banbury after midnight! 6 hours from Worcester to Banbury!!

This is a record even for me who is a veteran of RBS’s  from Arriva trains Wales  and others.  

One day I’ll write a blog about my train experiences including being stuck in lavatory ( Yes Really) for most of the journey from Marylebone and emerging to the cheers of a carriage full of commuters after several blokes kicked the door in and unscrewed the lock.  

Also another recording of the train journey from Banbury to Oxford on Wednesday 4th Feb. for the meeting of CDAN described in the post above.

Lots of people who had got off the BRS and joined the train to Oxford already tired at the beginning of the day.

Very Quiet!

Anyway…I digress…

Back to the Blog.

When I started this I was reluctant toy use it as a notepad for myself and really saw it’s purpose as , I guess, a tool of documentation and for assessment for the MA rather than an arena for thought and personal reflection.

Over the months it has changed I think and I’ve been ware of my relationship to it and also other people’s ( some of my followers)

One friend…not a fellow student or colleague, became concerned by some of my darker personal thoughts and commented ( much to my further distress) on the Comments section of the Blog. She saw my internal wrangling with some of the topics raised by my reading and needed to comfort me!

Lovely but not appropriate I thought. This is a place for me to bare my soul and analyse/ reflect… but it is not a personal journal with a cover and  a lock that I can put in a drawer  ( unless I change the settings to Private). Her concern shocked and surprised me, particularly as it was visible on the blog.

Another colleague and her brother ( past collaborators!) also Follow and talk to me about what I am doing when we meet. It disturbs me…the fact that I haven’t told them… not really…I just wrote it on my blog…for the mA and all that…I didn’t really expect them to read it and take any notice!

Reflecting a little on these feelings, I am beginning to understand more about myself and the way I make work. I have discussed before the fact that sometimes I want to make work that is almost invisible.

That an audience hardly seems relevant. A formal audience is absolutely not what Iwant…or rather what I don’t want ( can I be that specific…?) That the action, once done is done and that is the work.

That the rest is documentation. I have realised that the use of Social Media  and Sharing , makes me feel uncomfortable. Despite my Twitter and websites, I share carefully and it does not come naturally.. I am a ‘single’ or only child and as a child was always told, when introduced to people, that I must therefore be spoilt and be unable to share! I realise now that to some extent this is true. I do not easily share thought and ideas. I often expect others to know what I am thinking or imagining without making it clear or visible. I find sharing these thought difficult and so the blog is probably restricted. I do not think that people will find these interesting or useful to them and yet I am happy to use others information and imagery…

Do I want people to know what I am thinking? What do I want to make visible and public? I have may thoughts which are jotted down on scraps of paper to add to this blog but they never make it this far.

PHOTO OF NOTES!! insert later

This week I have been to two long meetings with colleagues from Arts backgrounds and , as this is unusual for me, found it very difficult to describe myself and my ‘practices’ in full. When I did manage it it was in an area where we already shared ‘like mind’ and it was hugely beneficial and I feel as if I am on ‘ the right track’ …more on this later.

More about Sharing as I have been thinking about using Social Media to distribute my work rather than in a physical exhibition space. I’ve been investigating Snapchat and Vine as spaces for this.Both because of their ephemeral nature… However.

Of course, as a 55+ yr old woman my attempts to find friends on Snapchat have been relatively unsuccessful!

One invited friend said ‘ Don’t do Snap chat but lets meet for coffee’, my youngest son blocked me when he realised who it was, and i am left with one friend and my eldest son…

Maybe I do want another audience but I can’t get easily into that digital Social Space…? It has made me consider accessibility to digital spaces and the factors which restrict that.

Again, the geography and psycho-geography of logging in to these spaces.

I think I’ll have to read more Lefebvre. Some of this ties in with my next posts I hope…. This link for Snapchat is a wonderful example of very slick hyper and remediation which I will be talking about in a post soon.

Here are some Random Thoughts I had about the other sort of projection and shadow .

………….also ‘Self’

Lots of thoughts about Buddhism and ‘self/ non-self’ ‘experience’ and what that is or isn’t

and subject/ object stuff.

and illusion. and Buddhism again.

and Merlau-Ponty  (who I sort of confuse with a wine!) Perception etc.

Are these relevant?

I haven’t a clue but this will just track my thinking….

<p><a href=”″>Immunity: a question of “Self vs. Non-self” – Roland Lang, University of Erlangen</a> from <a href=””>Kavli Frontiers of Science</a> on <a href=””>Vimeo</a&gt;.</p>

This was a week or more ago.

Drafted but unpublished!

Things have moved on a pace now but here’s the ‘paper-trail’!