Link to Reflective Text

13.10.16 // 11:20

There is almost a stillness, you can hear it, it’s there but there is still so much in the way. Wait...there it is, it reveals itself briefly indicated by the clear sound of air running through a vent, or perhaps the quiet wind-like breathing of a machine in the distance. The stillness doesn’t last long but when it’s there, it dominates the space. Most of the time there are sounds which serve to puncture the stillness. These sounds are mostly not severe, but are rather small clattering, rustling sounds in the distance. A door closes, feet shuffle, plastic crumbles all so gently, but in a sporadic way, which suggests they don’t belong to each other and are unaware of each other’s presence.


Sometimes doors are closed softly, bags rustle slowly and coupled with the stillness, this presents a gentleness to the place. However, this isn’t always the case as the doors are slammed in the distance, voices are raised and movements are quick and seemingly erratic. This feels like an interruption, an intrusion, which makes clear that the seemingly “natural” state of the place is one of calm, gentleness and still.

*towards the end of my first engagement with writing, i also started composing. this interaction forced me to question the tools of each practice. one of which was the temporality which both practices conditioned. through a comparison of these two practices i concluded that writing offered a very rigid temporality governed by referring to the environment in a narrative form. to try and subvert this temporality, i attempted to modify the practice by not using punctuation or building sentences. by doing so i hope to learn about the tools of the practice, whilst also rupturing my relationship with my environment as mediated by the practice in order to further understand it.

It feels like a vast space, the sound surrounds me as if I were at an airport or in some part of a museum. The same calmness is present here, as machines produce the airy hum which underpins all audible phenomenon. The reverberant qualities attached to hard sounds of stone and wood remind me of public spaces, civilised spaces for civilised activity. The voices are civilised, they are gently, not strained but soft. Well, most of the time. There are also voices which rise above the rest, they pop out of nowhere and are distant, but loud. They are not strained, but their tone is different to the ones which surround me. Are they breaking the rules? I’m not sure, it doesn’t seem too invasive, as if there are several modes of behaviour, several ways to voice yourself. What does it depend on? It normally depends on their proximity to me. The softer voices are close and the louder more jovial voices are distant, which is an interesting dichotomy. The louder voices occur in the same proximity as the footsteps, the movement of bodies. The softer voices occur where movement and sounds of movement are fleeting. Here and there. Close to me are the sounds of rustling bags, paper turning or jiggling or dancing softly and in the distance are footsteps and then doors slamming, metal banging. When the banging fades and the rustling stops, there they are, the sounds of machines gently breathing and beeping, is this coordinated? It suddenly feels like a barren land, the activity is gone, all that is left is the heaving gentle wind. However, this doesn’t last long, in fact, for this to occur is almost an anomaly, rare, but important. Even when the wind of the machines isn’t there, it is. It lives in the reverberation of distant activity, a place held together by its reverberance, with stone, wood, plastic, paper all dissipating into the sound of machines. Like an effervescent tablet dissolves into a million particles until it is so sparse that it becomes one with the body of water into which it was placed. Maybe it’s not exactly like this, maybe as the tablet disintegrates and releases gas, the popping bubbles on the top of the water become the audible activities of the many, which blend themselves into the whole frothy mess.

06.10.16 // 14:06

Here is a behaviour filter. I am surrounded by constant movement. Footsteps. Whirring machines. All of which are blurred due to the cavernous space, which surrounds this small island. The quick purposeful movements of travelling bodies become careful and restrained, as they move from the outskirts through the island. The island is a place of quiet, of small, clear sounds. Careful rustling of plastic and fabric. Movement here is soft and slow. The surroundings belong to the island and vice versa, and although there are times when their opposition is more present, they essentially vibrate and pulse as one. The activity here is sporadic but constant. Constantly sporadic. Static, but in motion. Like a wave which never crashes, pulsing up and down, heaving, breathing. There is a machine which intermittently produces slithers of white noise. Depending on the mood, it can be very loud and irritating. The noise is not localisable and lives somewhere in the surroundings.

*here, another modification of my original practice of descriptive writing can be seen. having engaged with composing for a period of time, i felt as though i had lost touch with my environment. i therefore looked to written language to help me focus again. i decided to modify the practice by concentrating on the associative aspects of the environment which appeared through writing. according to my notes at the time, i was seeking to confirm the actual nature of some phenomena by a possible exaggeration offered through a focus on my associations.

11.10.16 // 11:00

There is a constant blurry presence of movement and human interaction. Footsteps and voices can be heard in the distance, moving from A to B, but their presence can be soft. Spontaneously these sounds of footsteps and voices move closer, become clearer, harder and purposeful, before escaping back into the distance.

A general calm can be broken through outbursts of distant voices which become loud, commanding and unrestrained. Doors clatter shut, sometimes unpleasantly loud, mostly as part of the constant background sea of noise.

Apart from the blurry, reverberant voices in the distance, the sounds here are mostly crisp, hard and cold. Wooden, plastic, stone. The coldness and unfriendliness of these sounds is only exacerbated by the presence of a large space. The association of a museum comes to mind.

Constantly sporadic. Doors close, footsteps move, distant talking, distant walking. There is a sense of spontaneity regarding movement, but the movement occurs so often that it sits on the edge awaiting the transition to become part of the sea of noise. I guess they are separate but also not.

A sea of noise. A constant spontaneity. Here is where the blurred lines of behaviour begin. On one side is calmness, where a sea of voices exists. The other is a sparse and calming spontaneous presence. Both have something to do with calm and chaos.

footsteps step step voices in the background sea of voices people speaking close but not too close sea of noise seas of voices indecipherable conversation close it is quiet close it is calm there are machines around here but they are pleasant they don’t disturb me spontaneous movement but not erratic step step step step machine beeping calm whispering people whispering constantly close but quiet machines in the distance making noise is it pleasant Is it not footsteps far away step step stone step stone sharp close step distant blurry movement beep quiet beeping somewhere not locatable stone stone movement moving past me coming close and then moving away there is close and there is far i can hear that it is a large space somewhere else are voices slight amount of stress steps loud steps far away constant and erratic

04.11.16 // 11:30


28.10.16 // 13:24

28.10.16 // 15:11

wind not wind white noise but gentle machine ventilator background people laughing distant happiness getting louder calmness stillness is close calm wind calm almost silent drone calm voice very far away distant doors closing far away metal soft metal movement background feet shuffling door closes harder calm quiet quiet slight movement small sounds footsteps stone shoes very distant careful movement small sounds airy drone constant drone calm bored quiet calm calm machines breathing gently me breathing gently gentle rustling slow movement door closes metal slam but seems gentle footsteps people movement machine is still long pauses silences sudden movement gentle movement still machine airy drone blowing in the wind hit door rustling small sounds sharp sounds stone metal air distant distant calm caress calm movement in the distance slam calm here is calm there is movement there are voices distant conversation communication distant reverberant footsteps close clear random passing coming and going not permanent and then quiet air machine rustling distant static not static

07.10.16 // 11:00

The voices and movements which inhabit this place are cautious, paced and gentle. There is a presence of restraint amongst the living presences. This is in opposition to the sounds of machines, which sporadically beep, whirr and grumble. The behaviour of the machines often influence that of the living presences, who in turn become prone to loud outbursts of sound, as they let down their guard and release themselves from the unspoken behavioural constricts of this place. The living presences soon become conscious of their change in the way they handle themselves and once again become restrained and careful.
Doors bang continuously in the background but in such a way that there is almost no intrusion on the careful and quiet presence inhabiting my immediate surroundings. They are able to achieve a continuous spontaneity which seems almost organic.

Most of the activity in this place occurs in the distance. Sounds are steeped in reverberation and blurry in form. The presence of the “outside” or “otherness” is strongly reinforced by this. At times it seems as though you have no control over these distant presences, something which is not pleasant. Small sounds exist close to my body. Small movements, paper, plastic, fabric, material. Small and careful. Clear. Foreground. The place feels calm, but busy. There are varieties of stationary and transitory presences here, but there is still some form of harmony.

11.10.16 // 15:15

There is a constant presence of life here. Constant voices, constant sounds. Machines beeping. There is an interesting relationship between the voices present close to me and those which are far away. Those close are clear, decipherable but slightly restrained, quiet and on the verge of a whisper. Those voices which are distant are blurry, but loud, boisterous and seemingly unconscious of their own presence in the space.


There is a presence in the distance which is like a buzzing, a throbbing. The buzzing of worker bees, aimless. It could be seen as the core of all activity. It is a constant blurry presence of movement, human movement. Footsteps and voices are heard in the distance, moving from A to B. The intensity of the hive fluctuates as it grows and diminishes in size. Every now and then a bee leaves the hive and gravitates to my proximity indicated through the clearness of their sound and the purposefulness of their movements. These spontaneous sounds of footsteps and voices move closer, become harder and quicker and then escape back into the distance.


Through the blurred and reverberant sound of this humming activity, I know that this presence is far away from my person. I know that there is a centre of activity elsewhere, which in turn renders my immediate location as something other than busy, purposeful and boisterous. It becomes clear that immediately around my body is a presence of calm. Other bodies move through here, indicated by the sound of directional footsteps, but a certain conscious modulation of their behaviour is present. The footsteps become slightly quieter, the way speech is produced is much different, far more restrained. However, it doesn’t feel as though the two areas I describe are essentially separate, rather two self-confirming, self-sustaining versions of a greater presence. This greater presence is elastic, it expands and contracts.

14.10.16 // 21:54

The presence of isolation seems to poke its head out of the airy drone of machines, which is continuous, monotonous. Fleeting sounds of movement seem as though they are miles away from me as the airy drone comes closer and closer. During the day the very same drone has a pleasant presence serving to offer sweet relief against the bombardment of movement, footsteps, stone, wood, doors slamming. During that time I associate it with smooth winds, warm winds, now it doesn’t seem like wind at all, it just seems like a static mass, inflexible. It’s obvious that the way I perceive the drone depends on its specific relationship with the other transitory bodies which are usually signified through their purposeful loud and hard movements. Without them, it simply hangs and zooms in, or do I zoom in, it doesn’t matter. Voices in the background are sporadic, not constantly sporadic, but sporadic, they come and go.

*another attempt at descriptive writing without punctuation and sentence making.

09.11.16 // 20:30

It is gentle here. The sounds of plastic rustling, quiet footsteps and squeaking material crackling away like a continuous bonfire. Like a log which gently rolls down a hill snapping twigs and crushing leaves as it continues a never ending search. Voices whisper to each other in a secret communication, the sound of which is not essentially different to the sound of plastic. All sounds here are oppressed into a gentle blanket of sound like a small firecracker exploding in slow motion.

On this page are artefacts resultant from four different artistic practices - descriptive writing auditory diagramming, sketching, composing. They attempt to present - or, make present - the environment which their practices helped to constitute. Simply read and view the artefacts as you please, and although some are dated there is no right or wrong order. The sounds can be played during this time and can be triggered by hitting any play button. They are looped and will continue playing until a new one is selected.

18/11/16 13:52

22/11/16 12:30

18/11/16 12:02

18/11/16 12:30

22/11/16 12:55

18/11/16 15:13

21/11/16 16:40