February 23, 2018

Silence, then …
Discreet, unannounced 

{Silence, that’s
rejection or reserve;
departure or discipline?}

… Then, silence.*

8.00 am: A communion. 8.30 am: I began finalising the texts for the I. Nothing. Lack album before sending it off to my trusted ‘remote ear’ for a discerning appraisal and feedback. I’ll also need the go-ahead for publication from the Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Wales, and to initiate further discussions with them about the future of sound/dementia studies. I would not have imagined, a year ago, my work having any relationship with medical science. This was never my ambition; I did not choose this path. It arose, rather, as the natural outcome of a way of thinking and acting. To my mind, this is when the dimension of so-called ‘public impact’ to research is authentic. Too often, the researcher strains to make the work relevant or possess an application that isn’t native to its nature.

I believe in the notions of pure research and art for art’s sake. But I’m also increasingly convinced that art can, on occasion, have a ‘reach’ beyond both its intent and the narrow (in my case) bounds of its assumed audience. The general public are far more receptive to ‘difficult’ work than one might imagine. However, that receptivity needs to be acquired and tutored. The artist has a responsibility to ‘educate’ and grow an audience by initiating a conversation with them. The public aren’t stupid, for the most part. They’re just require an informed context, the tools to hear, an openness to new ideas and experiences, and patient trust.

9.00 am: A view into the studio, where I’ll be returning for the next few weeks:

11.30 am: Off, then, to the see the nurse and be unstitched:

I’ve moved to a village surgery. In contrast to my previous practice, the space is intimate, visually noisy, personable, humane, and technologically ‘lite’ (no screens, automated check-in, and terse robotic voice). The nurse tackled a knotty problem with finesse. There were few ‘ouches’ under the breath on my part. (I was a brave boy.):

1.45 pm: A enjoyed a hastily eaten beans on toast before climbing back onto the study chair. Now that the I. Nothing. Lack. was in the birth canal (as it were), I could return to ‘The Talking Bible’ project. ‘Now where was I?’

Having completed the digitisation of the vinyl set, I was ready to undertake a superimposition of all the individual files representing the sides of the vinyl discs. This may create an accumulated sound that is either deadpan and obvious or else almost mystical in the outcome. Before I began the process of mixing-down whole books of the Bible, I reviewed the tracks and works related to the album in general that I’d made to date. The experience of undertaking I. Nothing. Lack has helped to clarify aspects of my approach to this album of works. How often, for me, have the problems of one work been solved in terms of another.

7.30 pm: There’s no shortcut to mixdown on this scale. So, I set the process in motion for the remainder of the evening.

*For Amy Seed

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