SOUND SERIES: HOUSEKEEPING
2 – 19 August 2017
Opening Night |Thursday 3 August, 6 - 8pm
Live Closing Performance with Clinton Green | Saturday 19 August 5-6pm.
Housekeeping is an installation for sound and object, generated from the artist’s collection of found detritus amassed over many years. Drawing attention to the small, overlooked objects that populate and litter our existence, Housekeeping brings to life the fetishised yet neglected world of these everyday objects, animating them physically through sound and via collage/assemblage-based compositional techniques. Oblique narratives are shaped into an hermetic sonic environment. At the completion of the installation the majority of the objects contained within it will once again be discarded: Housekeeping.
An excerpt of an on going conversation between Matthew Davis and Eamon Sprod.
Since your 2014 album I’m Lost, your work has largely moved away from densely layered soundfields, towards works that features smaller scaled, isolated events. How does your work for BLINDSIDE fit into this continuum?
I think there are multiple elements at work here. Beginning with I’m Lost I have really started to focus on the act of collecting. This has always been central to my process but has increasingly become the subject matter. And this has led to a certain way of working with the material, how it is arranged. Focusing more on single sounds and isolated elements, allowing these small details more room, rather than creating big dense fields. Or at least shifting between the two.
Secondly I increasingly question what sort of experience I am trying to create for a listener. This might seem fairly obvious but I think previously I was very much making pieces for myself. Over the last handful of years I have met and worked with a few artists (John Grzinich, Pascal Battus, Eric La Casa in particular) who really shifted the way I thought about the listening experience, and how as artists or musicians we can shape and shift this experience for a listener.
Housekeeping explores both these elements. Not only have all the sounds been created from the masses of junk cluttering my studio, this tendency to archive or hoard is being highlighted or displayed. It is after all what my work is. But also how I have arranged the space, the objects and the sound is very much focused on trying to shape a sonic experience of the situation and objects for the listener.
It’s interesting to hear you speak of the work as being sourced from a kind of archive, because what I’ve heard of your new work kind of presents in this way as well - as if ordered in the manner of an archival series.
I don’t really think of it as archiving as such, that seems a little too systematic or orderly, but perhaps more akin to the activities of a hoarder. I have always thought of my work in terms of collage, so I am interested in the way we all stitch together individual narratives out of the various everyday encounters we have with objects, situations, architecture, people etc. For me the process has always been the most interesting part of making the things I do, so I guess over time the differentiation of subject and process has blurred.
Considering your mention of the narrative elements at play it's hard not to think of Luc Ferrari’s conception of the anecdotal here.
Over the last few years I have really started to think of the recordings I make as sharing a lot with these ideas, specifically through the process that led to making an incomplete yet fixed idea. (2016). For me the term addresses the somewhat ambiguous nature of “field recordings”; they can be both “pure” recordings of “real” things or situations while at the same time being an abstraction. I record very specific situations or objects, but they are not documentation, they are inherently unreliable, filtered through my experience and ears, the equipment I use, shifted by the contexts I place them in and then further more through the ears of the listener. Increasingly I am attempting to play with this seeming contradiction. Using more obviously “representational” sounds but in doing so confusing what is altered and what is not. My interest in the term is rooted in this element of unreliability. Like the difference between a photo of a situation and the memory of it. They are not the same thing. A memory shifts and changes, fades or gets warped, but is strangely more accurate because of this.
I was recently speaking with Swiss musician Francisco Meirino about the use of this term anecdote, specifically in the context of musique concrete/field recording and he explained that in French the term not only implies a short recalled story, but also one that is unimportant. I am not interested in the grand, “unexplored” and exotic but on these small details that surround us. This focus on “the everyday”, and on everyday sounds is central, because the “unimportant” is of course very important.
Eamon Sprod (tarab) explores re-contextualised collected sounds and tactile gestures formed into dynamic, psycho-geographical compositions inspired by discarded things, found things, crawling around in the dirt, junk, the ground, rocks, dust, wind, walking aimlessly, scratchy things, decay and most if not all the things he hears and sees. More than simply documenting a given site, tarab is interested in a direct engagement with our surrounds, teasing out half narratives, visceral sensation, false leads and heightened awareness.
tarab's latest LP an incomplete yet fixed idea is released by Aposiopése with previous compositional works released on 23five, Unfathomless, Kaon, Cronica, Semperflorens, Naturestrip, Nonlinear and Compost and Height.
Clinton Green makes something akin to music. Formerly recording under the moniker of Undecisive God, Clinton has been active in Australian experimental music since the 1990s as a recording and performing artist, curator, facilitator, writer and researcher. He has worked with unconventional approaches to guitars, turntables and found objects as tools for new forms of musical expression. He also works with dancers, theatre and performance artists in improvised collaborative situations. Clinton runs the Shame File Music label and writes on/researches historical and contemporary aspects of Australian experimental music. He completed a residency in Taiwan in 2015, which included site recordings and performances with Chun-liang Liu (who works with Green as the duo Moe Chee), and workshops on experimental music practice and the art of listening.
His current interests and pursuits include: multi-disciplinary improvised (often durational) actions in unconventional locations (such as public space); incorporation of text into improvised performance; the composition of structured improvisational situations; the Improv Idol talent show/improvisation lab with Carmen Chan; collaborative improvised site-specific performances/ceremonies with Ren Walters and Michael McNab; ongoing performance of Carmen Chan’s If I Am A Musical Thinker multimedia piece.
IMAGE | Eamon Sprod, Housekeeping. 2017, various materials. Image courtesy of the artist.