Roughly my intentions for the Rea Garden residency can be split into three areas: Firstly, a long term site-specific performance piece which will also produce tangible pieces of sound art; secondly as an opportunity to expand my practice into kinetic sound-sculpture; and thirdly, to make connections with other local sound artists and the wider community.
1.Site specific performance and resulting sound.
As an artist working with sound as a material and medium I was keenly interested to discover that the site at Rea Garden had formerly been a record manufacturing plant. On visiting the site I confirmed that there is a substantial amount of shellac from broken 10” records buried across the site. Found objects play an important role in my work, from found recordings on home audio tape to pieces of rusty metal found on wasteland; as such the discarded record shards immediately spoke to me.
I indent to perform a pseudo-archaeological investigation on the site: to survey the ground and collect a large quantity of pieces of broken records, documenting the process throughout. I will then use the material I have collected to create sound compositions. This might involve combining the pieces jigsaw- or mosaic-like back into a playable record; using them to make sound in another way; or combining them with other objects as part of an ongoing process: part of my investigative program will involve testing the other inherent sonic properties of the pieces – this will also be documented.
Once I have created some compositions with the shards from the site, I will press these sounds onto new vinyl. To complete a cycle, one of these newly pressed records will be buried on the site at Rea Garden. And as one cycle ends, another begins: other copies of the resulting records will be used in future performances and kinetic sculptures, including ones linked to the Rea Garden Project.
I expect this initial part of the residency to take place over approximately two months. Some of this time is likely to overlap with the other areas, outlined below.
2.Expansion of my practice into kinetic sound-sculpture.
Secondly, I would like to use the residency as an opportunity to explore working in kinetic sound sculpture. I have previously used home-made electronics, modified record players and adapted records in installations and performances and am interested in expanding this practice further. The use of found objects in my work, as a form of recycling, can be closely linked to ecological issues, which suggests to me the potential to explore solar power and wind energy in my work.
One initial idea is to create some wind powered gramophone players (not requiring electricity) or small solar powered amplifiers to pay back the sounds made with found records on the site. By experimenting in the amount of protection from nature I provide to the equipment I can explore further the degradation of sound on weathered vinyl, change in tone and timbre with changing wind speed and direction, and many other areas.
Other initial sound-making techniques and sculpture ideas include:
the use of home-made hydrophones in the river Rea adjacent to the site to record sounds;
recycling existing switches, tubes or pieces of metal on-site to create sound sculptures;
the use of small wind-driven motors to directly make sounds through speakers;
recording or otherwise recycling sounds made by the Project Pigeon birds on-site.
The resulting machines and sculptures would have a strong visual element and could form part of a final exhibition on the site (alongside documentation and recordings created from the dig performance).
3.Connections with local sound artists and the wider community.
A large part of my practice concerns collaborations with other musicians, sound artists and performers in making live, improvised compositions. The third way in which I would use the residency would be to build links with local sound artists and make some recordings or collaborate on some live performances.
I have also previously given workshops, at a Manchester college and a gallery which exhibited my work, on manipulating and adapting records for musical and artistic purposes. As such I am enthusiastic to set up some similar workshops or otherwise introduce people from the wider community to my work. I am keen to spend as much time as possible making on-site, and to interact with visitors to the garden when it is open.

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