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navigating information by ear: 7 new environmental works

‘norths’ was open 10-5 Monday July 10th – Friday July 14th.

Ex Libris / XL Gallery at Newcastle University Fine Art Building.

Documentation Coming Soon, this is only provisional information, Please Stand By!

This work is the product of several years of working with seismic and geomagnetic data from the far North to ask some questions about how and why we assign objectivity and centrality to 'standards' of all kinds, and any kind.

In the process of taking this exhibition down, I realised that it was not possible to document or attempt to reconstruct the experience of these pieces without being in them, with them, as a participant in the environment. Photographs only show a single and fixed perspective of an object that was also sounding. Sound examples make no sense by themselves and in this case are even misleading in conveying the presence of these pieces, so I have chosen not to present them. Video does a bad job of both and takes from the viewer thier own navigational ability. Text alone leaves too much to the imagination, espiecally my texts.

I don't necessarily mean that this is always the case, but it is certainly the case in my recently exhibited works. These media, these attempts at documenting, they actually harm the experience rather than allowing entry points to it. So I have had to really compromise with this, and to an extent, for these works, "you really have to be there". So I look forward to your invitation...and when it arrives I will make you something special.

Meanwhile, by way of documentation I include some photos, and my texts from the exhibition, which give some context around and some technical detail of each piece. For now, I have to leave it at that.

The pieces included are:

Constellation (Eskdalemuir 5)

As Above, So Below

Gate (Norths 5, Eskdalemuir 6)

Brraaap (Norths 4, Eskdalemuir 7)

Bird on a Wires (Norths 3)

Local Seis (Norths 2)

Trve Norths (Magnetic Declination Responder)

While invigilating the exhibition, I wrote this about the pieces in the show:

I am using this seismic and geomagnetic data in this exhibition to render the fallacy within objective standards like ‘northness’ something visceral, something felt, through sound. I want to return data to experience… to understand more about experience through this experience.. or at least to acknowledge experience and its role in being and what information is exchanged by beings in our environments…which we co-produce…

In sound we can some of what this data represents to be felt. The exhibition presents several sound and visual installation pieces which work together or against each other to create this environmental sound situation.

In a strange way the whole show represents a kind of chain reaction or feedback loop of materiality and embodiment: sound materializes data in gathered an landscape in the context of a new environment for embodied listeners.

note: I have not yet had a chance to attribute and reference these texts properly, in the meantime here is a list of works cited:

This work was conducted as a participant and research within Project Radical: A New Interdisciplinary Space for Sonification, a project funded by a Leverhulme Trust Research Project Grant (number RPG-2020-113).

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