Day 22: Opening

In retrospect, the morning after…

The exhibit is now open to the public at the following times:
wed – sat, 1-5pm until the 5th of July.
Don’t be afraid to enter the space, you might need to bang on the window.

When you enter feel free to peruse the material on the walls but, most importantly, sit down on one of the benches facing the window and just watch and listen.

The final work description is here:
Present Place, Work Description

My thoughts upon the first responses to the work:
it was interesting to see what peoples movements and actions were within the space. The evening started with most people reading the provided material and not viewing ‘the screen’. However, people soon started to sit and listen – often for great deals of time. The problem now being that others felt they weren’t allowed to speak or move in front of the view. The work had gone from white wall gallery, to theatre – with all the social trappings. Eventually, we reached an equilibrium and room relaxed. good news – and an interesting study for me.


Day 21: Description

I’m busy writing the work description. I’ll post this up when its done – hopefully within the hour.

Day 20: Install

here what’s been up today…

oh yeah and those speakers are staying exposed!! i weighed up the pro and cons. they stay out.

Day 19: Ohh

The nerves have set in today – lots to do, so little time.

The sound piece is coming together, just needs a few tweaks. Its all been about the exhibit setup today – particularly whether the speakers should be on show or not. Should a sound exhibit expose its means? I’m still not sure – i see positive reason for either choice. Is the work about how sound, any sound from any means, evolves within the room or about how i can bring sound into the space to alter an experience? Hmm

Anyway i have far too much to do so i must cut this short – more tomorrow.

Day 18: High

I’ve spent today putting all the pieces together – i’m half way through the expected composition. The back speakers went up today too – this has meant that i can now fully appreciate how everything will sound within the final work. The sound of movement and music piping through from upstairs sounds really good, hopefully to the point where you won’t guess they weren’t real and present.

I forgot a few days ago to put up the invitation/flyer image – so here it is now. You should hopefully see these around venues in Belfast. Please do come to the opening – this thursday (26th) at 7pm.

Day 17: Heavy metal

Okay this one is late again.. i forgot.
Saturday was a dismal weather day so i got a bit of rainy street sounds to go into the work. I then tried to record and construct some movements within the space. I am fast developing some rules for this – how to ‘locate’ the sound and thus make it believable. First two tips: high pitched sounds locate better then low. Low sounds just flood the space and seem to come from everywhere. Second, short events work best – they are more surprising and far too fleeting for over assessment.

One thing that upset me yesterday – a heavy metal band were practicing in a space above and over to the left. I think they had the windows open too because they sounded massive, it shook the walls in here. I didn’t have the mics setup when they started so i quickly darted around putting them in position. Just as i had finished and gone to tap record they stopped. Boo!!! I’m sure this is a situation many a sound collector has found themselves within! I am probably the only person who wants them to practice again soon.

Day 16: In Space

Today i’ve been recording movement within the space such as, the simplest example, foot steps. I don’t really want to discuss any more then that as i want for it to be a surprise! I can tell you that i had to move the rear microphone from off its stand and winced up above head height. This is for two reason, firstly the speakers are also to be above head height and secondly, the floor is uneven in the space so any movement shakes the mic stand which then appears on the recording.

I really need to put my foot down and create final edits of everything. Will do tomorrow!

Day 15: Piezo

I have two piezo mics courtesy of Pete Bennett (check his site its full of some great sound devices PETE LINK). They’re a little different to the previous ones that were positioned on the window – these are not Omni Directional – they hear only in one direction. Hence, they don’t feedback when the mic signal is feed straight to the speakers in the room. Why do i want this? live, LIVE sound!

Here’s a couple of images of the space:

Day 15: Sound Links

I’ve switched the location of the two previous audio samples so that you don’t need a ‘log in’ to get at them. Here’s where they are now:

I also have a great new one which will feature in the final work, hence lets call this a trailer:
Its from the same day as previous one but a different time – that must have been a good day.
In particular check the first minute which features a passing heavy goods vehicle which just sounds huge and fantastic when filtered through the space. Although (i’m sure you’ll soon agree) its sounds great on this mp3, it sounds even better in the gallery!!

Day 14: Good food

Today has been a busy day of visits – not so lonely now.
Fiona from DAS (Queen street Studios, Belfast) has been in as she will creating a collective visual document of all “Sounding out Space” works – ‘Present place’ is just one of these, there will be several over the next year all happening in response to PS2 gallery space. Check their website for details – link over to the left!

Next two visits were from two guys at SARC (Sonic Arts Research Centre, Queen’s University): Michael Gurevich (Lecturer and all round nice person) and Florian Hollerweger (fellow Phd who shares my fascination with the mundane). I invited them in to get their response to what i’m doing – make sure those paint fumes haven’t severely altered my judgement. Anyway, the consensus is that most importantly it is what i don’t do, than what i do: I could throw sound around the space, a whoosh here and there and end with a dramatic wave of granular particles crashing down but this really would not represent the individual soul of the space – it would merely be about me showing off, when i should be letting the room show off.

So, it turns out that Sound design is just like cooking: You have to trust the quality of your ingredients, its not about overly complex methods – they serve to make the food alien and unwholesome. It about selecting what simple elements work together and in what quantities.

That make sense?