Exploring the Efficiency of Artistic Practices within the Context of their Interaction
This exposition presents the artistic research project ‘Exploring the Efficiency of Artistic Practices within the Context of their Interaction’, which examines the ways in which artistic practices interact with one another. It understands practices as the organised media and structures through which a researcher is able to initiate and continue the process of environmental constitution, the embodied process through which the world emerges as meaningful for and with us. The project is situated within the context of a phenomenological approach to consciousness and sense-making. It demonstrates the potential of artistic practices as phenomenological methods; practices not merely for the creation of art but as vehicles for investigation into human experience.
The exposition is separated into two sections:
The first section attempts to present—that is, to make present—the environment as constituted by the researcher through his engagement with the four main artistic practices; descriptive writing, auditory diagramming, sketching and composing. As part of these practices, the initial engagement with the researcher's surroundings was established through the practices of listening and hearing - making this a primarily aural undertaking. The artefacts are given to the reader in a way that hopes to facilitate desired conditions in which the researcher’s perceived environment becomes present. The artefacts relate directly to the practices which allowed the researcher’s understanding of his environment, and are therefore powerful objects, which may allow the reader to come into contact with the same dynamics that allowed the environment to appear in the first place.
The second section contains a reflective text which looks back on this process of environmental constitution in an attempt to understand the role of each artistic practice within the context of their interaction. It also contextualises the project within the framework of artistic research, by understanding the artistic practices not only as methods for art creation, but also as mediators of human experience, and therefore as tools for understanding the way the world emerges with us. The text, therefore, simultaneously addresses the idea of consciousness as an enactive process, one which sees a blurring of agency between researcher, practice and environment.
The reflection is split into two sections, each referring to two different phases of research: the first, an open and generative approach to the engagement of the practices. The second, a pre-determined and deliberate structure for this engagement.
***CLICK FOR MORE INFORMATION*** reading as performance / reading as composition
At the end of ‘Sentences on Conceptual Art’ (1969), Sol LeWitt states: “these sentences comment on art but are not art.” In the same work he also remarks, “If words are used and they proceed from ideas about art, then they are art and not literature, numbers are not mathematics,” thus creating a paradigm. Is writing or talking about artistic ideas art or not?
… Let’s say for now that it could be.
John Cage famously defined music as the “organisation of sound” perhaps though, reflecting on the origin of the word composition as coming from the Latin componere meaning to “put together”, the ‘organisation of things’, may be a more suitable definition. Not only sound, but all elements of a performance could or perhaps should be organised, put together or composed.
Consider the situation where your (yes, you the readers) organisational decisions matter. Maybe it’s as simple as ‘do I read the text or look at the given example first?’ These decisions matter, they effect what is communicated and when, what knowledge or assumptions are carried and for how long. These decisions are thus meaningful and potentially compositional in nature, establishing a new question. Is all reading compositional?…
…Let’s say for now that it could be.
A Porous Consciousness in and as Artistic Practice: Re-engaging with classical Indian philosophy and aesthetics as a living tradition
Artistic creativity is critically and painstakingly intertwined with ecological creativity in Indian aesthetics. The underlying principles of form, grammar and structure are carefully considered applications and expansions of ecological principles. But what lies at the heart of a consciousness that can enact, embody and expand this creativity principle? I argue that the consciousness principle is 'porosity', an ability to transcend self to enter a state of being where life can move through as a seamless exchange of energy in consecrated time and space. This exposition draws insights from practice based research and unravels the practitioner’s point of view into subjective, qualitative research using text, image and movement. The philosophical and aesthetic underpinnings are drawn from Hindu Indian aesthetics, philosophy and ancient notions of ecology.
Composition as Commentary: Voice and Poetry in Electroacoustic Music
What is the role of a spoken or sung text in an electroacoustic composition? Does it represent anachronism, assigning the role of communication to the voice and thereby depriving more abstract electroacoustic material of its rhetorical force? Does the disembodied, electroacoustic voice distance the audience from the communicative power of the words that are heard? Although Simon Emmerson argued that the disembodied human voice in acousmatic music can often seem frustrating, this sense of disembodiment might be turned to the composer’s advantage, as the basis of a methodology for creative practice. In the process of developing a methodology to address questions of text, language, voice, and electroacoustic technology, I created two musical compositions. Both works used the untranslated words of an enigmatic Old English poem, ‘Wulf and Eadwacer’. At first glance, the idea of using a text in an obscure or ancient language that carries little or no semantic meaning for the listeners might raise further questions. Is this a deliberate attempt at obfuscation, hiding the paucity of the composer’s ideas behind a veneer of archaism or even naive exoticism? As my investigation progressed, I began to envisage the process of electroacoustic composition as a type of non-linguistic commentary on a text. Rather than hindering the listener’s understanding of a composition inspired by literature, the electroacoustic voice might help to reveal different interpretations of a text, allowing multiple ideas and identities to be heard.
The Missing Page: Place as Palimpsest and ‘Foil’
In this exposition, I analyse the making of The Missing Page, a short film I shot in 2016 (and completed much later, in 2018) in response to the disappearance of my mother, Dorothy, from her home for over twelve hours; she was later diagnosed with dementia. This exposition reflects on the key stages of the project: establishes the aims of the film and its inspirations; the nature of the exploratory research, which took place on location at my parent’s home; and the conclusions I drew. I also review my working methods and discuss influences such as slow cinema and defamiliarization, identifying the importance of narrative, ethnographic methods, sound design, the notion of ‘space’, ‘place’, and palimpsest in shaping my thoughts, and the progress of the making of the film.