BA Fine Art Year 1, Term 2: Week 1

First week back at uni has left me EXHAUSTED. In addition to crazy jetlag (try 50 hours travelling back to London from Australia then not sleeping for 4 nights), I hadn’t cycled in a month so when I made my 2 hour commute (1 hour each way) my ASS was in AGONY. Only just recovered. Plus trying to adjust back to winter (the sun doesn’t rise til 8am?????) and this freezing weather has thrown me a bit. But I’m not trying to complain here – super grateful that I was able to take a month to go travel an amazing country with my best friend, which has meant I’m feeling really refreshed and ready to grab this new term by the balls

Anyway enough about my ass and life’s balls. We started off by presenting in our tutor groups what we had done over Christmas. The majority of us had done fuck all, I’d done a little painting telling a story about how I missed the sun. Only in hindsight did I realise that with the dot work and story telling aspect, it was similar to some of the aboriginal Australian paintings I had seen in galleries in Sydney. I also read out (pretty shyly) some of my writings, which make up a large part of my work – yet I never present them. This was actually the first time I had, but I might as well have not done because I just mumbled them in monotone. There is still a lot of fear in my, and this term is all about breaking down that fear, being brave and not being scared to push myself. My tutor pointed out that the painting seemed like I’d just done it to have something to show (which I had) and I could have thought more about how to present my work, how to turn this storytelling aspect I want to pursue into something to be experienced.

It was because of this, reading out my writings of my experiences travelling Australia’s east coast, talking about nature, the smell of wet plants, the noise of the bugs, that I thought about doing a sound installation. I had an idea ages ago where a person walks into an empty room that smells of wet plants – my favourite smell, called petrichor. I didn’t know how this would be possible, but I could do sound and sensation with speakers and installing plants. Having seen a load of dead Christmas trees on the streets surrounding my studio, and thinking about the relation between the eucalyptus rain forests I had been hiking through, and the traditional western family Christmas that I had missed for the first time, I decided to harvest these trees, dragging about 5 into the project space to deal with later (before they were carted off by London council). I am either going to use them as they are, whole, or cut them and hang the branches, or possibly spray paint them green again, or silver or gold. I will need to go back to the space with them in and decide from there.

On Friday I booked the sound studio for the morning so I could record myself reading some of my edited writings. I had wanted to practice monologuing/performing, but I had never done it before, and didn’t want to in my room because my flatmates would hear. I went over the material several times, and practiced reading out by reciting Allen Ginsberg’s Howl, a Beat writer who has inspired my work. At some parts I free-styled the performance, really getting into speaking new words as if I was writing them, and projecting and gesturing. I then used what I had recorded in Adobe Audition, along with Adobe, BBC, and Apple SFX packages to tell a story of my travels, each section telling a little bit about a place I had gone. I mainly used jungle ambience, rain and ocean sounds, but also used MGMT’s Kids, which had been playing when me and some other people wen skinny dipping, and now always reminds me of that time, and a recording of Tibetan monks chanting ‘Om Mani Padme Hum’, which relates to the end of the piece. At that point, I began talking about The Empress, a fictional device I invented, as my 7th dimensional self that comes down to the 4th dimension to experience the flatness of this world, and the buzzing of the bugs relates to the idea of vibrational frequencies, that she has changed her frequency to this one, and I can communicate with her through meditating, like the monks chanting.

I am pleased with the sound piece, but I need to show it to other people, and I need to carefully consider my installation, and how it will be presented and how people will experience it. This term I will be doing a workshop elective on installation, which I am really excited to start.

Love n light n all that x.

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