The journey to create this piece of work began about 18 months ago when ceramic artist Kay Aplin and I were awarded a New Collaborations Bursary from a-n to travel to the Shetland Isles to investigate making a collaborative exhibition about landscape in sound and ceramics.
We were interested in the traditional representation of landscape and how we could move beyond a form of ‘landscape painting’ which traditionally views the land from a distance. Our aim was to create an immersive experience of being in the landscape, with particular reference to the practice of composer John Cage; whose work ‘In a landscape’ (1948) provided an initial starting point and reference.
During August 2015, we spent a month in residency at Scalloway Booth, a small cabin on the waterfront which was our base from which to explore the islands. As we walked, I collected binaural sound recordings which capture a 3D audio representation of the soundscape and Kay collected many of the tiny micro-flora that make up the majority of the plant life and magnified them with a digital microscope.
I layered and collaged hours of sound recordings into a four movement work that utilises the form of the classical sonata to form a 4 channel sound installation.
i) The Sea and the birds
ii) Wind and rain
iii) Humans and animals
iv) Sea and the birds
The work is currently being shown at Shetland Museum & Archives from April 16th -June 12th 2016. It then transfers (in a modified version) to our new gallery space at The Ceramic House, IN CAMERA in September 2016 as part of the Brighton Digital Festival.
An album of the source sounds was released on April 16th on Green Field Recordings, entitled “In A Shetland Landscape”.