Part 3-WIP

Work In Progress 

Lost and Silence 

 

 *Note*

This is the page for reflection/ works in progress (experimental pieces) for the project "Lost and Silence"

My works are mainly time-based media, I am also engaged in creating 2D pieces: Photography, etchings, drawings, etc. 

->PLEASE PUT ON HEADPHONES TO HAVE THE BEST EXPERIENCE

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Week 23

 

Reflecting/Finding potential concepts/ themes

 

Reflecting previous works and rethinking about myself, this project is a great opportunity for me to extend and develop my practice of fine art. By writing down key elements and analyzing the themes behind each work, I tried to find my interests. Stay organized and be self aware of the developing process of the project is important. Brain storming and finding connections between ideas in order to produce multiple ways to experiment is also essential. “Not too narrow”— limit your thoughts and predict the outcome, which make the artist become a craftsman; “Not too broad”—get lost in the research process and be obsessed with every aspects, which make the artist become an academic.

Collecting the references for the reading week: books, website articles, online sources, video, concerts, exhibitions, I try to build the base of the pyramid of my project. 

Participating the short sound art theory course lead by David Toop in Camden Arts Center from 11-25 February furthered my understanding of the listening culture and soundscape. I am particularly interested in the lecture about Intensive listening to silent media. Instruments of darkness. I would like to explore the transformative power of listening and the definition of "silence" in this project, study and apply new techniques such as print-making, field-recording, sound editing etc. 

I was also inspired by Joachim Koester and Stefan A. Pedersen's collaborative sound installation "The Department of Abandoned Futures" in the show "In the Face of Overwhelming Forces". Leading by a magnetic male voice, the listeners are encouraged to explore a journey to an unknown city in their minds. Getting lost psychologically becomes part of this immersive listening experience. I would like to narrow down my topic by making connections between "Silence" and "Lost".

I am interested in very personal, intimate experiences. I appreciate sound as a media to express ideas. My previous works (before foundation) are mostly visual based art works. I d like to see how sound/time-based media can interact with visual media, which might produce unexpected outcomes.

 

 

Week 25: March 6 , Mon

 

Tutorial with Susan today. 

I am excited about this project. “Lost and Silence” has a lot of potential ways to develop. I felt overwhelmed by the ideas flashing thorough my mind and sometimes failed to record them which makes me anxious. Susan suggested me to draw a mind map which will help me organize my thought. Standing in the middle of the topic, I should choose a relatively narrow perspective and focus on experimenting within that direction. 

I developed a "Research Map" in my sketchbook which clarifies the potential directions to experiment. This is very effective and time saving. "Research Map" is also used as a "to-do list" that prevents me from getting lost and trapped in only one idea/theory. Stepping back from being obsessed about specific details, I will be able to have a clearer vision of the entire project 

 

 Tutorial: perspectives we discussed

 

1.Sound, Piano, Silence (which is based on my first experiment outcome) (we talked about continue to develop multi-version of the original recording and also the process of performance itself) 

*Pros and cons using phone as a recorder:

Pro- the background white noise which gives the soundscape another layer of noise. 

Con- not convenient for documentation and further development because of the low recording quality 

 

What I will do next:

Using Zoom H5 to create high quality recordings in different versions (for example, the pace of movement, the pressure of fingers pressing the keys, the location of recorders etc.) 

continue to use piano/or possibly, other instruments to explore the idea of silence/silencing/micro noise/imaginary sounds 

Suggestion from Susan: Bring sketchbook to the piano room next time. (related to topic 2)

 

2. Sound and Visual relationship, Printmaking 

-Does images have sound? Is one painting more “noisy” than the others?

-The process of Printmaking: idea of value…every piece is individually unique but they are also the same in another perspective.

-Reference and practitioner: Steve Roden 

-Online resource: http://ubuweb.com/

 

3. Sound and Language, Identity Confusion 

-Transformative sound, body and identity 

-My hearing experience of studying english as a second language 

 

4. Sound and Environment/Space, the idea of getting lost 

-Psychogeography , wandering 

-reverberation 

-same sounds in different location 

-the act of listening: how people understand the space/environment they are surrounded with

-architecture structure/ space 

 

Lecture: 

Before 20th March, I should finish the application of additional equipments requirement for the final degree show. When working on these ideas, I should also keep in mind that our space is limited. Though I shouldn't predict the outcome in this process, but having the idea of it’s better to use the space in a smart way that address my topic accurately rather than creating a huge and complicated piece is essential.

WEEK 25: MARCH 8

 

 Lecture in ICA: Transpersonal: Elizabeth Jochum

"implications of computation as an artistic medium and the possible consequences for ?transpersonal? engagement in art practice. Computational art practice is based on emergent outcomes, where the art works are no longer determined only by the artist. "

What new approaches of computational art can bring to the audience/listener/immerser (As William Lethan said)?

What kind of experience? Feelings?

 

WEEK 25: MARCH 9

 

Barbican centre, Curve Gallery:Richard Mosse Incoming

 I am very interested in the way the artist present his video work that interacting with the structure of the Curve Gallery. Projected across three 8 metre-wide screens, the video installation is accompanied by a visceral soundtrack blurring ambient field recordings with synthetic sound design to create an overwhelming, immersive experience. When the audience entering the space from the entrance and viewing the photographs, the soundscape of the video installation created a mysterious atmosphere that interweaves with visual experience of the photography. Then, walking towards the huge video installation, the soundscape varies, coming towards you, finally encloses your body. 

During the video, a juxtaposition of silence and noise took place. The busy party scene in the left screen contrast with a man doing religious ritual silently in the right screen. There are lots of noise going on as a background soundscape, but still, when I was staring at the man—noise disappears, left me with silence

i would like to explore this kind of listening experience in my work by asking myself "what is silence? what does silence mean to different people under different contexts? "

 

I did Re-recording in the piano room today with high quality sound recorder Zoom H5. 

I am interested in piano, not only as an instrument, but also as a sound maker. Its sophisticated structure brings this instrument various possibilities of making sound. For example, knocking at the keys and rubbing the shanks, or even put the recorder inside the piano.  Listening to the recordings of my experiments, I couldn't relate them to the usual melodic sound of the piano. Xenia Pestova's concert "Loops, Drones and Landscapes" was café oto influenced me to rethink music instruments in general. Practicing playing piano and other instruments since I was a kid helps to develop my musical senses, but sometimes following the rules of playing instruments prevent me thinking alternative sounds/ music that can be made. By doing experiments without rules, I try to jump out of the box to make sounds in different ways.

We often relate piano with sounds and melodies, so it might be interesting to use piano to represent silence. 

 recordings and performance 

 audience are able to relate the sound with the image 

 

 

Week 25 March 11 Sat

Visiting Tate Modern: Rothko's paintings 

Research silence in paintings/2D media

Week 26 Progress tutorial week

March 13 Mon

 

Re- recording of “Silent performance” in piano room using Zoom H5 sound recorder. The experience was quite different from the first test experiment, which was recorded by phone. Putting on the earphones while doing the performance gave me a fresh perspective on the listening experience. Being able to capture every details of the micro sounds added another layer to the whole audio. In addition, I used my phone to video-document the performance. I also tested different audio versions which the only variable is the position of the recorder (Moving/still). While my finger slowly and gently pressing every key without trying to make any sound, the closer the recorder, the more detailed the of the audio will be. However in the other hand, in the case of still recorder which was put on the music shelf, the stereo recording is more effective. By re-listening to the stereo audio with headphones, I conclude that it works better as a documentation of the performance because it provides the listener senses of space, and encourages them to consider my movement. The performance itself is much more interesting than the final outcomes. 

Another detail I should ve noticed is that the videos as documentation of performance are all filmed as portrait form. Though it wouldn't affect the content, the form itself makes it harder to document, edit or make further development. 

 

Audio: Silent Performance

Reflection on the Event at Cafe OTO

I am very excited to see two great figures from japan’s avant-noise scene, Junko, and Taku Sugimoto’s performance. I’ve been doing research about Japanoise since the beginning of unit 7. 

Sugimoto is a guitarist. Being famous for his unusual free improvisation, Sigimoto’s music is abstract in a minimalistic way by eliminating the melody and featuring extended periods of silence. Guitar becomes a tool to express his understanding of noise and silence. 

Research: the Onkyo Movement musicians/artists (音響系 Onkyōkei/reverberation of sound)   (1990s) 

I was amazed by Junko’s powerful and confrontational voice. Junko Hiroshige has performed with Hijokaiden as a vocalist since 1982. The great consistency of her high pitch, emotional voice was v impressive. “Let the physical body embrace the noise” Junko used her voice to push the boundary of the listening experience and invite people into an altered space.

Week 27 March 20 Mon

Submission of additional requirement form 

 

Talked to Alan today about the final presentation since I ve been considering what kind of media/ form i ll use. it’s really difficult to decide because i cant predict my final work. Being practical about the limited space should be considered. 

Several questions should be solved when the final outcome comes out but should keep in my mind while filling the additional requirement from: 

-If it will be a sound piece, depending on its duration, should I provide chairs/benches for the listener to sit?

-What kind of chairs/benches am I looking for? Specifically, the chairs/benches can be use as an extension of my concept, which would make the sound installation more immersive. (I should also talk to Susan since she’s doing something related to the sitting position in relation to the art piece)

-Technical problem solving: How to secure the sound player? 

-Test out the headphones we have in the classroom, think about the quality of the sound work. 

-What kind of space do I need? Do I need a wall space? A floor space? Two wall space with a floor space (a corner)? Is it doable?

 

Things to do:

Research: chairs/benches

(talking to my friend Weiran who s doing product deign) 

 

 Week 27 March 22

Drawing experiment: Wanderer 

I am very happy with the drawing experiment I did today. It was inspired by the scanning experiments I did couple weeks ago. I was looking at these very tiny pink scratches marks on the scans, then I wondered if I can make these marks by myself. I started to play with the sketchbook pages by folding it, Crumple it into a ball, flatten it and unfolding it. These marks created by my actions are spontaneous and random. The traces turned the paper into a relief map; the higher peaks become mountains, the lower groves and depressions become rivers and lake, and the flat surfaces become plains and lands. The pencil was held loosely by my hand. The free hand movement left the map with lines and shades that became the traces of the pencil’s journey. And the most intriguing part is the sound it makes. It’s like shaking a bottle with sands or beans. Crisp and loud. 

I used my phone to record a part of this drawing experiment. I named it “Wanderer”. 

At the same time, I question myself the meaning of this action. 

Mark making itself is a way of escaping from the silence. The silence of a blank paper, the silence of nothingness. But in the other sense, “There is no such thing as silence” Absolute silence does not exist. 

 

3/22 Drawing-experiment001

ex1. Wanderer

Drawing Experiment001: Wanderer
(Draw on a folded paper<thick>)
 
2017.3.16
 PASSWORD: Drawing001/ Drawing002
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Week 27 March 23 Thu

Research on etchings/ make the plates in archway 

I would like to do more experiments of 2D visual pieces. I was interested in the process of print making. Making prints is similar to making scans in some way. The replication of the art piece influences the value of it, as John Berger discussed in Ways of seeing. However, I don't consider the process of print making, etching especially, only makes replications of a piece. I was fascinated by the differences between each print (using the same plate) and how that could change its overall meaning and visual impact. This can also be associated with mark making. In the process I couldn’t fully predict the outcome and I wouldn't know what kind of marks will show up on the paper. The spontaneity is what excites me. This media also works well with narrative illustrations/drawings but I would consider my work for this project to be rather ambiguous and abstract. 

Chris Succo talked about his thoughts on silk-screen print making: "...It looks so simple, so elegant, so fluid. You have these little marks that just occur, and you can't do anything about it. "

 

March 23/Print making experiment-free drawings

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Spring Break Week 28

April 2 Sat

Scanning experiments, “when i scan them everything becomes silent”

Today I did another series of scanning experiments, using the app called CamScanner in my phone. I was inspired by the vulnerableness in Kieran’s drawings a lot, and I also want to do something that is textural, detailed and subtle also connected to my subject matter, the definition of silence, sense of belongings, and visual representation of sound. 

The app CamScanner itself is very interesting. It is a “fake” scanner that is able to flatten a 3D object and give you the illusions that the object is “scanned”. I am amazed by the scanning effect since it’s so detailed and textural. Transferring the mundane objects in my life to visual pieces, I am excited to see the process itself exaggerate the details that we normally wouldn't pay attention to. The first piece was scanned after I had a mental breakdown and I love it the most. It beautifully captured the shape of my tear dropped on the tablet surrounded by other details like the scratches on the tablet, the darker marks because of my sweat, tiny white dots (probably dusts? skin flakes?). It’s very personal. I also like the white semicircle with rough boundary which was originally the overexposure of the light. It does look like a sun. 

My second fav is the scan of a book. The words are distorted due to the process of scanning. They became unreadable. However, the composition and the shapes of the lines lead me to gaze deeper into this picture, but like, not too deep. 

I am not happy with the scans of my cloths. I was thinking the furry texture might look interesting after the scanning but I was wrong, it looks like one of the stupid hyper-realistic drawings I used to do a lot for practicing techniques when I was in China. 

 

Spring Break Week 29

April 6 Thu

Reflection on Ryoji Ikeda: π, e, ø opening at Almine Rech Gallery 

ICA show viewing 

Tonight I went the opening of Ryoji Ikeda, Japanese electronic composer and visual artist’s show π, e, ø. I am always very interested to see how sound artists explore visual-sonic media, as well as using interdisciplinary knowledge to support the art pieces. Ryoji Ikeda’s mathematical aesthetic is revealed in his works in the show π, e, ø. 

“More silent epiphanies are present in related works that elegantly visualise silence and time. 0'10" shows the numerical countdown from 10 to 0 that precedes films, making physically manifest the immaterial and temporal notion of ten seconds of 16mm film. Similarly, the work 4'33', which consists of the physical equivalent of four minutes and thirty-three seconds of blank 16mm film with time code, clearly references John Cage's hugely philosophical meditation on the impossibility of silence.” —from Almine Rech gallery press release 

I am inspired by the methodology of his art creating process. Using sound as a media to define silence is difficult because there is no bridge between the media and the abstract concept. But Ryoji Ikeda chose to use mathematical approaches as his understanding of concept, and develop on it to a visual/sonic piece. This reminds me about on the first day we were told that we shouldn’t have project proposal title to be too broad which can be very difficult to translate to visual language and art work. Finding a bridge is essential to narrow down topic that is too broad to discuss. Focusing on one very small but controversial perspective and posing ideas and questions as the form of art piece, I guess thats one of the differences between artists and craftsman/technicians. 

Spring Break Week 29

April 8 Sat

I found a series of fingerprints scans in my phone. Technically I only took the pictures of the scans when I was visiting the U.S. Space & Rocket Center during Christmas break in Alabama, America. Tbh I am not a huge fan of astronomy so I didn't really pay attention to the descriptions of the machine which scanned my fingerprints. But the visual elements in these pictures are so strangely beautiful. Like maps of islands. The purplish background is the sea. 

A interesting fact about me: due to some reasons, my fingerprints are always changing, in a very chaotic way. That became a problem when doing resignation in the police office, getting my visa etc. Fingerprints are always associated with identity. I wonder if this is my body trying to object my self identity. 

 

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Week 30 April 11 Thu

Very productive day. After the talk with Alan, I decided to develop the drawing experiment. Since I read “Representation of Silence” written by John Biguenet, I have been thinking about using paper (All kinds of paper, black and white) as media to convey my understanding of silence. Also, reflecting on my experiments of scanning series “When I scan them everything becomes silent”, I tried to find new mark making methods and did research on drawing as an art form. In the morning I did another set of experiments/ research, listening to the sounds I made with my eyes closed and recording them  at the same time, while making folding marks on different kinds of white paper. I want to focus the audio perspective of this “drawing" process so I tried to find sound which is more unique, unrelated to the action. I want the listener to associate the normal drawing materials (graphite pencil, pen, charcoal etc.) with this audio piece which I pulled out of the visual context. I am also challenging the narrow understanding of a “drawing” by broadening the definition and blurring the boundary of material/media using. Its minimalistic aesthetic is  closely tied to the representation of silence and noise. 

Additional result that surprised me during the experiments is the white paints falling off the canvas paper, leaving tiny vacant black dots/holes on the paper. Time is also a very essential part in this experiment. The longer I spent on playing with the canvas paper, the more paints would fell off, the more textural the paper would be. Those falling paints, like ashes and sands, piled up into a small hill which became the evidence of time. "Sonority is time and meaning” The existence of the paints represents both time and meaning. 

I took a photo of the “paint hill” with the canvas paper besides. The photo contains the time and memories of my action that it can be a very good direction of the audio piece for the audience. 

During the afternoon tutorial session with Susan, we talked about the experiments I did this morning. Susan suggested me not to show the actual objects (canvas paper and paint hill) because that ll be too obvious and less interesting comparing with hiding the object. I strongly agreed. I always appreciate the ambiguity of an art pieces which offers an broader interpretation to the audience. But I am still trying to make a decision if the photo is necessary for final presentation. 

We also discussed about chairs and benches. I decided to use a chair for a single listener since I want this piece to be intimate and personal. Senses of loneliness and alienation is also what I am looking for. I planed to go to IKEA tomorrow to get the chair which fits both the concept and my aesthetic. 

Research: Ikea chairs 

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April 11/ Finalize outcome: "DRAWING" series

April 11/ Finalize outcome: "DRAWING-006" (Canvas paper)

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Week 30 April 13 Thu

Uploading experimental recordings 

Peer assessment/ Group crit 

We had peer assessment in the afternoon. Looking at the criteria, i felt difficult to give a grade according to the evidence (sketchbook,workflow and works) my partner provide without spending hours reading it and understanding the project. Not only learning more about the criteria, but also learning from the ways my partner documenting and developing the project was really helpful. 

Put small titles in each reflections and highlighting them can provide a clear view of the whole page. 

Combine “work in progress” page into the reflection page is a better method for me to reflect on the experimentations i did, for the viewer to understand the working process more easily. 

Date the experimentations and sketchbook pages, as well as research page on workflow.

After the class we had an additional crit within a small group (about 6people) for two hours. 

Very precious suggestions/ questions from course mates, most suggestions are relate to the photo featuring the paper ball and paint ashes:

-I should question myself why I chose to display the photo instead of the actual object. (which i have thought about it before but haven't consider it as important as it supposed to be)

-Should I only take photo of the paint ashes and hiding up the paper ball?

-Should I change the background of the photo into black? (to provoke a stronger contrast) 

-Should I put the zoom in photo of the black dots on canvas paper? 

-What size?

 

Overall, I am still thinking about the photo. I am not satisfied about it. It’s very hard to find a middle point between too ambiguous and too obvious. at least in this case, the distance between them is very short. 

However I am quite happy about the audio piece. Binaural recordings provide the audio spacial perspective and depth that makes the experience more immersive. 

The listening experience wasn't that “pleasant” during the group crit. Neryhs talked to me afterwards that she felt really uncomfortable and anxious when she was listening to my piece. Besides my apologies to her that makes her feel uncomfortable, I think her experience became a strong demonstration of this piece. There is indeed, a sense of anxiety in it. I decided to loop this 26mins audio piece as the final presentation. Sometimes even if I know nothing can be absolutely perfect but I just couldn't stop. There is no perfect drawing. 

 

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April 13/Peer Assessment

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April 13/Peer Assessment

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April 20/ Pre hang: Raspberry Pi3

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 Problem Faced/Solving

Experimental Thoughts 

Research Inspiration/ Quotation 

Key points

 

Evaluation 

 

Feedback 

Week 24

Reading Week+ first PPP draft due

Reflection on the reading week 

Starting with doing further research on Psychogeography (A Field Guide to Getting Lost, Psychogeography, Wanderlust: A History of Walking etc),  and looking into the underground japan noise culture (Japanoise: Music At The Edge of Circulation), I am excited to gather a lot of useful information which I considered has the potential to visualize into art piece. I am particularly interested in how environment can had a huge impact on people’s listening experience. The system of human’s self awareness and identity is learned mainly in the process of listening since we are born, for example, language. How do soundscapes define our realization of self identity and culture values? Or how do soundscapes vary along with the development of human society?

 

Under the context of globalization, seeking “sense of belongingness” or definition of self identity becomes one of the aspects that I aim to discuss in my works. As a part of the research, I looked back to contemporary exhibitions and a variety of articles, essays and artists' interviews to study contemporary artists (as cultural producers) (Joachim Koester, David Toop, James Richards, Do Ho Suh etc)’ perspectives and how they addressed such theme or media. 

I enjoyed this process a lot, looking at different aspects and seeking direction and getting inspirations from those resources. The only problem would be, how to contextualize my research result and make experiments developed from various branches of references/theories? Sketchbook should not only be the place for documentation, but also a platform to develop the outcomes, as well as a tool to organize informations. Making drawings on the sketchbook will be essential for me to visualize my idea, no matter what other medias (usually time based) I will choose to develop the work. 

Week 24: March 2 , Thu

 

Finished the PPP first draft and talked to Alan. 

Trying to organize my thoughts, I started to do some quick experiments in the piano room, along with the research process. 

I am interested in piano, not only as an instrument, but also as a sound maker. Its sophisticated structure brings this instrument various possibilities of making sound. For example, knocking at the keys and rubbing the shanks, or even put the recorder inside the piano.  Listening to the recordings of my experiments, I couldn't relate them to the usual melodic sound of the piano. Xenia Pestova's concert "Loops, Drones and Landscapes" was café oto influenced me to rethink music instruments in general. Practicing playing piano and other instruments since I was a kid helps to develop my musical senses, but sometimes following the rules of playing instruments prevent me thinking alternative sounds/ music that can be made. By doing experiments without rules, I try to jump out of the box to make sounds in different ways.

After I showed my recording (using my phone) to Alan, he suggested me to do several versions of each experimental recordings with higher quality sound recorder. I agreed that getting a high quality sound recorder will help me to document my process more sufficiently. But we also discussed about low quality recordings and the special effects (like white noise in the background, creating sense of roughness/immatureness etc. ) they can bring. 

I struggled about the title of this project (“Lost in silence” vs. “Lost and Silence”) In conclusion, “Lost and Silence” is more interesting since it provide possibilities for two themes (and the connection between them) instead of one, which is silence. (lost became less important) (and it already give a definition of the connection) 

I think this project has a lot of potential to develop overall but I should constantly remind myself not to be lost in research and books. Engaging with experiments should be the focus of my project. 

Silent Performance- quick experiment

Week 25: March 7 

 

I attended Kammer Klang’s sound event/ performance tonight. Kammer Klang is a series of live music events at Cafe Oto in London, presenting curated programmes of contemporary classical, experimental, improvised and electronic music. 

 I was really interested in the 7mins sound piece “This car goes incredibly fast”, performed by Phaedra Ensemble, composed by Jamie Hamilton before I saw them played “Her Own Dying Moments” (composed by John Ureb) and “The Indistinguishables” (composed by Leo Chadburn). Amplified tuneless violin sound is used as a background noise in order to create a sense of eeriness. A man’s voice keeps appearing as the foreground layer of sound, giving instructions (to another person or to the listener) “inhale…exhale…follow me…keep breathing…hold…” “This car goes incredibly fast” created a narrative and provided the listener an immersive experience to be fully involved in this narrative. The sudden silencebetween various sounds became the space to encourage the listeners to explore inner imaginary sounds and their personal interpretations. 

As John Biguenet wrote in his book “Silence” : The rest is an element of the composition, not a break from it.” “In fact, the rest has a fixed duration— …it is a defined silence integral to the structure of the work…could be understood to signify the note that is never played.” 

 The piece inspired me to think about the power of sudden short silence/quietness the listeners hear in a song. Like the short silence in Eric Satie's Sarabande no.1 . Being anxious, waiting for the next note, expecting, playing along with the work in their minds. Though the mental state of the listeners when listening to silence is different from person to person, the silence drives their attention into the piece. 

How to represent silence in someway became another question for me to think about: how to represent noise?

Can I make a statement that strong noise is a part of the process of making strong silence ?

Should I insert a short silence in a "noisy" music composition in order to strengthen the silence? 

 The other two pieces of work played by Phaedra Ensemble in the event explores the relationship between text and sound, which inspired me to rethink “silent sound” in relation to words, sentences, and literature piece.

 

Piano Experimentation-Ex.001
(Knocking at the keys) 

2017.3.9

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Piano Experimentation-Ex.002
(EF dischord) 

2017.3.9

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Week 25 March 10 Fri

Reflection on the screening event at Close- up cinema

 

The screening event curated by film maker Karel Doing consisted of five short experimental films that explore “the borders of the ‘readable image’”. Truly thought provoking experience, especially when I consider the relationship between visual representations and the soundscapes. Film, as a time based media, invites the audience to create their own universe and travel thorough time and space.

 

Attending the screening event at Close-up cinema inspired me to consider to combine more minimalistic aesthetic in my work. Nan Wang collected 7000 frames of dust in the room with small plants and insects picked up from the garden. The recordings from singing insects and the flashing frames creates sense of recollection in a subtle and poetic way. The process of collecting, the flatness of the images, reminds me of the tiny marks on the scanning machine. The act of scanning is also really interesting that relates to the topic of “silence”, if you comparing it to the moment one takes photos. 

 

During the panel after the screening, Gareth Polmeer discussed the silence in his creative process of film making. Most of his work is silent. Film becomes a silent digital. On the other hand, this presence of silence is powerful because it intensifies the visuality. The absence of sound, especially in film, also can encourage the audience to add their own imaginary sound into the piece which makes the experience varies from person to person. Looking into Gareth Polmeer’s films furthered my thinking on the silent media. Standing on the viewers’ shoes, what kind of sounds(noise) can reminds them of silence? 

 

 

Week 26 Progress tutorial week

March 14

 

Inspired by Nan Wang’s Dust-Poetry, today I started to do a series of A3 printer scanning experiments “the act of scanning” (a temporary name, I prefer “untitled” to be honest) . Every detail: scratches , color, dusts, tiny blurs, dots became the parts of the composition. There is no media can define this mark making process. Is it a photograph? a drawing? I don't know the answer and I don't think labeling is necessary. But there is definitely something beautiful about it. It contains a history —time— and memories, from a lot of people who used this specific print scanner and made certain traces, accidentally( or intentionally ). Every mark is the sound, the noise, the space for that specific moment. By scanning it, I brought all these time and space together. 

The act itself is also meaningful which represents the co-exisitence of both silence and noise. quoting from Gilda Williams “‘Art’ occurs when an artist (or group) brings together a set of materials (or circumstances) and the results —somehow— add up to something greater than its constituent elements.” I didn't “brings together a set of materials” in this piece. I didn't bring anything. All I did was standing in front of the printer, pressed the scanning button, and waited for 10seconds. I didn't even bring any object to scan. I did nothing. But after this act, the blank paper turned into a collection of memory. From nothing to everything, it’s like from silence to noise. 

I also did a few sketches(/collage) on my sketchbook, juxtaposing the scanning experiments with drawings, textiles, different colors. I think this process helped me to organize my thoughts by doing actual visualization, instead of imagining everything in my mind. I am quite happy with the results, but I also realized that I need to do more research on color theory, the representation of silence, etc.

I am obsessed with the fact that sometimes simplicity can make an art piece much stronger because it leaves more space for the audience to interpret in various of ways, and by doing that, knowing their own feelings and understand themselves better. I used to dislike those hyper-conceptual art works. Idk I ve been thinking about this a lot lately. I shouldn't be afraid of believing in my concept, no matter how it will turn out. 

 

Week 26 Progress tutorial week

March 15

deadline and submission lecture 

3.16: Progress tutorial with Annelore

Week 26 March 19 Sun

Piano room practice: Erik Satie Gymnopédie No. 1

I didn't bring recorder or camera today in the piano room since I wanted to focus my attention on the performance.

It’s an extremely quite piece. Very short, very easy to practice, the melodies are simple and deliberate. I ve noticed that on the top of the page of the music sheet there is a performance instruction: which are to play each piece "painfully" (douloureux), "sadly" (triste), or "gravely" (grave). 

I think it’s really interesting since every performer has their own definition of these three very emotional words. 

I always prefer minor, like I prefer tragedy than comedy. And I start to think about the works I ve made. Do they feel sad when they are looking at my works? Do I want them to feel sad?

Another thing that draws my attention is my mental state during the performance of this piece. What was in my mind? Everything seemed like drifting away, and I wasn't actually thinking about the performance itself (focusing on finger movements etc.) Sometimes I intentionally prolong the silence between each notes because I want to feel every single note gradually fading. Did I play this piece “Painfully””Sadly””Gravely”? I am so bad at describing my feelings and put them into precise words. But after all that’s why making drawings helps a lot. 

 

Week 27 March 21 Tue

Rayman instrument shop field trip/ research of Bells and Kalimbas 

Thoughts on Silence/Seeking Silence/ Identity/ Self-awarenss 

 

During Japan Portrait sound event, I was amazed by Japanese composer Kumiko Yabu’s performance of Gamelan, the traditional ensemble music of Java and Bali in Indonesia, made up predominantly of percussive instruments. The interesting fact is that both Erik Satie and Debussy, also heard the Javanese gamelan play at the Paris Exposition of 1889. The repetitively hypnotic effects of the gamelan were incorporated into Satie's exotic Gnossienne set for piano. After my “silence performance” piece which explored the minimal sounds of piano keys and finger movement, I went to Rayman instrument shop to do more research on different instruments (especially percussive instruments) from various cultures. Bells, in various of sizes and forms, interest me a lot because of its dreamy and ethereal but delicate and exquisite properties. In Asian culture, the usage of bells is often associated with religious rituals. My attention drifted away to another space and my memories, even within 10 seconds. I can sense the sound reverberating in the space, and then slowly, gently, fading away. I am always fascinated by sounds that can lead me to another space, weather it is a space in reality or only existing in my mind. Back to the theme of my project, this sense of “lostness” in a enjoyable and conscious way is exactly what I am looking for. 

Then I found a very special Kalimba/ thumb piano, an instrument that originally from west Africa. Comparing to normal Kalimba, which is mainly made of wood, this Kalimba has a very special drum skin. Since the skin is less dense than the wood from normal Kalimba, the duration of each note will be longer. I realized there is a part of me that desires the sound to stay longer. Then I started to think, it is a both bless and loss that no matter what kind of sound, it is always fading away. We “open” our ears to capture the last existing moment,  but human’s hearing ability is limited and it is decreasing along with the increase of our age. We need all kinds of sounds in our life because human are lonely and lost, only the existence of sounds can tell us where we are, and more importantly, who we are. In the book “Silence” written by John Biguenet, he quoted the conversation between George Prochinik and Dirksen Bauman, a professor of deaf culture studies. The spatial disorientation of sudden hearing loss. “I assumed he was going to describe the psychological experience of being suddenly cast into silence…commented that they didn't think to themselves, ‘Oh how terrible —I can’t hear anything.’Rather, what they experienced was a deep sense of ‘Where am I’” 

However we are also seeking silence because we want to escape what we are. Play writer Harold pinter discussed this instinctive tendency in his play, “Around me sits the night. Such a silence. I can hear myself. Cup my ear. My heart beats in my ear. Such a silence. Is it me? Am I silent or speaking? How can I know? Can I know such things?”

 

Back to my research in the Rayman instrument shop, knowing the sound from different instruments/sound makers helps me to further my understanding on noise and silence. In my journey of seeking the definition of silence in my work, a field trip like this encourage me to think a lot and also apply my thoughts to experiments. 

 

Piano experimentation- slowly dying sounds

3/18 Drawing-experiment002

ex2. 1->0?

Week 27 March 25 Sat

Chat with Weiran- product/ final presentation / Chairs

Had a very enjoyable chat with Weiran, my friend who is a product designer. Before our talk, I did a lot of research on chairs and benches, which I am constantly thinking about for the final show. 

The questions/decision making I need to consider:

-Bench or Chair

-Material 

-What function do I need to have besides provide place to sit/ how to use it as a extension of my concept 

-Should I make one or buy one 

 

As a part of an art work instead of a product, my chair should serve for my concept and not for the audience. I am free to decide weather or not I want to make the sitting experience comfortable. We also discussed some interesting possibilities that the design of the chair (or the setting of the environment) can encourage/ direct/ persuade the audience to perform  a certain act: bent over their body to pick something up, looking up to something because of the height of the chair is too low, or making eye contact with other audience who sits face to face, etc. I highly value the listening experience which happen only in that moment (in the final show for example) If I can associate the sitting experience with the audio experience, the entire work will be more immersive and cohesive. I did a lot of sketches in the sketchbook as both research of chairs and my own design. 

In addition, if I want to have visual elements/ 2D work in the final outcome, I also have to consider how to utilize the wall space. I think I should keep this in my mind as my experiments evolve and gradually develop into final piece.  

Research: Singing bowl meditation

Week 27 March 26 Sun

Reading: Silence John Biguenet (quote:Representation of silence )

More reflections and evolving thoughts on previous drawing experiments.

In Chapter 6 The representation of silence, Biguenet wrote a really inspiring analysis about the our perceptual understanding silence associates with black and white. 

“Is the black page that follows the death of Yorick in Laurence Sterne’s The life and Opinions of Tristan Shandy an illustration of grief?…Or is it, perhaps, a moment of silence imposed by the author on the loquacious narrator of his novel to honor the passing of a character?…if so, is darkness a cognate of silence?”

Another paragraph is about whiteness:

“Is a white page, rather than a dark leaf, the better representation of silence? Or will we allow both unsullied witness and unrelieved darkness to serve as contradictory images of silence?”

“The white paper is silence against which the black ink is understood to be sound.”

“So does reading assume that language is embroidered upon silence?” 

This discussion reminds me of the drawing experiment I did. I turned the paper from silence to noise. But if I think about the whole process, the actual sketching would be unnecessary, since those creases I made were already existed as the sound. And theses creases, I should call them, the drawing.

 

Spring Break Week 28

March 27 Mon

Piano room: Practice Bach prelude D minor, Music theory research 

 

Spring Break Week 28

March 30 Tue

Reflection on Annkakultys exhibition

What interested me most in Stine Deja’s show Cyphoria is the presentation/curation of the show. In her installation, the artist chose to turning the gallery into a replication of departure waiting room in an airport. The details such as a suitcase, a bin, discarded Starbucks cups, a charging phone etc. created an airport terminal atmosphere which is closely linked to the her video works. 

The 3D-scanned prints is also intriguing since the objects she chose are her belongings that represent her identity. “Traveling though time and space” a experience transcends the human body…

 

Spring Break Week 28

April 1 Sat

Documentary: Beautiful noise reflection 

Kieran’s show opening at Husk cafe: “its definitely nighttime look theres even fish”

Today I re-watched the documentary about the history of shoe gaze as an underground music genre/movement in 1990s, featuring interviews with band members of My Bloody Valentine, Jesus and Mary Chain, Cocteau Twins etc. a philosophy of letting the music speak for itself. MBV’s Loveless is my all time favorite album and i am so inspired by it. Extreme noise—its fuzziness— sometimes it is so close to what I feel about silence. 1990s is a fascinating period when innovative musicians mixed guitar noise into conventional pop song structures while maintaining a philosophy of letting the music speak for itself. The distortion of guitar and obscured vocals makes the it indistinguishable. Once your body embrace it, you never want it to stop. The loudness of music provides addiction, as well as intimacy. You feel lost in a dream that you never want to wake up. You can’t escape and you don't want to. You are embraced by the sounds and you feel warm and safe. I guess that explains human body’s instinctive tendency towards sound and noise. 

Also went to my friend Kieran’s show at Husk café “its definitely nighttime look theres even fish”. It’s about landscape and emotions. Spatial relations, emotional boundaries, the sensitivity and fragileness of self. Those drawings with texts are so lovely and gentle, envelopes senses of loneliness and alienation. I want to make works that makes people feel certain emotions, or nostalgia, possibly. 

 

Spring Break Week 29

April 3 Mon

Reflection on Japanese Architecture exhibition in Barbican 

 

Spring Break Week 29

April 5 Wed

Reading: Silence/ Every Song ever 

Body scanning experiments 

Today I spent some time reading and also produced four scans as a continuation of the previous scanning series “When I scan them everything becomes silent” I made two scans of my belly button, one scan of bloody vessels that can been vaguely seen under the skin of my wrist, and one scan of my palm print. I really like the second scan of my belly button. It looks like a close up of the relatively smooth side of the a mountain with a small cave in the middle of it. The thought of “There is a black hole in my body” scars me. The palm scan reminds me of my first scan print and drawing experiment which looks like a map. But overall the photo itself seems quite obvious and too intentional. And besides being a part of my research of scanning, the body scans seems a bit drifted away from my subject matter. 

It’s good to do experiments as much as I can and try things out. But more importantly, at this stage, I should remind myself constantly to use my time appropriately to prevent chasing dead ends which would waste too much time. 

*What should I do before Spring term starts?

-Make a specific timetable (divide time into research/ reflection/ sketchbook/ gallery viewing/ experiment)

-Organize my experiments and think about how can I develop them/one piece into the final piece

 

Week 30 April 10 Wed 

Finalize outcomes/tutorial with Alan

I was quite anxious about my final outcome before meeting Alan and showing him my experiments. It seemed like my experiments are all very scattered and none of them is “good enough” for the final outcome. Somehow I devalued all these small experiments I did related to different directions and I was panicking because I don't know which one should I chose to be the “perfect final piece”. My perfectionism nearly kills me and stops me from developing my works. 

Alan’s talk was really inspiring. He said the fundamental part of a “project” is that you don’t know you are making the final piece when you are making works. It’s never like, “Oh today I am going to make a final piece and it’s going to be planned well and be perfect.” Making art is never about making something that is absolutely perfect. Those small experiments that seems like just random pieces, but after the development it can turn into a final piece. Also another thing that’s really important is ‘Respect your works’ 

Secondly, I should spend more time working on my sketchbook. Documentation of my working process (screenshots for audio experiments with analytical annotations) will be crucial for the final assessment.

We also discussed about the possible final presentation of an audio piece. Since Adrian informed me that they couldn't build a bench for me during spring break, I have to build one by myself, or buy one, and probably return it after the show. In addition, Alan suggested me to get a media player/ Raspberry pi if I want to avoid using my laptop in the show.  

-Research: Castor project Jack West 

 

Details

Week 30

April 12 Fri

Get Ikea chair, decision making 

Points of listening event “Listening devices ”

Roland CS-10EM ASMR research

 

I got the chair from IKEA today. It is not a very comfortable chair to be honest but comfortableness is the key point. I sat on it for half an hour while listening to my audio piece. The chair makes me feel safe because I am a relatively small person that can be surrounded by it. But at the same time, due to its uncomfortableness, I also feel confined by it. I decided to choose this one because it is interesting to experience this mixture of opposite feelings. And I also want to do something on this chair which makes it became a part of my piece that is linked to my concept. Maybe I should make a cushion case using the canvas paper. Or paint a white square on the black chair(see related sketches on my sketchbook). 

Also I went to the listening event “listening devices” which inspired me to think about the feeling of lostness while following a particular sound as your only compass with blindfold. It makes me really anxious. I am constantly worried about my eyesight and scared of being blind one day. However, this experience furthered my understanding of the connection between sound and environment, and how human are relied on sound to prevent spacial disorientation. 

I also tested Roland CS-10EM mic for binaural recordings. I would like to apply this technology into my final audio piece which will provide the listener a more spacial and immersive experience. 

 

Details

April 12/ Chair from Ikea for final show

Details

Week 31

April 17 Mon

Solve technical problem, tutorial with Susan 

update research 

Get Raspberry pi3 ready to set up on Thursday 

 

Details

Week 31

April 18 Tue

Reflection update

Print out sketchbook pages 

Produce cushion case for the final show

 

Details

April 22/Evaluation Plan

Week 31 April 22 Sat

Evaluation draft/ Plan

 

Did I achieve what I set out in my proposal?

What were my aims?

-how human identity and our spatial cognition are shaped by the listening culture and how are we shaped it, finding visual representation and definitions of silence and noise, how sensory barrage influences us, particularly our mental state, using soundscapes to create an altered space and virtual reality that envelope the listeners’ emotions and psyches. 

 

How did I plan to develop the project?

Using research maps to organize thoughts and develop quick experiments from different ideas/perspectives/directions of my subject matter then build on them, applying various methodologies and knowledge from experiments and other researches. 

 

• Has my project changed from my initial proposal? If so,

why and how successful were these changes?

My main focus of the project was slightly deviated from original proposal— creating an altered space that invite people to enter and explore their environment by building ambient soundscapes. Instead of focusing on learning techniques and knowledge such as musical composition and production which acquires long term study, my works became more visual and conceptual. Narrowing down from a big abstract concept such as “Lost” “Silence”, I was able to visualize my understanding of the concepts from very small angles/perspectives, such as “the representation of silence” ,or “how our alienation and anxiety is engendered by the environment”. My research focus was also drifted from the discourse of Psychogeography to  It was also changed towards my interest on scanning photo prints, mark makings and drawing as methodologies, influenced by experimental film-makers such as Nan Wang and others whose works were screened in the event “Signal noise” in Close-up cinema.

 

• What breakthroughs occurred during the project (Breakthroughs are incidents and experiences that stand out as having had a major impact on your approach /

thinking)

Ryoji Ikeda’s show π, e, ø opening in Almine Rech Gallery 

 

How have I developed in technical terms

Etchings

Binaural recordings research 

Further understanding of piano as an instrument/sound maker with complicated structures which provides various possibilities for different sounds. 

 

 

How has my research influenced, informed and shaped my project outcome?

My research focus was also drifted from the musical aspects of silence represented in experimental music genres such as japanoise, shoegaze, and post-rock to more conceptual based analysis such as the definition/representation of silence, discourse of Psychogeography, Alienation and belongings. Embracing the minimalistic aesthetic from composers/artists across cultures such as John Cage, Erik Satie, Toshio Hosokawa, Steve Roden etc, I tried to push the boundaries of my understanding of contemporary art and jump out of the comfort zone of my art creation. 

 

What is the most successful and what is the least successful aspect of my project?

Dry point etching making 

 

 If I could start my project again, what would I do differently and how would I go about it?

 

Are there any ‘dead end’ ideas that I would like to explore further after this project? 

-Silent Performance. 

-Scanning experiments

 

How well did I organise myself and manage my time during this project?

In the initial stages of my project, I didn't find the action plan useful because it cannot be specified due to the unpredictability of my research result and experimental developments. However after the reading weeks when I started to experiment, my anxiety came from not being able to see clear directions while working on several small experiments at the same time. the action plan became a very useful tool to organize my thoughts and arrange my time efficiently. Strictly following the action plan also helped me to document the process and

date the research the reflection precisely on workflow.

Details

April 22/ Final Check Mp3 player

Details

Week 31 April 17 Mon

Solve technical problem, tutorial with Susan 

update research 

Get Raspberry pi3 ready to set up on Thursday 

 

Week 31 April 18 Tue

Reflection update

Print out sketchbook pages 

Produce cushion case for the final show

 

Week 31 April 19

Reflection writing

 

Week 31 April 20 THU

Reflection writing 

Talk to Alan

Get ready for pre hang/ research/ photo printing 

Solve technical problem: Pick up the raspberry pi3 but decided to get a MP3, cheap, ok to loop, easy since raspberry needs programming as the media player 

also did several test for the final out printings. 

Narrow down to three photos and test the size 

 

Week 31 April 21

Print out the final outcome 

talk to susan about pre hang -height/size decision making

Sketchbook development and finalize several outcomes, document them properly 

 

Pre hang 

 

 

Week 31 April 23

evaluation + + prep for sketchbook 

Final check and charge the mp3 player, get duct tape 

 

Week 31 April 24

morning: Individual tutorial morning. evaluation feedback 

Working on final evaluation 

Final hang 

Sketchbook 

reflection 

Print out PPP+ timetable + evaluation 

 

Week 31 April 25

hand in, return books 

 

Details

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