This live experimental work was a very rough and ready exploration of architecture and though it was missing some vital elements, it was a rich and rewarding experience for the two artists. It has allowed them to try out possible ideas and explore the delivery mechanisms that can be used in a space like this in any disused building.
It was a continuation of the metamedia collaboration that has seen David Rogers and Joe Stevens explore the resonance of spaces via playing the space as an instrument. This collaboration has seen David and Joe explore High Angle Battery on Portland with ivon oates, St Catherine’s Chapel at Abbotsbury and Blackney Barn with Mandy Rathbone. It’s also a continuation of the Sonic Bus Tours that Joe has delivered in Poole and in Bournemouth last year as part of Bournemouth Arts by the Sea festival.
Two artists from metamedia wanted to push their collaboration into new areas. They wished to explore their overlapping interests in electronic music and sound art with the history of earlier art movements like fluxus. They were both interested in adding ‘liveness’ and a new performative element to their working practice. This quest has led them to devise strategies and processes involving elements of chance, performative actions, remote control and at times the involvement of groups of participants.
As part of this experimental aspect to David and Joe’s work they wished to explore installing a sound informed installation; to develop a greater performative element to the work; and to experience aspects of liveness within an installation. These two aims weren’t really tackled during this experimental open at the bakery. For this opening they invited a
small select audience to witness how sounds could be delivered back in the space, they played a mixture of pre-recorded sounds, with live sonic elements. The time allowed to adequately set up the sound installation was severely limited, because of security issues the ability to fine tune and explore sonic possibilities are minimal. We’d always meant to add spoken word and this was very much missing from the piece we presented. They will be looking at ways to record the oral history aspect of the bakery, looking for people that used the shop. they are also interested in talking to people about the shop what it was and
what it might become – and in general about the future of towns & the high street shops.
Thanks to Jim & Lorraine Marston for their support to this project.
We should let the space breathe, to be itself, what it is. A building with a history, under transition. A large part of the installation was the building and we did not play on the strengths of this space enough. I know it was social, a get together, to find out from friends, contacts, about the possibilities of this type of work in a small rural town. But we should have presented it much more as an ‘art event’. It was too much like a private view where we all were busy chatting, rather than experience the artwork.
Make it more an occasion, a special event. Have someone lead people into the space – to set them up with expectation. Maybe work with a local school, or drama club? The work needs to engage audiences via the space, the sounds, the spoken word, and the interactive tactile nature of objects. Great to have a meet and great person at front.
Technically we think the sound was too high.
Afterwards listening back to the work, we think there is too much drone; too much white noise. Would be nicer with more quiet bits, with sounds jumping in occasionally.
Have a narrative throughout space, a storyline where people go through the space. Have sounds playing in the front space (quiet sounds could play here – playing from height, so you can’t see where sound is coming from). Have shop sounds field recordings in the retail area of the bakery (sounds of till ringing, rustle of bags, people ordering/buying).
As in ‘impossible architexture’ 2011?
Record some oral history about the place. Find some old people that used the shop and talk to historian about history of place. This than leads you through to the rear of the shop,
where we have a gentler composed pre-recorded piece, mixed with live sounds. Than on into the courtyard (do we have speakers here, or will this interfere with the mic picking up live sounds? Possibly better without, or how about speakers, but have no sound coming out so people strain to hear?
Finally through to room at back, where we have chairs, refreshments, cakes, etc to buy, plus a shop, a donation box. Ask people to buy as a way to fund work?
We need in each of these spaces to have sounds playing. So need more speakers.
1. Connect with a local drama club. Could we get three or four people to take part in the
installation. Have them as guides / shopworkers / customers to bakery. They’d play a part of someone in their everyday life, very ordinary matter-of-fact. This would really add a
2. Next time do an actual composition that plays for an hr. include spoken word. have
speakers out front (gentle sounds, rustling paper bags, spoken words).
3. Have the sounds hidden more – as soon as Nigel saw laptop he went and opened it, see
what was on it.
4. Have a large cardboard box to hide all the equipment under. Be great to have a wireless
mixer to control it all via an iPad?
5. Follow-up idea where objects are tactile and touching activates / make sounds
6. See if we can connect with a Bridport historian. Find out more about the history of the
In discussion and collaboration the artists will make a completely different version suitable for audio CD. Make an audio album. This would be a very different piece of work to the sounds in the installation, or to live installation mix they recorded.
The working methods that David and Joe are developing can be transferred to other spaces and broadens out the initial metamedia outings of playing spaces. Though they hope to develop the work further in this particular building and host another installation at the bakery. This will greatly depend on the owners, of where they are in renovating the space and in their generosity in allowing us to use the space so freely.
So they will be investigating other spaces in future. There is a number of possible buildings this venture could be undertaken. For instance one fantastic place is practically opposite the bakery building and that is the old Literary and Scientific Institute. There are also buildings close to the Ridgway that have strong resonances and great potential for this work.
JS [09/04/13] images 1.&2. by Joe Stevens | 3. by Eva Fahle-Clouts