Tag: Kathryn Tovey

Q&A: Kathryn Tovey to Atilio Doreste

‘Muffled Sounds’, your work for Sound Diaries, feels relevant during the pandemic, where there has been a shift in the occupation of public and domestic space. During this time, have you observed any changes in the sounds of these spaces?

In a forced phase of public confinement there is a marked distinction and contrast between the aural spheres of the domestic versus the public. The natural soundscape is amplified and filled with details of an excellent cleanliness. It is also true that domesticity is individualised, because transit is drastically reduced, and also the drifts. Therefore, the home value is customized.

In my case, I live in a fairly rural environment, where the neighbours are disrespectful in relation to acoustic contamination. There are no changes in these types of household sounds that cross the wall, they are only radicalised in intensity and frequency. At these extremes we have beautiful spring walks with limits of legal transgression with regard to human activity, and inside an unbearable neighbourhood of anxious activity.

On the other hand, there have been some very curious sonorous incidents, such as the inexplicable habit of civil protection officers and police making noisy caravans of mermaids, apocalyptic pandemic warnings to advise respecting lockdowns, and police children’s birthday celebrations with public address of children’s music, choreography and Disney costumes.

In many of your video works, you are filmed interacting with dis-used spaces and found objects. Do the historical contexts of the locations you choose to perform within inform how you respond to the landscape?

Definitely not. It’s a plastic attitude about all things. The curious exploration of a sonic and percussive potential, the transgression of limits and risk. Everything else manifests itself as a continuity that necessarily bears no intention. But the historical question is as the critical extension of a theoretical phenomenon that focuses on a willingness to reactivate heritage, especially on the fragility of the elements of identity value of a moment and a place.

I am interested in your combinations of sound and performance to create comical artworks. Do you think comedy has a significant role to play in the context of contemporary art?

Nothing is centred in contemporary art, but my performances do not have a comic-will. Along with the ex-as-destructive local political value of artifice identity phenomena, my work is based in a surreal (and consequently fluxus) local tradition in Canary Islands that require the most serious and inexpressible attitude possible. That people laugh is still a confusion or ignorance, because we live in an excessive society and habit of entertainment that has invaded every artistic discourse.

Q&A: Marlo De Lara to Kathryn Tovey

In your piece for Sound Diaries, I very much appreciated your appreciation of lessons from canine companions and furthermore creating a piece I felt was heavily informed by Donna Haraway. Since then have you developed any works framed by her theories?

Currently, I am working on a community sound walking project in the West End of Morecambe focusing on the ecology of the area. I cannot say that my work since has been framed by Haraway’s theories as such, but they perhaps share a similar sense for the philosophy of her theories. They do, therefore, inform how I approach the process of thinking and making work.

Would you consider your work as being in dialogue with eco-feminism? Why or why not?

My work is in dialogue with threads of ecofeminism, though it is rarely a conscious association for me. The focus is mostly a curiosity with the movement of animals. In a previous work, I performed as a fictional sea creature informed by my own movements as a woman adapting to a damaged landscape. It was a futile attempt of anthropomorphism for me, to encourage critique of its own projection and to instead, embody wildness from within and to empathise with species. Growing up on the North East coast, I was personally drawn to the ecology of coastal landscapes. The sound of Kittiwakes, the shape of the caves carved by the ghosts of miners and the waves, the ship building that has now fallen silent, have all manifested into a visual present. Just as the pebbles are tinted red by the mines where my great grandfather worked. I also began to explore concepts of ‘making kin’ through human and canine relationships. It is in this process of mutual aid and participation as co-creation, that I feel connects with ecofeminism’s embrace of open diversity and care.

At the beginning of the pandemic, we often heard a narrative about the earth or nature fighting back during quarantine. In these heightened times, how do you think humanity/civilization could be, or is currently, able to learn from the environment?

I think that the public perception of these narratives has been influential, allowing more time for thinking, learning, and caring for one another (human and non-human). It seems the time offered a reconnection with nature, that hopefully can inspire communities to incorporate alternative ways of living. The stories we have heard of animals returning to areas otherwise occupied by humans, give the impression that nature is fighting back. This may, however, not be the case – but it is a projection of hope that animal and plant species can quickly return if given the chance.

Kathryn Tovey

Interviews
Post Walk Eating
Walk
Walk

Extract from Walking with another (below) featured in Recording Life In Sound (SARU 2019).

Kathryn Tovey grew up in the North East of England, now living and working in Lancaster where she graduated from Lancaster University in BA Fine Art. She has also studied and exhibited in Bendigo, Australia and is currently working on interactive performances with arts organisation GRAFT. Her work brings together site specific performance, video documentation and installation in layered works that invite the audience to reflect on human relationships with the natural world. She is often found working outdoors with her cocreator Caleela.

Recording Life In Sound

Make an effort to exhaust the subject, even if that seems grotesque, or pointless, or stupid. You still haven’t looked at anything, you’ve merely picked out what you’ve long ago picked out.

(Georges Perec; Species of Spaces; 1974)

On a rainy day in Oxford more than ten years ago Felicity Ford and Paul Whitty set up a project with the aim of recording everyday life in sound – to resist the overwhelming tide of visual images of the everyday and to meet it with the abundant soundings of vending machines, luggage carousels, toasters, escalators, boilers, garden sheds, wheeled luggage. We followed the writer Georges Perec’s instruction to exhaust the subject, not to be satisfied with a cursory glance, not to be satisfied to have identified what we already knew – what we had already heard – but to look again or in our case to listen, to keep listening, to listen long after it would probably have been more sensible to stop. That project was Sound Diaries.

This project celebrates ten years of Sound Diaries with contributions from twelve artists who responded to our open call;

We are interested in everyday sounds and sounding contexts from cutlery drawers to bus stops to self- service checkouts. Projects can take many forms but should focus on documentary recording of everyday sound.

Sound Diaries expands awareness of the roles of sound and listening in daily life. The project explores the cultural and communal significance of sounds and forms a research base for projects executed both locally and Internationally, in Beijing, Brussels, Tallinn, Cumbria and rural Oxfordshire.

We have invited twelve artists to create new projects and you can hear the artists present their work on July 13th 2019 at The Jam Factory in Oxford. Admission is free and all are welcome.

Here’s the programme:

11:00 – 11:20 Richard Bentley Sweep

11.25  – 11.45 Hannah Dargavel-Leafe Conduit

11.50 – 12:10 Kathryn Tovey Walking with another

12.45- 13.05 Aisling Davis Uisce

13.10 -13.30 Jacek Smolicki Inaudible Cities

14:10 – 14:30 Atilio Doreste Muffled Sounds

14.35 – 14.55 Beth Shearsby

15.00 -15.20 Lucía Hinojosa Forgetting 1993

15.45- 16.05 Fi.Ona SoundStamps

16.10 – 16.30 James Green Sounding 24h

16.35 – 16.55 Marlo De Lara aural investigation of everyday britain

Open Call Artists Announced

We had an amazing response to our Open Call with many fantastic and innovative project proposals – thanks to everyone who responded. The successful artists are:

Richard Bentley
Hannah Dargavel-Leafe
Aisling Davis
Atilio Doreste
James Green
Lucía Hinojosa Gaxiola
Sena Karahan
Marlo De Lara
Fiona AR Patten
Kathryn Tovey
Beth Shearsby
Jacek Smolicki

The successful Artists visited audiograft festival in March to introduce and discuss their projects and we are looking forward to welcoming them back in July to present their work and to launch the SARU publication celebrating ten years of the Sound Diaries project.

Watch this space for more information about our event in July and the publication!