I've started working as digital sound artist in residence at the Heart of Hawick, under the auspices of Live Borders here in the Scottish Borders. The most immediate benefit here is that I won't have to fly and burn up fossil fuels at a time when the planet is turning to shit.
The brief is to work with non-professional local writers and performers, taking inspiration from stories, poetry and reflections. Audio recordings of their work will be collected towards the production of sound pieces linked to the theme of resilience. These audio pieces are to be hosted in a virtual gallery of which I know little right now but will report on soon. I'm told that something is happening at the Scottish Mental Health Arts Festival (SMHAF) in May of this year. I don't know much about this either but you'll be the first to know. In fact I don't know much about anything yet and I'm already three weeks in. Maybe it's a conceptual residency where you have to guess what happens next. Never mind - the meter's running.
My aim is to create a series of environmental portraits rather than simply create some kind of documentary. I suspect the virtual gallery will determine the shape of some of the work. I'm also interested in recursive methods of exploring the theme, for example by having participants comment on their own readings. This technique brings out deep emotional and psychological layers.
I’m curious about how people manifest resilience in difficult times. We've all had to suffer the consequences of a pandemic over the last two years. I’m also curious about the reasons why people choose to practice forms of art or creativity, whether they wish to express themselves, respond to internally or externally driven challenges, unfold a method of working, reach the culmination of a period of research. Resilience manifests itself across all of these activities. Sound is a somewhat austere medium yet the rewards are unique. Responding to human situations by means of sound alone can allow facets and nuances of human experience to emerge that cannot be rendered in the visual domain. I want to continue to develop my interest in what I’d call the anthropology of radiophonic practice, that is to make sound works that examine and investigate challenging human contexts by means of the human voice, human activities and environmental sound. This extends into the anthropology of work and workplaces and into the complex relationships between an individual and wider society.