Loop Reflections

Three days of sonic wonderment at the Funkhaus Berlin left me reeling with ideas to follow through on. Set in beautiful yet austere surroundings of the former DDR broadcasting centre on the River Spree, the Funkhaus now houses studios for the likes of Nils Frahm and hosts numerous eclectic music events.

 

Ableton curated a varied and diverse range of workshops, talks and installations over the weekend with a focus on the creative process, music in education and collaborative working.  was great to hear performances by Catarina Barbieri on modular synths, Kate Gately on recording processes, Jenny Hval on performance and Giles Peterson on his favourite tracks.

And it's been 25 years since I last visited Berlin so I was very curious to re-visit a city I fell in love with back then. It's charms are still very prominent, amazing people, art led spaces, wide cycle friendly streets, extremely laid back bars and good conversation.  Berlin you have captured my heart again....

 

Oh wise owl...

From 21st October I'll be adding some sound into the magnificent gardens of Beningbrough Hall near York as part of their Oh Wise Owl exhibition. There'll be 10 artists exhibiting and all work will be outside as part of an art trail. My piece will be submerged in bird boxes in the west formal gardens and will provide an aural intervention on the journey around the house. It'll run from October over each weekend right through winter until the end of February. Take a trip over and have a listen.

Comune di Stranieri

April saw a residency at Casa degli Artisti, a remote medieval house devoted since the 1960's to housing collections of art from both it's founder Giacomo Vittone and international visiting artists. Situated in the Dolmits region north of the stunning Lake Garda it bestowed it's charms on us from the moment we arrived late on Saturday night. 

Notably there was no sound at night at all except the low level clicking of crickets. All shutters were closed and no artificial lighting polluted the darkness of the mountain space. The morning gave us the most stunning view. What we couldn't see travelling up there at night was a vast mountainside on the other side of the narrow valley. The birdsong and sun awoke us and the mountains made their presence felt.

 

This house was a rabbit warren of hidden rooms, underground cellars, dusty attics and years of unknown history. We went exploring. It felt un-lived in. It needed occupying. Out in the garden we all as a group led by Bianca underwent some rite of passage ritual to break free of any creative blocks we may have been carrying. Can't name this ritual as not entirely sure what it was. Time to explore.

Lago di Tenno is a stunning glacial turquoise lake nearby which we explored. Time for sound recording, observing, photographing, listening, taking a dip in the freezing waters. The next two days involved the amazing husband & wife team of Manolo & Juri (Dolomit Learning) giving us a tour in an anthropological & sociological way of the region including the beauty that is Riva del Garda.

The exhibition by this time was looming on the Thursday. Guests had been invited. Food had been ordered. We had yet to produce work or curate our show. Pressure was on. I found myself retreating from the frantic production line of the main studio space to a quieter room and worked from a less frantic setting. It was a massively glorious time to only have to think about my work. To not have the distractions, pulls, commitments of daily life stop starting the flow of ideas. Things began to crystalline. To deconstruct. To simplify. Everything began being paired down to it's most essential parts.

I began to muse on relationships & connections. Both of the local folk and of our group and of those at home. What ties us together? What causes tension? What are the spaces in-between?

 

These constraints formed the core of the installation piece I produced. Alongside the work I ran a rolling soundscape of church bells, rain, water lapping, metal yacht rails, sheep bells, conversations in italian.

It was an amazing experience. To be immersed in another country. To work in an unknown area. To work alongside the group. To be a stranger in a strange land.

Women, Art, Food at Leeds Gallery

The exhibition I'm exhibiting in is running until Weds 25th May. There are some really diverse artwork and print pieces showing so if you're in the area of Leeds/West Yorkshire get yourself down there.

Featured artists include: Sarah Harris, Hashtag House, Georgina Wager, Aimee Sullivan, Buttercrumble, Suzie Clichy, Krystina Chapman and Sarah Abbott.

The only rule is work...

I'd forgotten how meditative carving is. How much it clears the mind as the only thing I'm thinking of is where the carving tool is going and what the quality of the line is like. It's good work for the evening...

These are almost all printed up now ready for the exhibition at Munro House Gallery, Leeds in May.