Traces in/of/with Sound: an artist's experience of audio-visual space
Traces in/of/with Sound was an audio-visual performance series, instigated as part of the author’s practice based PhD research into the process of sound arts practice. The initial idea for the project resides in the realm of visual music and an interest in the influence that the relationship between sound and image has on the music that is produced within performance. The research employed a modular methodology that includes creative practice as a key space - or in-vivo laboratory - in which the process of this practice can be studied.
As a piece of creative work, Traces in/of/with Sound made use of a field of juxtapositions: a projection of recorded and digitally mediated drawings with improvised and digitally processed voice; notions of archetypes across sound and vision; a range of complex conceptual concerns with a performative experience. In its inception, several strands of thought combined. These included recognising a similarity between Norman McLaren’s images (Barbeau 2005) and some of the author’s drawings; a concern with movement - as explored in her previous locative mobile phone pieces - that transferred onto the relationship between the eye’s movement and still images (Brown 2006). In addition, the notion of archetypes expressed through line drawings (Ingold 2007) and vocal expression met with digital processing techniques. Between 2011 and 2013, six performances and one installation took place, each with a different audio-visual spatial configuration, ranging from mono sound / single screen video to eight-channel sound / two screen video. Each of these versions brought with it adaptations of the core material, as a response to the preceding incarnation.
What remained stable was the method of performing: sound used live improvised voice, manipulated and diffused across a multichannel system (where applicable) via Cycling 74’s Max software. This sound material was created as an improvised response to a pre-prepared “film” of digitally manipulated drawings using Adobe Creative Suite packages Photoshop and Premiere.
As the series developed, working within this complex field of juxtapositions led to a change of focal points. Whilst the project began by essentially considering movement and a contrapuntal relationship between sound and vision as a property of time, it shifted to an exploration of a joint audio- visual spatiality, understood as a perceptual experience established by the interlaced movements of both sound and vision.
This paper will chart the development of the piece over a two- year research period from 2011-2013, including the presentation of relevant stereo extracts from the work. Within this narrative it will pay particular attention to the author’s emergent experience of audio-visual spatiality and its relationship with relevant theoretical concerns. Some conclusions as to strategies that may promote experiential coherence or disunity in the perception of an audience with respect to audio-visual space will also be put forward.
For more information on this event visit the website: www.sonicenvironments.org