Composing Environments 2.0

Enter a space.

Listen.

How do you listen?

Are you listening closely?

Do hear what is beyond?

… Take a breath

.Focus.

Are you present?

 

Composing Environments 2.0

@ 17 Tory Street

7- 9th October 2016

EXPLORING INTIMATE SPACE: IN THE PURSUIT OF EMBODIED LISTENING VIA MICRO-SPATIALISED SOUND SYSTEMS

AN EXHIBITION BY FLO WILSON

Composing Environments 2.0 is a show about how we relate to each other as audience members when engaging with sound work, and what it means to embody sound when listening. It studies the air that surrounds us, the breath – our inhales and exhales- and our conscious/unconscious relationship to breathing itself. Exploring tools and sound structures, the works engage with the concept of musical embodiment, and investigates how said music can play a part in generating unique experiences or collective ones through custom-designed and built sound sculptures. Due to their explicit nature, shared listening environments are often politicised in the public meeting spaces by the social context of any given time or place; the key with this show was to create open- ended systems that would benefit not just performance, but could be used as a tool for composition, installation work and as tool exploring new methodologies in sound diffusion. The sonic component emphasises the surrounding space which the installations are placed, as well as the spatial relationships between the speakers which is primarily through compositional techniques that ‘choreograph’ the direction of the sound in the space. How each of the speakers are mounted in their installation also creates delicate and unique signals, some of which move in and out of phase with one another.

THE WORK

Whilst (duo) looks at air pollution in Wellington and it’s impact on our untouchable ‘100% Pure NZ’ image, (solo) is a breathing sound object which although given life is dying slowly as the batteries run out. Speaker_Forest was written to explore the relationship we have to the body, but became a refection of my relationship with my partner who suffers from asthma and serious breathing issues. I realised that the piece as I was writing it became less about how we embody technology as people, but how people are survived by technology and our reliance on them to keep us well. There were several instances where he was choking as he slept, so I grew accustomed to keeping one ear open, hoping that he would continue to breathe in the night. Quietly, the piece starts reflecting the state of mind one has from running through that checklist ‘Do you know where the inhaler is? Do you have the right medication nearby? Is your phone charged in case of emergency?’. The space changes as the perspective moves from one side of the bed as you ‘toss and turn’ and the breathing alters in intensity and regularity. The piece is about our relationship with technology, and the anxiety of never quite feeling comfortable with putting someone’s health in the palms of a program. As an artist wanting to conduct people towards a phenomenological experience it was important to not only develop sound pieces, but installations which conveyed sound through small-scale spatial works to guide this experience. Each of the works allows one to three people to interact freely, and encourages them to share in their listening experience. Listeners are given autonomy through the degree to which they participate; in this instance, engaging between a mediated sound space (‘composed environment’) or the daily Wellington cityscape. It’s about engaging in a shared listening space that doesn’t necessarily inhabit their everyday sound world and offers something new or refreshing.

Further documentation of Speaker_Forest, (solo) & (duo) is here: www.flowilson.com

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