for those of you who were following my cone of silence antics, you might also wanna check out this show at conical which opens whilst i'm down the coast on friday (d'oh!)
i've pinched all of this from the conical site and i'm hoping to update with a link to Cara-Ann's own site shortly.
oh, and by the way, my thesis on sound in the public space (who could resist the invitation of those dainty headphones) is online. it's only 60MB so feel free to download it :)
‘The Act of Things That Aren’t There’
The work of Cara-Ann Simpson is about constructing environments where the ephemeral nature of experience is explored. This exploration forms a seminal material within the reading of the work ‘Noise Cancellation: disrupting audio perception’ as this installation questions the relationship between public and private space as an architectural metaphor for spatial collage. This is done by creating objects that have a physical and sonic construction.
The validity of Simpson’s work is to question its own existence within a site-specific context creating a composition that isn’t about sound as music but about sound as object. The work is suspended within a particular time and space where an interruption between various elements meets and overlaps, leading to a transformation of the object into an observational landscape. This landscape is constructed through the audio which creates a spatial collage that juxtaposes and knits together disparate aural elements from inaudible whispers, the clatter of the site and the viewer’s physical presence within the space. This form of sonic collage transforms the actual physical reality of the object sitting in the gallery space. The object now must be read as not only just a Post-minimalist form but also as an object transmitting a signal which creates an assemblage of readings and meanings within the installation. It is from this point that the work creates a stage that is set up to rebuild the understanding of the object from its concrete and aural realities.
What Simpson’s work achieves, is to shift the roles of interior and exterior space in relation to the viewer. In this context the anticipated boundaries between object, gallery and viewer are shifted within the exhibition space. Thus there is a fluctuation between concrete reality (that of the object as a Post-minimalist sculpture) and the audio (as an elevation of ordinary sound to form a mapping of experience). The work thus acts as a temporal vessel inhabiting the gallery space but also the physical space of the viewer as the work is to be experienced through a duality of reading. This duality is created through the viewing of the audio speaker both as an object and as audio sound that creates an ephemeral collage.
Simpson’s ‘Noise Cancellation: disrupting audio perception’ is an evolving installation that is constantly being repositioned within an immediacy of collaged space, where a highly structured object meets with the uncontrolled experience of the viewer. In this context the work can be seen as an ‘act’ carried out through the positioning of one object and its relationship to the abstract behaviour of the viewers’ patterns of movement and dialogue. This ‘act’ becomes an ongoing transient process of imbedding conceptual intention within the randomness of an individual’s viewing and listening experience. It is within this frame that the work acts to form indistinguishable ways of experiencing the duality between an object and its ephemeral construction of spatial dialectics.
Kyle Jenkins Toowoomba, 2009
When I first approached engineer, Eva Cheng, to help me with this project I wanted to investigate a field of emerging technology – almost as an analytical and creative experiment. While the technological outcomes are exciting, it seems that the most interesting outcome is more to do with perception of sound within society.
The question is not so much about how sound is produced within our society, but rather how we interpret sound and respond to it. For example, I am currently sitting at my computer with a blanket over my head and computer and with earmuffs for working with loud machines on. I am trying to isolate myself from the sound that exists in the same room – in this case my partner playing a great slow psychedelic Melbourne-based band loudly from his desk. My earmuffs are working to muffle the noise to a certain point – just enough for me to ignore the music and attempt concentration on another subject. I am unable to dislocate myself from the noise of my surroundings, which is perhaps why my practice investigates the very nature of sound and its cultural implications.
Noise Cancellation: disrupting audio perception explores sound as a form of creativity, a product of engineering and science, and as a cultural experiment. There has been much discussion on modes of listening within cultural theory and modern philosophy, but it has often been the case of separating listening from hearing. This installation questions the validity of separating listening and hearing, instead suggesting an equality that leads towards sameness. Roland Barthes proposed a formal separation of hearing and listening by separating the physiological from psychological. However, as portable music players become increasingly accessible and ‘essential’, theories on hearing and listening must change accordingly. Michael Bull describes the effects of the iPod as “the creation of a personalised soundworld” that “creates a form of accompanied solitude for its users in which they feel empowered, in control and self-sufficient”. Bull’s ideas imply that perhaps we can reach a state of listening where we are also hearing – accepting the additional environmental noises around us as part of our ‘soundtrack’. Perhaps it is possible for the ‘modern listener’ to merge Barthes’ notion of hearing as to do with the body in space and awareness of surroundings with his notion of listening as an act of concentration and decisiveness to analyse sounds. In many ways we are doing this already – accepting traffic noise on public transport while listening to music, or those few moments at the end of a song where nothing is playing but the environmental sounds allow that moment to merge with the next song – a constant fusion of sound and music through physiological and psychological listening/hearing. But my query lies more within the realm of removing music from this equation and asking the participant to give that same level of attention to the environmental sounds.
Noise Cancellation: disrupting audio perception forces audience participation by recording the sounds of any person entering the space – but it also asks for interaction by physiologically and psychologically hearing and listening. The installation spits out the sounds we make straight back at us, changing and altering signals – asking us to pay attention and find the difference. These alterations are disquieting – they are not loud and vicious, but blend back into the surroundings, subtly altering our cognition of the space both as a physical and psychological manifestation. Where Barthes suggests that listening is about psychologically deciding on what to ignore, this installation asks us to consider accepting all. To be as aware of the output from the speakers as of our own sounds, those sounds around us, and those sounds beyond the room.
B LaBelle, Background Noise: Perspectives on Sound Art, The Continuum International Publishing Group Inc, New York, London, 2006.
M Bull, ‘No Dead Air! The iPod and the Culture of Mobile Listening’, from Leisure Studies, Vol. 24, No. 4, October 2005, p. 353.
Cara Ann Simpson, 2009
Cara-Ann Simpson is a multidisciplinary artist with a focus on the tension between visuality and aurality. In 2007, Simpson graduated from the University of Southern Queensland with a Bachelor of Visual Arts with Distinction, and in 2008, she completed her Bachelor of Visual Arts First Class Honours (USQ). Simpson was the recipient of the Hobday and Hingston Bursary from the Queensland Art Gallery in 2007, the Asia-Pacific Golden Key International Honours Society Visual & Performing Arts Sculpture Award (2008) and was awarded the University of Southern Queensland Faculty of Art – Visual Arts medal (2007). Simpson has recently been included in numerous emerging artist awards including the Wilson HTM National Art Prize 2009, Agendo 2009 and the Port Jackson Press Graduate Printmaking Award 2009.
Simpson has had a number of solo shows, sounds releases and been involved in numerous performances and group shows within Australia, New Zealand and the United Arab Emirates. In 2008 she installed a work at the Australasian Computer Music Conference (sound:space), Sydney Conservatorium of Music, and curated and performed a sound art collaboration, Audio Aware, with Lawrence English (Brisbane) at the Brisbane Powerhouse as part of the University of Southern Queensland’s tradeshow. She moved to Melbourne in early 2009.
Noise Cancellation was sponsored by the Janet Holmes à Court Artists’ Grant Scheme, supported through a donation by Mrs Janet Holmes à Court, financial assistance from the Visual Arts Board of the Australia Council and administered through NAVA, the National Association for the Visual Arts.
Posted by lauren at 17:52
some of these are by design. others are unfortunate circumstances. either way, i'm on holidays next week.
• any of the things i do for my day job
• use my laptop
• look in my diary
• go to these exhibition openings:
Abbotsford Convent, 1 St Helier's Street, Abbotsford
ADAM CRUICKSHANK, HIT & MISS, KOTOE ISHII, ROB MCLEISH, SIMON PERICICH, DELL STEWART, EMILE ZILE.
opening 25th november
Leading 100 Horses to Drink
Tai Snaith at Kings ARI on King St, Melbourne
opening 27th november
Goodbye Yellow Brick Road
The Commission Gallery, Upstairs 25 Bray St, Off Commercial Rd, Prahran
opening 27th november
• wake up at 6:30 (except maybe to get on a plane)
• miss my awesome friend jem's birthday
• catch a tram
• post a blog
• think about work - art-related or otherwise
• worry. i've got someone doing that for me already.
"Indeed, when we dress up, when we're on display and at our most public, these are the times when our costumes get the most pretendy - we get married dressed as princesses and officers - then go back to our everyday lives dressed as squaddies, rockstars or resting athletes."
a beautiful quote by russell davies in his fabulous post about pretend, costume, fashion and a whole range of ideas around playing roles.
i've been cycling around ideas of fashion, headphone culture and their roles in public, so this is perfectly timed, as usual
This Saturday (14th November, 2009) i'm going to embark on my first endurance/durational art work. i'm a bit nervous and excited all at the same time. i'm nervous because i don't know a whole lot about this kind of performance work. i know a few key artists who do this kind of work - mostly from sydney**, really - but apart from that, i'm kind of flying blind. heading into this realm has evolved from prior conceptual works i've done about listening in the city and i thought it would be worthwhile to try it and see.
i'm also nervous because it's going to be 35ºC on Saturday and the Myer Christmas Parade will be marching straight past me. For those who aren't in Melbourne, the MCP is a huge commercial venture that takes up a ridiculous amount of time, energy, space and noise in the centre of town, heralding all things Myer. And Santa. And kids. It's prime fodder for The Small Paper and various limp broadcasters.
I'm nervous because, even on a regular day, i'm exhausted after attending to the sounds of the city by not drowning them out, or sublimating them. Add to that extra heat, time and sound and i'm expecting to be brain-dead by 9pm.
However, i'm excited because the outcome, for me, is still largely unknown. It's an area that i'm looking forward to venturing into and i'm looking forward to being part of the anode festival in the crazy way that I am. This work also provides some opportunities for me to discover ways to present conceptual and time-based work without video* and to continue investigating ways that i can convey what i'm interested in to others. It's the first work i'll have made post-post-grad, so the pressure to document the bejesus out of it has, thankfully, been reduced.
I'm also excited because it feels like the need for work that takes time, that isn't quite so 2.0, is returning and that process, as opposed to 'taddah!' outcome needs to be nutured again.
And perhaps there's also something personal about the relationship between pain and art, politics and suffering that is attractive or curious to me at the moment. It feels ernest (although i'll have that with a pinch of salt, please). Perhaps this is how marathon runners, or 24-hour cyclists feel before their race.
I wonder why we feel the need to do pursue these things in this way? What is the attraction of stamina when it comes to our pursuits? Is it a basic need to overcome? Or something more symptomatic than that?
Anyway, if you're around, i'll be on the corner of Bourke and Elizabeth Sts, Melbourne between 1pm and 9pm. Come and hang out with me. Listen with me if you want - i'll have a 'guest' notebook you can record into - and of course I'll be twittering, probably doing a blog on the day and uploading pics once an hour (on my toilet break). Stay tuned.
** Mike Parr, Todd McMillan, Marley Dawson and Kate Mitchell have all done endurance works that i really admire. And of course Marina Abramovic who is not from Sydney, but is a big influence.
*although i'm still umming and ah-ing about that.
i just assume that people are going to die of old age. especially people i don't know personally, but who are in my peripheral vision. I'm always afraid that my close friends and family will die in horrific ways, but every one else i know - the guy who owns the video store, Karen who i buy my felt from and any director of every biennale - they all just die of old age.
i'm shocked and saddened - to use an overused expression - to hear about the murder of Nick Waterlow, Sydney-based curator and Director of Ivan Dougherty Gallery at COFA. I didn't know him personally, but a couple of his exhibitions and essays have stood out in my memory - especially his views on art practice as research. And he was a feature, a mark, of the australian art scene. A constant, of sorts.
My thoughts go to his family. So sad.
i've been thinking about the relationship between purpose and beauty a lot lately. it seems i believe that the purpose of all good humans is to be beautiful and that if you're not, you're pointless.
yet, if you had've said that directly to me, i would have told you to get fucked.
i'm practicing the art of having purpose lately. not the kind of purpose that rationalises the bejesus out of everything, but the kind that counteracts the idea of beauty-as-value that rationalises the bejesus out of everything. and yes, i do see the irony of this situation, given that, as an artist, i'm supposed to be on beauty's side.
i just finished my masters' degree and, as part of it, spent time reflecting on the 5 projects i did over the 8 weeks prior to handing in my thesis. one thing i didn't go into in that document, but something which was a vital aspect of doing a masters course was the level of professional development.
in australia, there are a variety of ways that artists can further their careers without sleeping with the men at the top.
big arts grants are just one of them. having not actually receive one (yet, ahem), i'm still riding on the ideal that they provide a financial (and maybe critical) base from which artists can create better works - ones that mr illogical from the mx might actually like, or even better, hate. i don't think australia is very good at handling its public arts money, in that it's still a bit of a gamble - on both sides of the fence.
in my limited experience, professional development is most beneficial when it is an inherent aspect of the projects and opportunities we're given.
one of the reasons i did my masters was to give myself the opprtunity to
burn out really focus on my work for an extended period of time with access to technical know-how, resources, networks and critique. it wasn't perfect, but it was definitely a concentrated development on my professional practice and one that i could not have done on my own. public money (as well as a huge chunk of my own, thanks very much) well spent? i think so.
even better than doing my masters was the experience i had at electrofringe. they gold starred on a whole range of professional development areas (at least for me, personally) and i would encourage loads of government, cultural and funding groups/strategies to take a little from them.
gold star #1. selection process.
firstly, the process to be
validated selected was simple - an application via email with an image or 2. none of this crazy '25 page thesis; 10 images - either still or video, but never both; calculated CV and proof that you're a sure-fire ROI'. phew!
gold star #2 accommodation.
then, once selected, i had my accommodation organised for me. not only did this save on stress and anxiety, but the importance of having a little base was taken into account - i had somewhere to sleep, eat, organise my shit (so to speak). it sounds basic, but having this level of support was vital to being able to focus on the work and not on stupid day-to-day garbage.
gold star #3 artist fee.
i was paid to be part of the festival. not a lot, but you know what - that's ok at the moment. the gesture is there and i'm sure artists with a lot more experience got paid a lot more, appropriately. the fact of the matter is that, as an artist, my presence was valued financially too and i wasn't just expected to do work for the old 'exposure/CV/fun of it' deal. ironically, this was one festival that i would have happily done that for, but don't tell them that. :D
gold star #4 programming
it was awesome - i had enough performances and/or time to get out of the work what i wanted/needed to, with enough time to see a few other works, make those connections and have some down time. they tried to make my trip to newcastle as worthwhile as possible, including giving a presentation.
gold star #5 networks (accommodation, part 2)
at every opportunity, daniel and somaya introduced us to other electrofringe artists. partly so they could rush off and do other things, but also because they knew that the level of conversation, chit chat, meetings and greetings that can be had - from a purely social to the quasi-american psycho styles - are incredibly valuable. to humans and to artists alike. heh.
plus, with the accommodation, they chucked a mixed bunch of artists all in the same apartment together and left us to our own devices. it could well have been a disaster in other apartments, but i had a lovely time in ours and learnt loads from talking to that bunch of strangers. it also gave us an instant audience. i made sure i went to the works of my room mates if i could and they regularly asked how the cone was going - chatting in the street when we passed.
and the best thing? it was all with the spirit of generosity, guidance, experience and flexibility. not box-ticking, or conservative risk management. because i felt supported and connected and valued, i was able to feel at ease about developing my work (which helps make better work). i could also reciprocate - help out where i could, chat to people and enjoy myself. nothing kills the buzz quicker than being overwrought.
and, dare i say it, i'm not really sure an arts grant could have quite given me that experience. i don't really want to give our illogical friend a reason to say 'i told you so' because i think that divesting funds to artists in helpful ways is fucking vital, but perhaps it's time to reassess the tradition of arts grant hoop-jumping and boring 'where's my money ralph?' economic rationalism that goes with it.
and, as i mentioned, this is just my perspective and i'm not expecting that others' experiences are the same. but then again, it's my blog, so you probably figured that bit out already.
UPDATE: marcus westbury has just written a valid and slightly depressing article on how the australia council (the federal arts funding body) are missing out on opportunities that they really could have pioneered. here's hoping that the ABC goes into arts funding soon, otherwise half of us will die starving or overseas.
the anode festival opened in melbourne on friday night and i remembered that i should really tell you all about a work i have in it.
it's the third in a series of city listening works and this one, 85 decibels, baby!, is a durational work - a long one. i'll be attending to the sounds of city - listening to as much of that cacophony as possible - for 8 hours straight.
8 hours. a traditional working timeframe and the one deemed 'safe' to listen to 85 decibels.
85 decibels is the apparent sound level of city traffic. from inside a car.
i'll be out in the open, with headphones on as that muffler.
i'll be subverting that desire to make the unwanted, the 'noise' subliminal.
the performance will be on saturday 14th november, 2009: 1- 9pm. on the corner of bourke and elizabeth sts in melbourne CBD. feel free to pop down and say hello.
listen with me if you want to.
i'm hoping to post an image each hour and, if we can find a way, hopefully webcasting it somehow. although that's still to be worked out exactly. i will, however, be making notes and images in a series of books and i'll post those images afterwards.
for more info about the rest of the program, check out the anode site.