Artist residencies are interesting for their different-ness – few residencies seem to be the same -, but there is something incredible about the intensive nature and approach which they allow for. The luxury of time with no other distractions, responsibilities or guilts – if you can hold these at bay – is a really changing experience for getting in deep with your work. The days stretch out long, and progress meanders between productivity and procrastination, but all edging towards the heart of the work itself. They can feel extremely self-indulgent as the everyday can be thoroughly neglected, and new and unusual routines emerge quickly focused around the act of making, or sometimes the act of avoiding the work. This is all healthy and productive. Taking a walk can be really the most useful thing you can do.
That being said, this was not a gentle paced residency in lots of ways. I arrived with a long list and set of goals to reach during my seven day stint, and I largely stuck to it. I allowed the location – the place – to seep into the work, to influence, settle and change again my relationship with the work in progress.
Where Do We Go From Here?
The piece I have been developing, Sound Horn, is a sculptural and sound installation comprised of a six speaker surround sound system, that plays through a series of large horn-like sculptures that sprout from the ground. The work looks to encourage audiences to playfully explore the site in which it is installed, for the site where it is installed ultimately shapes the nature of the work. With each site tested or explored using the Sound Horns, the work hones in a little in my understanding of it. The installation sings, reverberating a tune of it’s own making that fills the space and reaches out as it travels. An immersive meditation on the audible place, the subtle changes in tone as audience and sound move around the space, it’s come on leaps and bounds this week.
During the residency, I was able to install the work twice in two different locations, the first very poetically beautiful and almost ornate – around the frog pond, an exposed and open environment, but somehow still with a hint of the domestic. The audience for this first installation comprising of two curious highland cattle. The second, in a small section of woodland just away from the track, involving the stepping away from the path, over the ditch and through the branches felt a little more involved, and was shared with the other artists on residence with me at the time (thank you all!).
Now, You Have Arrived
I set myself some interesting challenges for the week, to push my own comfort zones, to learn some new digital skills and to familiarise myself further with the work and the way it responds to the place. I developed three new sound sketches for the installation, all created using recordings at Cove Park including vocal arrangements and field recordings. Having lived with quite a long time fear of sharing my voice in the work, this has felt like a big step, however I’m keeping the audio under wraps for now.
It was also very exciting to meet other artists on the programme, hear about their passions and current projects, exchange thoughts and opinions and hear about their daily developments, and our collective quest to gather the best recordings of the frogs. I’ve learned a lot already from the conversations and really look forward to seeing how the works all develop, and where the Cove influences appear.
Don’t get too comfortable.
I was spending a week at Cove Park as part of the Cryptic Artists Residency, developing the work Sound Horn. Originally conceived as an idea with sound artist Justin Prim, I’m now taking the piece forwards for a new installation in 2019.
Special thank you to the Cryptic team for an amazing opportunity, and to the Cove Park team for their warm welcome and beautiful location to be based in for the week.