My practice reflects the experience of my presence in and walking through natural environments. I use a range of methods (predominantly sound and text) to respond to time, distance and place in the landscape.
The second week of the MFA degree show – alongside this I’m showing three works – in The Hatton Gallery 1 (Walking Contecion Island), in the Fine Art Department (Seven Days in June), and in The Arches (No. 2: “no trace”). Lots of positive comments so far so I’m feeling very happy.
If you haven’t seen the show yet come along (The Hatton is open tomorrow despite what the poster says!).
In the river my walking is primarily an act of walking as touching. The senses that predominantly guide my movement along the bank of the river – vision, sound and balance – are blunted; the use of two sticks turns me into a quadruped, and it is only this that allowed me to move with any confidence at all. Whilst I ‘watch my step’ and ‘look where I am going’ the reality in the river is that I can only see and hear the river’s surface. What shapes my movement is hidden from my sight and hearing, up to a metre below the water’s surface, on the bottom of the river, and apparent only to the touch of my feet or the probing of my sticks.
tomorrows episode is “four Northumberland rants” inspired by John Cage’s 49 Waltz’s for the five boroughs framed in the musical motif of the traditional Northumberland dance style of the Rant four walks to locations across Northumberland locations and recording durations chosen using chance procedures listen to distance time place explored on a human scale
In celebration of the ancient Roman god Terminus, god of boundaries, whose festival is 23rd February … I walked the shoreline of my imaginary lockdown island – Contención Island (https://martinpeccles.com/other-sound-works/contencion-island/). Although I’ve waked this in sections before, I have never previously walked it in one go.
So, starting at about 05:50 I walked through the dawn and ended at 10:00 – four hours – the length of the shoreline was about 11 miles and the walk total was about 12 once I add in the distance from my house to the shore. Unsurprisingly, there wasn’t much of a dawn chorus along the shoreline in February … and it was quite windy … force 4 to 5 gusting 6 to 7.
I started in the small bay to the southwest and walked clockwise, with the sun; Happy Terminalia.
A place. Bounded by the Bering Sea and mountains; land lived on and from for generations. Walk, stand, look at, over and across the land; scrub, hill, marsh, river, sea, town, gold. In this composition of field recordings and poetry, through seven replicated walks I explore embodied time, distance and movement across this place. Each day re-sets the image of this place; a new walk, a fresh exploration, an open path – the same place. Each replication is walked once; sequential sections of seven walks; seven consecutive days – seven days in June – one place in seven movements.
It’s Radiophrenia time once more (7th Feb to 20th Feb; https://radiophrenia.scot); a two-week long festival exploring current trends in sound and transmission art, broadcast from the Centre for Contemporary Arts in Glasgow and curated by Mark Vernon and Barry Burns.
Lots of fascinating, 24 hours a day, radio … I’ve three programmes on the schedule.
“WalkingContención Island” – Wednesday 9th February 14:00-14:30; In response to “stay home” restrictions in the Covid-19 pandemic I walked into existence an imaginary island. For the first lockdown I walked from my house; I recorded my walking and mapped my route; I make Contención Island; I walk until easing begins – 42 days. In the second lockdown I walk the shoreline – 28 stretches of coastline; different lengths; I walk one each day; over 28 days I re-build an island across time. In the third lockdown I walked to places using chance operations and record sounds for randomly determined periods of time – 83 sounds of randomness.
“SevenDaysinJune” – Sunday 13th February 07:00-09:00; A place. Bounded by the Bering Sea and mountains; land lived on and from for generations. Walk, stand, look at, over and across the land; scrub, hill, marsh, river, sea, town, gold. In this composition of field recordings and poetry, through seven replicated walks I explore embodied time, distance and movement across this place. Each day re-sets the image of this place; a new walk, a fresh exploration, an open path – the same place. Each replication is walked once; sequential sections of seven walks; seven consecutive days – seven days in June – one place in seven movements.
“Inthesouthofanimaginaryisland” – Sunday 20th February 06:30-09:00; This work was composed as my contribution to a collaborative group walking project (described in full at https://martinpeccles.com/other-sound-works/landlinks/) prompting encounters with our environments. To avoid ‘attachment’ to subjects by searching out those that are ‘interesting’ and to let go of the desire to find the definitive subject and to leave that choice to chance, the walk was governed by a ‘time/distance script’ to choreograph activity. Over 20 international artists responded to a series of chosen stopping points and at each were asked to moderate their gaze and choice of subject by adhering to various ‘prompt’ words.
Lots to listen to … catch it live ‘cos it isn’t archived …
This is a reminder for “Alnay” – a winter solstice sound work playing for the 24h before to 24h after the winter solstice which is at 3.58 pm on Tuesday December 21st
so … it starts tomorrow, Monday December 20th at 15:58 and will play until Wednesday December 22nd at 15:58
a 4h30m looped sound work
The Arches, Newcastle University campus
This is an outdoor venue – The Arches that lead from the area outside the Playhouse and Students Union through to the Quadrangle (see attached map; what3words location ///flags.inner.hatch)
If you plan to come to listen for any period of time, then do wrap up warm – I spent a couple of hours there on Friday doing the sound checks and I was chilled by the end of it – scarves, gloves hats, longjohns etc etc are the order of the day
I’ll be there on and off – I’ll start it late Monday afternoon – I plan to be there at the solstice and ordinarily I would offer wine and mince pies at this point but I feel, sadly, that this would not be in the spirit of trying to get through the pandemic just now – and I’ll be there to complete the work on Wednesday
This much I am sure of in advance – I may be in and out at other times as well but there is some other “stuff” around just now …
So … if you are around, do come whenever you can, engage in socially distanced, possibly solitary, contemplation … and celebrate the solstice
WHEN December 20th 15:58 to December 22nd 15:58; a 4h30m sound work running continuously from 24h before to 24h after the winter solstice
WHERE The Arches, Newcastle University campus (this is an outdoor venue – The Arches lead from the area outside the Playhouse and Students Union through to the Quadrangle; what3words location ///flags.inner.hatch)
I have long recognised that I have a number of field recordings that I have made over several years that have not fitted into any of the “outlets” that I have used to date – such as appearing in installations or radio works. Add to this the fact that I have for a while been considering the idea of adding music to my field recordings … and the result is “The Test Way”.
What is an audio paper? – good question, and this is my first attempt at producing one. It isn’t just a recording of what you would say in a standard presentation but more an artistic presentation that offers a range of ways of listening. The content is based on the work I have done during lockdown. Do let me know what you think.
I have also made a copy available through my SoundCloud page