October 27, 2014

The revision of the my circuit-bending juvenilia was launched over the weekend: Auld Tune (2014).


8.30 am. Having orientated the soul, I attended to more mundane and temporal matters — establishing my timetable for the week and beyond, and updating the Professional Practice lecture, which I’ll deliver at the close of the day. 9.30 am. I revived a studio notebook that is kept whenever I return to image making after a hiatus. Now is that time, once again. For those students undertaking the undergraduate Research, Process & Practice module: this is my ‘visual diary’:


During a restless period last night, thoughts arose regarding the process and structure of a visual analogue of The Floating Bible sound work. When an idea comes with such clarity, one must act  — if only to prove its metal. For there can be a yawning credibility gap between the quality of an idea and the integrity of its visual realisation. So, some initial, developmental strategies:

1  The text of the printed Bible will be translated into handwriting. This is visual equivalent of speaking the printed text: likewise, a conversion of the source through the agency of the reader’s body and idiosyncratic articulation. Fountains pens were readied:


2 Following the process principles underlying the sound version of the project, I stretched a word horizontally to the width of a double-spread bible page. The outcome was too obvious, too literal, and insufficiently transformed:


However, when the same word was stretched vertically, to the height of the page column, the resultant image (here shown on its side) resembled the waveform graph of a sound:


You cannot stretch a sound recording vertically, because there’s no such thing as vertical time. (I’m more than willing to be proved wrong.) The passage of time ‘feels’ horizontal: ‘Time stretches before us’, as the saying goes. Not ‘above us’. To stretch a recorded word vertically on a waveform graph is to increase its volume only. So, by analogy and notionally, this vertically-stretched word is very loud indeed.

3 I need, now, to visualize the stretches of shorter words and of the shortest words (‘a’ and ‘I’), and source ‘bible paper’ (which would seems to be, conceptually, the most appropriate support on which to print the works), as well as a means of printing on such thin, fragile, and shiny paper. By the end of the afternoon, I’d made progress on all fronts.

5.10 pm. I gave the Professional Practice lecture. The opportunities for self promotion afforded by internet are bewildering. ‘In my day’, the scope for advertising oneself and one’s work was limited to whatever one could stuff into a manila envelope:


7.15 pm. The sound equipment for tomorrow’s Art/Sound workshop was trundled to the School, where one of my students was waiting to help install (with great enthusiasm) the eight amp/oscillator units throughout the building. Two hours later the building resonated fiercely and loudly, like a site of heavy industry. We’d successfully overlaid the architecture of stone with one of sound.

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