9.30 am. My first MA tutorial of the morning engaged a process painter who is exploring dripping paint (as distinct from drip painting or painting drips). Such a simple proposition can have enormous implications. The study of the phenomenon requires a quasi-scientific methodology, precision, and accountability. The fall of a drop of liquid is also resonant with allusions. As the paint accumulated on the floor beneath the drip, I recalled the stalagmites that I’d seen in the caverns of Castleton, Derbyshire, over the summer, and a childhood fascination with beads of condensation that chased one another down the window pane.
In the second tutorial, we discussed paint in another state — as a stain upon the canvas. Again, this is a rudimentary matter, but one that presents considerable challenges for the artist. For example: developing an authoritative control over the shape, the rate of seepage, and the stain’s degree of opacity and viscosity. Few things in art are either easy or simple. 10.45 am. I held a BA dissertation tutorial with a student who is studying aspects of museum policy and practice in Saudi Arabia.
1.30 pm. I attended the inaugural meeting, held at the National Library of Wales, of my ‘An indexical-interpretive scope of sound documents at the National Screen and Sound Archive of Wales’ project:
The project’s objective are:
- To assess the holdings of the NSSAW and, guided initially by extant public databases and the archive’s staff, to define a body of material that could form the basis of commissioned sound-art projects.
- To develop a descriptive index and interpretive document of the investigative findings suitable for sound artists and historians seeking to develop projects using NSSAW material.
- To establish an on-going collaborative relationship with the NSSAW, realized in regularly convened meetings, and the development of ‘policy’ documentation aimed at: (a) promoting the archive’s contents within the professional sphere of sound-art studies; (b) developing a scheme for a second sound-art conference; and (c) producing a schedule of publications and a program of performance projects based upon sound art commissions, to be held at the NLW, School of Art, Aberystwyth University (SoA), Aberystwyth Arts Centre, and relevant public venues elsewhere.
- To determine a specific sound source-set capable of sustaining a practical and historical intervention by Harvey. The project would represent a practical exemplification of a sound-art commission based upon the archive, one which would follow on from his earlier research, which was realized in
R B V E Ǝ T N Ƨ O A (2014).
We also discussed the release, in the next few months, of R B V E Ǝ T N Ƨ O A, which is in the process of being mastered at a recording studio.
2.45 pm. I joined a staff meeting at the School of Art where its first year Fine Art provision and the School’s promotional strategy were under review. 3.45 pm. The final part of the afternoon was devoted to painting tutorials and pastoral consultations.
6.10 pm. Practice session 1. 7.30 pm. In the evening, I finalised the second phase of next week’s Art/Sound Workshop 2 project outline:
Holy Trinity Church: Silence
Holy Trinity Church is an Anglican church:
Architects: Middleton, Prothero, and Phillpot
Nave opened: 1886
Church completed: 1889
Builders: J & D Evans (nave, tower, and transcept); Thomas Hopkins (Chancel (up to the plinth course), vestries, organ chamber, and oak choir stalls).
General Description: Perpendicular Gothic, 5-bay with North West porch; 1 bay transepts, incomplete central tower (designed to have a spire) with North West polygonal stair turret; North East chapel and vestry to 3-bay chancel. Bull-nosed rubble masonry with freestone dressings, quoins, plinth band and string courses etc., as well as to chancel blind traceried parapet and East gable end; stepped buttresses; crucifix finial to West gable, others broken. Slate roofs, tiled cresting, eaves band, and pyramidal roof to tower. 3-light ogee double cusped nave windows with transoms and hoodmoulds, shortened to North West over pitched roof with 4-centred Tudor porch reached by steps leading from iron gated entrance. West front has shortened window over paired larger windows with more elaborate tracery and stilted hoodmoulds; central canopied niche. Plain tower faces; transepts have quatrefoil attic lights in square recesses over 5-light (ransomed windows; 2-light window to chancel with hoodmoulds; 5-light East window below 4-light louvered attic with ogee head. Similar masonry internally; hammerbeam roofs and crenellated wall plates with shields. Panelled tracery crossing arches with polygonal bases; similar blind tracery over linenfold panelling to East wall. Vacant canopied niches in chancel; sedilia and double cusped piscina.
The church also has one attribute that cannot be accounted for by an inventory of its architectural details, but is, nevertheless, a bi-product of all of them: the ambience. We will be present to experience and expound the relative silence of the interior, as well as adapt the process of what is called ‘deep listening’. This is to sound what life drawing is to vision. The term was coined by Pauline Oliveros (b. 1932), the American composer and developer of electronic art music. It was originally conceived as a means of training performers to respond to the environmental contexts in which they played. Its roots are in certain types of meditative practice. The development of sonic awareness (which is a concept comparable to John Berger’s (b. 1926) notion of ‘visual consciousness’ (Ways of Seeing (1972)) facilitates a greater degree of focal attention than we ordinarily possess.
9.40 pm. Practice session 2. In ‘the night watch’, I worked up the workshop worksheet: