July 26, 2018

7.45 am: A late rise. (Sleep catch-up.) 8.30 am: Off to the Old College:

My regular route, via the Promenade, was cordoned off by the police, following the hotel fire yesterday. From 9 am to 11 am, I conducted MA tutorials with those painters who’ll be exhibiting in September. They’re shaping-up. As a tutor, it’s so rewarding to engage with such committed, sensible, and self-aware students. These days, I find myself talking with them as artists rather more than as tutees. Whatever will be their next step in life, I’m confident that they’ll succeed in it.

11.15 am: I’d time to catch up on emails and admin at the watering hole before moving on to the mothership for an MA consultation on sound installation. The problem was intriguing. The student wished to separate out a number of sonic elements comprising an installation. Each needed to be distinct even as they interacted, unmuddied by the resonances of the room, and appropriate for the audience’s position therein.

Afterwards, I advised another MA student of an entirely different approach to sound dispersion. I’m intrigued at the prospect of their endeavour:

After lunch, I returned to homebase and the studio for the remainder of the day. To begin, I reviewed yesterday’s achievements and the modulation equipment attached to the DJ rig. It was replaced, wholesale, by the Eventide units, augmented by several Moog filters. Together they provide a formidable breadth of possibilities and subtly. The intent is to tease and gently massage the sound into shape, rather than give it a full-on physio. It takes an inordinate time, shuffling the deck like a diligent croupier, to eke out something that’s- intriguing, elegant, and useable. After a while, what can only be described as a body-rhythm develops. Potters acknowledge the same experience. The distinction between the rotating clay and their fingers and hands gradually disappears; they dance together as one:

Late afternoon, I explored further combinations of the various stretched samples of acoustic writing.

7.30 pm: On, then, to play with the turntables through the Eventide modulators. At this juncture, I allowed the equipment to determine its own outcomes and, in so doing, to objectify what I was not after:

Some principles and observations derived from today’s engagements:

  • A painting consists of both what it represents and how it represents. The former is a matter of indifference. (A painting can be about anything. Although, as Rothko remarked, it cannot be about nothing.) The latter is of supreme importance. The quality of a work inhabits the integrity, innovativeness, imagination, and technical craft by which it’s made.
  • Creative practice is a discussion between the artist and the artwork. Only together and in negotiation can they arrive at an agreement.
  • What you hear is not only the sound coming out of the speakers but also the speakers’ position in the room, the transmission of the sound through whatever they’re placed upon into the floor, the resonance and reflections of the room, your position within it, the proximity of the speakers to you, and the character of your acoustic acuity (the quality of your listening, biologically and intellectually).
  • A monochrome painting can, at worst, feel like a sandwich without a filling.
  • The fallow times are the best of times. It’s during the apparently fruitless periods that the greatest maturation takes place. Trust the process: the harvest will come in due season.
  • Just as absence makes the heart grow fonder, so also time-out from your work will enhance both your passion and commitment on return.
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