OX-LDN return – field / materiality

On the Oxford Tube after the exhibition and having read Manfred Werder’s extracted notes Field [http://manfred-werder-archives.blogspot.co.uk/] the bus driver’s voice commanded me in its comforting bassy tone to sit back and enjoy the sound of his voice over the deeply idling engine.

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1044 bass driver intro

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1046 begin journey

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1047 slow acceleration

In listening to the rise and fall of the bass sound coming from the engine through the floor I became aware of the contrasting high rattle of the internal fittings and furniture. I then realised there was more enveloping background present in the form of a large wide hollow body of sound that felt like it was related to the internal air pressure of the bus and which seemed to be mixed with the sound of the constant flow of air moving past the external skin of the bus – or the other way round depending on how you look at it.

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1049 bus air fittings traffic

Maybe it was less appropriate to think of the bus as an object causing sound than to think of a bus-situation of complex materiality…

…while there is such a thing as the bus travelling along the motorway there are also interrelated and constantly fluxing fields around [and within?] both the bus and me… In listening to the random flow of quiet quick thin sounds of individual cars passing in the opposite direction 20m away, each making its own v light whipped wishing noise it was clear that the situation changed significantly with only small changes to the position of listening particularly in relation to the windscreen.

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1050 traffic space

This post is by Toby O’Connor, who participated in the Documenting Sound workshop held at Audiograft 2012 by Felicity Ford and Valeria Merlini

OX-LDN return – other fields

I then recorded the light from the oncoming traffic flow refracting through the wet windscreen in front of me on my phone camera. While the light and sound of the traffic shared a recognisable movement/rhythm, their materiality/texture, as mediated by the windscreen felt very different. The light recordings were subject to the vibrations of the road and they also revealed the inaudible presence of the motorway lighting that we were moving through. Thinking about this invisible field I began listening to the electrical flux in my phone held in different positions at the same time as feeling the vibrations of the body of the bus on different surfaces using a contact mic in the other channel / ear. I would like to try combining the videos with the sound files to experiment with how the light information from the video could effect an edit of the sound and vice versa.


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This post is by Toby O’Connor, who participated in the Documenting Sound workshop held at Audiograft 2012 by Felicity Ford and Valeria Merlini

EXHIBITION – fire station building context / field, silence / audiograft artist interview

The opening of an exhibition in the Old Fire Station Oxford featuring New Works by Manfred Werder and Ben Owen with a curatorial intervention by Patrick Farmer, functioned as the private view / opening of the Audiograft festival.

“The three paper based works deal with the intrinsic reality of a situation and question the assumptions we make concerning our reception of space.. Each of these artists is also a musician and a composer, and find a point at which their refinement and understanding of silence and vacuity reaches a balance between material and immateriality.”

We arrived from a car-park beneath the old fire station into a gift shop foyer space where a busy discussion was taking place, separated from the street by a pair of automatic sliding doors. In the market space outside people’s conversations could be deciphered as they walked past, whereas inside, music blared loudly from speakers overhead. The sound of the opening overflowed into the exhibition space below continuously filling it like a bubbly din in an artists’ bathtub.

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1009 gift shop entrance context clip

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1041 public voice

I used an electromagnetic pickup to record someone’s camera taking a picture of the work, and to listen to the work itself by scanning the electric cable and plug that that powered one of the pieces – a speaker linked to a contact mic stuck to the back of a textured surface hung on the wall. In a similar way I then recorded the repeated operation of the sliding entrance doors as people came in and out of the building…

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1014 camera

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1012 installation electric lead a

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1013 installation electric lead plug silence

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1018 electric doors

In the gift shop I spoke to Shirley Pegna about the nature of the exhibition space and about her work at the festival using transducers to play sound through people’s bodies. The artist Patrick Farmer came down to be interviewed, the presence of his voice seeming to wax and wane in the reflective sea of [gentle] cacophonous discussion descending from above where he had been. Recording with two mono shotgun mics enabled me to concentrate on and emphasise this mixing of voices as I tried to focus on and understand what was being said particularly in relation to silence.

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1019 INTV shirley – 2 entrances

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1019 INTV shirley – 2 spaces

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1020 INTV shirley – sound materials

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1021 INTV shirley – conductivity density

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1027 INTV artist – silence

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1027 INTV artist – sound in space

It would be interesting to integrate the recording of the doors and other electric fields with the interview of the artist[s] and think about how the Audiograft festival is at once a singular cultural event in itself which is to some extent consumed at specified times and places, while simultaneously being a complex body of individual artists / voices who’s activity extends independently and infinitely beyond this on many levels – time, space, method, intention / meaning etc.

This post is by Toby O’Connor, who participated in the Documenting Sound workshop held at Audiograft 2012 by Felicity Ford and Valeria Merlini

OXFORD ARRIVAL – motorway / nature / maintenance

Arriving at the edge of Oxford I was struck by the presence of beautiful pockets of nature that lay adjacent to or intersected with the busy main road: quiet, empty allotments; spring enlivened birds; silent crocuses and a stretch of apparently tranquil [I couldn’t hear it from my vantage point on the road bridge] river on whose eastern bank stood a dozen council workers merging all the fences and walls into a continuous green surface – presumably for positive visual effect.

A generator truck that powered the spray tools being used to prepare the fence for painting was resonating deeply in residential cul de sac nearby.

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allotments recorded by Toby O’Connor

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birds over crocuses next to road recoded by Toby O’Connor

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tranquil river recorded by Toby O’Connor

This post is by Toby O’Connor, who participated in the Documenting Sound workshop held at Audiograft 2012 by Felicity Ford and Valeria Merlini