Monthly Archives: April 2007

Inkling for Recording

I’ve got a deadline, of September, to complete a professional-sounding recording of an album’s worth of my musical material. I had the same deadline last summer, but missed it, so I can’t really not do it and come away feeling un-aggrieved. So I’m gonna do it. So far this year I’ve hardly spent any time with my music, mainly focusing on more University-aimed work. But I have the Inkling. And I’m sure its gonna be good, so I’m looking forward to it.

Nice Swiss Writing. Note from Leo, the guy who runs the record label who are going to put out my album. He’s a lovely guy, and I think his handwriting is cool. Also I like the style of putting “Best, Leo” at the end of an email or letter.

I’m going to try and get a Variax guitar, which is a clever “modelling” guitar, hopefully giving me an expensive sound for not very much money. We’ll see…

Listened to Hot Chip’s second album, The Warning, for the first time properly. Its cool. Not quite as much character in parts, as with the first album, but it makes up for it with ingenuity in other ways. Really cool!

Hi-Fi. Play Station 2 based karaoke. Really good fun. This photo probably needs some audio accompaniment.

Heroes is Back

A couple of months ago, my friend gave me a disk with the first 18 episodes of a US tv series, Heroes. I got addicted immediately, and lost two days of my life to constant watching.

Anyway, after the mid-season break its back, and I just watched the new episode – marvlous. I don’t think its that good, in a critical sense, but the enjoyment I get from the act of being addicted is simply fantastic.


Also, I’ve started freecycling.

Reflections on This & Bibliography

I slept for a pittyful hour or so this morning, with birds tweeting and the light endlessly seeping into my room. I wasn’t working, rather my head was looping various thoughts, some about WikiPedia – I spent a lot of time reading it yesterday – and also Nena’s 99 Red Balloons came back to haunt me again. So I’m not the freshest daisy today!

Today is the day to hand in my journal. This, I think, will be the last entry for the adjuged 1st year journal. I thought it maybe useful to reflect on how I’ve developed through writing it. Also I want to state its omissions.

I hope that I’ll continue to write this journal, writing has proved to be a valuable thinking tool as well as delivering gratification simply to try and articulate my thoughts. Writing is something I used to hate, but the older I get the more enticed I am by the beauty of it. Also, as I’m slowly becoming desolved into a world dominated by Google and the Blogosphere, I should make a stand. Take the fight to them.

Incidental- I asked one of the IT guys in Chatham if there would be any mice lying around, for me to dismantle, for my Autotalk button. He’s a nice guy, we ended up chatting about Freecycle (http://www.freecycle.org/) – just another facet of the dawn of Web 2.0 and the internet’s constancy of innovation.

I’m not sure if its evident, but I certainly feel like my writing has progressed through the practice I’ve had here. Maybe it’s just a confidence thing, either way, a good feeling.

Incidental 2- For Autotalk, paint the floor black and invite the audience to write something down if they’d prefer that to leaving a recording of their voice? Maybe getting too wishy-washy.

I’ve tried to be referential to other artists, as I believe that’s an area where I generally falls down, in terms of being assessed for University, but I still don’t think I’ve fixed the problem. I guess its because I’ve only been exposed to the art world (and actually looked at it, in anything other than a casual sense) since September last year and the majority of the time I’ve been relatively self-obsessed. Mainly looking at other artists’ work as it relates to my own progress. Also I harbour a strong belief that if I like something, for no particular reason, there is no need to spoil it by over-analysis and being overly critical. Or indeed critical at all. So maybe that will be a weak spot of my journal.

Another thing that I know I haven’t done “to specification” is reviews. I have written only two reviews, I think, as a result of sitting down after having come to the decision to write a review. I do, however, have significant other review-type-text that hopefully will fill the void, if it can be distinguishsed from general musings.

Lastly; a bibliography.

The one text that I’ll mention (again) is Brian Eno’s A Year with Swollen Appendicies. I don’t think I’ve used any material directly from it, but as I previously stated it has been a useful tool for generating confidence and, to an extent, has probabl been the largest influence on my style of writing.

Otherwise I haven’t looked at any literature to find out about things or gather inspiration. As you may have correctly presumed, WikiPedia is generally my first port of call regarding pretty much anything (particularly anything that, should be, factual). If WikiPedia itself doesn’t satisfy my curiosity I would then revert to traditional web searching using Google (althought depending on the subject this is sometimes my starting point). To catalog my browsing throughout the writing of this journal would result in a list of thousands of unconnected websites, and not really mean anything useful.

Incidental 3- my good friend David, from my hometown/school classes is having an interview for Interactive Arts today. It would be so good to do some collaborative work, were he to get on.
Other sources are the television and the Guardian. I’ve never previously got into reading a news paper (apart from the Metro, but does that count?), but with a little practice I’ve learnt my way around this particular one and enjoyed reading it a lot, as well as doing the “quick” crossword whenever I can – normally being shamed by my wiki-saboteur friend Matthew.

Breakfast time now I think, then after David’s interview I can go home, relax and catch up on yesterday’s missed sleep.

Conservapedia

Created to combat the, alledgedly, anti-USA and anti-Christian WikiPedia, Conservapedia.com has this about Dinosaurs;

Dinosaurs were created on day 6 of the creation week approximately 6,000 years ago, along with other land animals, and therefore co-existed with humans.

Oh dear.

How time comes together

I like the concept of time, and every piece of work I do has lots of dependency on time. Music and photography in particular. I also like its fluid-ness, and the immense value of looking back at things with retrospect. I suppose that’s why I decided to try and do a project based on it.

So far, at least, my time exploits haven’t come to anything tangible. I tried to suggest that some of the images I presented at my half year review had their artistic basis in representing a moment of time, but its more true that that was retrospective thinking after each image had been captured. As an aside, I really like thinking of taking photographs as, in a literal sense, actually capturing the beams of light that are creating whatever it is I’m photographing. Maybe its the hunter gatherer in me coming out.

I do however, have several on-going pieces of work that are spawned directly from my time project. Its ironic that they’re taking me more time to complete as I initially guessed they would or maybe I am simply still suffering from procrastination-fever.


Fresh Air. I think this moth had just emerged from a cacoon.

Sensible, sensible

I subscribed to Artists News today. What a sensible thing to do! Immediately I’m inspired and encouraged about the wealth of opportunity out there.

Emailing a Saltaire based gallery about a photography exhibition and there’s an intriguing commission for a public space in Coventry.

Innovative, exciting and experiential, it should engage with both adult and family visitors. The piece must also evolve during the exhibiting period either through audience participation or as phases.

I figure my audio installation for the end of year show would fit in with this perfectly, so I’m going to try and follow this up.

Autotalk Patch, at present. This is a shot of the “finished” Max/Msp program for my Autotalk installation, for the end of year show. Getting pretty complex!

Thoughts from a year ago

About this time last year I was feverishly trying to put together a portfolio (from nothing, diddly-squat) to get me through my interview for Interactive Arts. The ideas that I eventually presented to Tony, all stemmed from the writing on these envelopes. I’d forgotten most of them, I should really pursue them.

One of my favourites, comes from the concept of attaching a bucket of paint to all the taxi’s in the city. Each with a hole in the bottom, slowing leaking paint, and eventually tracking where all the taxi’s go. Hopefully creating something aesthetically pleasing to look at.

Not possible I know, but maybe using GPS, similarly to how Adele Prince worked in Nottingham.


Its also really nice looking at these and seeing how my thinking has developed vastly in the last year. Although, importantly, I’m very aware that my referencing to other artists, and indeed knowledge of other artists could do with improvement. I hope during the networking activities that I’m going to undertake next year will help improve this.

Singing Ringing Tree

I visited Tonkin Liu’s “Singing Ringing Tree” – which shares its name with a 60s children’s TV programme – near Burnley in Lancashire. Its supposedly an architectural kind of installation…. thing. I’m trying to write in a frustrated manner; because I often get tempered by coating simple works with layers of meaning and complexity that are beyond their worth. I don’t want to just sound anti. I really love the Tree, its one of the coolest pieces of art that I’ve seen in a while, and I think this is how art should be done. But I would really love it if things could just be appreciated for what they are rather than smearing wonderful things with a veneer that (in me at least) encourages suspicion.

Can you feel the noise? When I visited the tree (in February) it was blowing a gale, and despite having a spattering of beautiful sunlight, was desolate. I think it added to my experience though, despite limiting it to a few fleeting minutes before I lost the use of my fingers. There are some wind turbines in the valley behind the tree in this picture. Its an interesting contrast, the use of the wind to enthral and inspire in the Singing Ringing Tree and capturing its power for industry and commercial use.

The tree’s party piece, is the noise that is created by the wind blowing through the tubes. Aesthetically, of course, it looks both “cool as fuck” and carries much beauty – in my mind at least. But its the haunting noise, coupled with the location high on a moor in Lancashire, that really evokes strong feelings in me and made me feel affected by the tree.

Apart from writing from a critical point of view, I’m really interested in work, that like this, is in a public place and for anyone to enjoy. I should think of things I could do in this manner.

Casts. It never crossed my mind until just now, but could these be guns? I’ve probably been thinking about it too much.

Artistic Landscape. With these two pictures I kind of see the links to architecture more. Imagine a block of flats built such as above.

Run from the Wind. It was cold.

Button Action (required)

I spoke to Daniel Staincliffe again, in a chance encounter in the studio at University. It turns out he’s probably saved me some time, we’re both trying to figure out the best way of having “a button” attached to a computer, in its most literal sense. One of my plans was to dismember a computer keyboard and try to harness the power of just one of the buttons – but Dan has tried this approach already and it is plagued with problems.

I suggested (another of my plans) maybe doing exactly the same but with a mouse instead, its much simpler inside and only has two buttons in the first place rather than 102 on a keyboard. He just said “Why didn’t I think of that?” so hopefully it is going to turn out to be a good (working) idea. Fingers crossed, because if it doesn’t work I’m going to be a bit stuck.

Action required, by me, to test it out!

Showing Off

Despite having the first obstacle of handing in my journal in a few days, my head is filled with ideas and mulling over exactly what I’m going to do for my end of year show. I’ve definitely put my eggs in the Max/Msp audio installation basket, but I really want to represent my other activities from throughout the year.

Autotalk installation, Max/MSP program so far.

Ideally I would like a whole room to myself, with large speakers strategically positioned for my audio installation. Then I would pepper the walls and any other surfaces with printed photographs taken throughout the year but with gaps in the photos to project video work in. Over and above that I do have some interactive audio and video things that I’d love to make publicly accessible.

Having accepted that I don’t have the time, space or funds to do that I’ve decided to explore the possibility of making a photograph trail from the foyer of my University building up to the studio and exhibition area. Arranged in chronological order it would very simply recount the last year of my life through all (that’s several thousand) the photos I’ve taken. It would link really nicely with my Time video piece, which uses all the photos taken from when I started University to the Winter.

Need to check out how they could be attached to the building, if I would be allowed, how much all the prints would cost. Et cetera.

Things since the end of 2006. Self-described.

Picasa excellence and picasa annoyance

I’ve been using Google’s image organisation and editing software for a few months now, and I must say its largely made my life much easier.

Somehow, however, my Picasa library just got deleted. This means I now have to load in my 20-odd-thousand photos again, and I’ve lost various albums I’ve put together.

Oh well, I guess I should try and utilise having a “fresh” look at my pictures.

Rewritten Why’s Alive

I was quite disappointed at my poetic efforts with writing about “To ask why is to live”.

This is a rewritten, and still rather dark version, but I’m happier with it. I really like thie ending passage;

Battlefields and pavements are playgrounds
Middle men and junkies doss like
Doll
Why are they, they?
What makes their folly?
Whats the point?
Where’s the sign?
What’s my name?
Why’s today?
Why is alive
To ask why is to live

This is the whole thing: