Château de Sacy, Sacy-le-Petit, Picardie, France, May 2018
'Translation' - Sonic investigations at Chateau de Sacy
Exhibition 1-30 September alongside artist-in-residence Juliette Dominati
During the residency I wanted to explore some ways of making environmental artworks that had a sound element or focus. The first of these was inspired by a conversation I had with Achim Zepezauer while in Dortmund, Germany to perform at his amazing Mex series of concerts. He has devised a way to cut a sound groove into a CD so it's plays back sound in the same way as a vinyl record.
Record of the land
When I arrived at Sacy-le-Petit with no clear idea of the project I would make, this was still in my mind. But also the concentric lines in the ploughed fields adjacent to the chateau resembled a huge vinyl record.
My initial idea was to take the much used environmental art 'emblem' of the spiral, but to make it a 'playable' spiral scratch in the ground. However, it was decided I could not follow this project further, so made a performative work with the existing grooves in the field. The sonic results are not unlike that of an old vinyl record being played.
The Impossible Tree
When exploring the site of the residency and what materials were available, I found a huge pile of fallen branches. Having a certain idea in mind for suspending speakers, I attempted to also create a suspended structure from the branches. However there didn't seem any sense to it, only to hang them and then hang speakers. So i dismantled the work and started again, but this time letting the branches tell me where i should join and fix them. The work took the shape of a tree, with branches extending outwards and upwards, occupying the space and the architecture in a natural way. As I improvised with the piece I decided to create a multi-channel sound piece that would play the internal sound of branches moving with the wind.
I chose this sound as i have recorded it previously and know it always sounds more dry and hollow than one would expect - more like dead wood than alive.
It is an 'impossible' tree as it seems to be growing inside of the building, but on closer inspection, it is clear this tree has been constructed from fallen branches of various types of tree. You can hear the sound of wind through the branches, from inside the branches, even though this tree is sheltered from the wind. This internal sound is the voice of the tree, not normally heard.
Paintings and drawings on A4 paper
Made by using the 4 basic elements of life, these paintings take the energy of the wind (air) to create movement in speakers.
In the first series a mixture of earth and water is poured into the speakers, which is then thrown outwards in a radial pattern by the movement. The paintings are then dried by the sun, probably the most powerful fire we know.
With the second series I adapted an old CD with 3 screws and a sound exciter, turning it into a 3 pronged stylus or pen. Dipping the screws into mud once again, and then using the signal caused by wind hitting microphones, the 'pen' moves across the page, drawing abstract lines. These could be mistaken for some abstract form of calligraphy.
Elemental Paintings (details)