Base Sound :: Sonic Gold

Base Sound :: Sonic Gold was a commission for HOUSE 2011, the partner festival to the Artists Open Houses, taking place in small galleries and domestic sites throughout Brighton and Hove during the Brighton Festival each May.

When ceramicist, Kay Aplin loads her clay tiles into a kiln, she is never really sure what is going to come out the other end. The process of firing is an alchemical one and fraught with chance, accident and mistakes.

As a sound artist, when I make recordings in public – of soundscapes, passing voices and traffic noise – I can never be certain whether the recordings I have captured contain anything of value until I return to the studio and begin the process of listening and sculpting with the sound.

Base Sound :: Sonic Gold is an attempt to explore the correspondences between the artistic processes of ceramics and sound art in the making of an audio guide to accompany Kay’s permanent installations at The Ceramic House.

I visited Kay’s studio at Phoenix to document the intimate sounds that occur in the making of her work; the bangings, scrapings, gougings and mouldings that make up the sound world of ceramics, along with the conversations and overheard comments between herself and her small army of volunteers. These form the “base sound” of the work; that are transformed into the “sonic gold” of the final piece.

The end result was an iPod installation, presented as an “audio guide” for visitors to the exhibition.