reflection: box with black interior

Yesterday, I finished the black interior of the box and hung it up with fishing wire, enabling viewers to approach the work and enter their head inside. I found that one problem is that there are some small holes or gaps in-between the paper, allowing white light to shine through and thus ruining the enveloping  jet black environment I was attempting to create. The light from surroundings also slightly reflects onto the sugar paper, further distancing the interior from pitch black. perhaps to avoid this, I should use a material that doesn’t reflect, such as felt. Anish Kapoor used Vantablack in pieces such as ‘Memory’; this is the blackest material known to man, absorbing 99.6% of light.

I also found the outcome a little thin. I feel like the blackness would be emphasised more if it was emerging from a form thicker than a paper box; there is little for it to contrast against. as a result, if the box is viewed from a certain angle, the viewer can see only a black square, thus it has absolutely nothing to be emerging from.

i’m still fond of the idea of sound emerging from a blackness, but what the sound will be of i don’t know. the environment also should be different. clean on clear poses no juxtaposition.


Head Installation Progress, 26/10/2016



I have created a paper head installation as a test for size and positioning. I went with 12 inches as a length for the sides. I think I am quite content with this size because it sits comfortably on the shoulders and so gives the viewer an interesting form. Initially, the head installation was going to be positioned so that the viewer would be facing a flat surface, however I found that this looked too cliché and overdone. I think that when the box is positioned so that the viewer is facing a corner, the whole composition looks far more interesting; it makes the box look slightly unreal and computerised. However, I need to be careful to avoid the appearance that this is a statement about How Technology Is Taking Over. I believe that when the sound recordings are installed inside the boxes, there should be little to link this concept.

Formally, I was inspired by Pierre Huyghe’s following image from his multimedia installation In Border Deep. pierre

Huyghe has long been influenced by “Locus Solus,” Raymond Roussel’s 1914 novel about an inventor who invites friends to a secluded estate to show off his creations, one of which is a tank filled with cadavers that re-enact the most important moments of their former lives, animated by a miraculous substance called resurrectine.

I was very drawn to the idea of the happening in the above image taking place in a gallery. I feel like the viewer would feel as though they’ve been flung out of their familiar surroundings and placed into a foreign environment. This is an interesting idea to heave into my own project because I am looking at the fluid nature of time, and so being pulled out of familiar surroundings and placed into an environment so seemingly alien as the above would pose questions about time, as one would lose sense of normality and thus time. I think therefore the recordings inside the head installation would be interesting if they were of mundane reality taking place outside of the installation. Hence, the viewer would be standing in a foreign, unidentifiable environment -an interzone, I would like to think of it as-, whilst having a slight access to the outside world. The interzone would be a space in which time isn’t counted nor thought of and thus doesn’t exist (the possibility of this is something I should research into), and the head installation could be the window, so to speak, into our mundane reality, thus gaining the viewers a peek into the fast-moving nature of time from an outside perspective. For this to work, the installation would have to feel stale, still and empty. I think if there were lack of other human presence this would receive the most powerful response. Although, it would also be interesting to have an installation in which many people were standing in these head installations. The fact that audiences must be standing in one spot without moving to hear the audio could create an interesting, still atmosphere in which humans appear to be ‘plugged in’ almost to these bizarre devices that gain them access to the outside.

To continue this project, I think that I will play around with materials used for the boxes. I used paper as a test for size, however I think the simplicity of the plain white thin material is quite effective because it contrasts against the complexity of the human body and outfit. Perhaps white acrylic could be interesting; the hard and shiny surface will give the device a futuristic look about it, while also being more sustainable; people are going to be touching this piece and so paper will not be durable enough. I would also like to try wood, perhaps rock (the rough, natural materials against perhaps a smooth, completely black interior). I was interested by a small aspect of Helen Marten’s exhibition at the Turner Awards, Tate Britain. I also need to experiment with ways in which to hang the mask; should fishing wire be used to give the installation the appearance that it is hovering, or something more noticeable such as black string?  



I became intrigued by the idea of holes in a drainpipe, and how I could create an installation using drainpipes through which viewers could poke their heads and thence hear the recorded sounds of the outside world. Conceptually, this is fitting since drainpipes can be placed between walls, and if the installation is an ‘interzone’, it is quite fitting that it be based inbetween walls. Inside the walls, we design our idea of normality with furniture and objects that we believe shape who we are. In mundane reality, time ticks forwards constantly. Between the walls is space which we reject and to which we pay no attention. It brings to mind rats, dirt and a repulsive odour, all to which humans turn a blind eye and pretend don’t exist. I think this is an interesting idea which I would like to develop alongside the head installation. Time, according to us, still moves forward in these place. Yet humans are the only creatures who actually measure time. And so, to these environments and the creatures who inhabit them, time is not a concept. Time does not exist.

Notes from David Toop’s Vimeo

David Toop (born 5 May 1949) is an English musician, author, and professor and chair of audio culture and improvisation at the London College of Communication. He was a member of the Flying Lizards and a contributor to the British magazine The Face. He is a regular contributor to The Wire, a British music magazine.

  • Silence is a kind of noise. The more you focus on emptiness or ‘the void’ the more you find within it.
  • Sound doesn’t actually exist. It’s always in a state of emerging or decaying.
  • 100’s of years ago, sound was described as the dark sense; inferior.
  • we can hear and interpret even though we don’t necessarily see its source; we trust it.
  • in a sense, you’re more a designer than a composer in the traditional sense.
  • via computer, you can generate vast inverses of sound, but it has no space that it actually exists. unlike a violin.


Thoughts: aquarium – creatures living in sound. This underwater sound makes you feel like you’re in an aquarium.

it’s possible to push it too far; push people into places they don’t want to go.

he asked people to take random instruments/ sound making things and record the sounds – chance.

i also recently saw an interesting film trailer for ‘SCULPT’ by artist Loris Greaud, which gave me a few ideas that would be interesting to combine with sound.

i’d like to create a container of sound – an environment. an interzone. the space inbetween. real time slows down. a place fabricated from fragments of the past, insignificant moments?

based on the fragility/ inability to hold into time.

immersive and encompassing.

a place where time gets stuck; memories hanging in an abyss.

I like the idea of roping things or people into an installation – stuck in an interzone – how quickly time passes, this is a space where things have got stuck, like memories. This idea came from ‘SCULPT’, as shown below. The way in which the artist hangs people is thick with sexual connotations, however I found it was also incredibly dream-like and unrealistic, given the almost surrealistic way in which human bodies were being hung. It made me think that the space was an interzone between times and the people were memories that had gotten stuck. It is a little like the inside of a head, where memories hover.2016-11-27-1



film idea: burning paper

My idea is to have start with a piece of paper or flammable material held up and three cameras, each positioned one above the other. I will then set fire to the material and film with the camera on the top as the form changes from one form into another destructed form. The camera below will catch as the material, now embers and dust, float down through the air towards the ground, and finally the camera at the bottom will film as these embers and ashes reach the floor and form a small pile of ashes. I feel like this will show something about the fragility of time through the eventual disintergration of matter and objects that we see as more permanent as they are (indeed, perhaps an object more permanent than paper should be deconstructed). I think it may also show something interesting about the way that the level of matter in the universe is a constant; nothing ever disappears, only transforms. The idea came about when reading about Amelia Groom at the exhibition at Whitechapel:



A Bicycle deconstructed into parts (each piece is 0.5 mm) and pulverized,
subsequently stored in 29 glass jars with labels.
132.1 × 299 × 32.5 cm

In this work, Alicja Kwade brings a bicycle back to its essence. First, she divided the bicycle into parts. All the ground materials (iron, rubber, aluminium, foam, textile, lacquer etc.) were then pulverized into 0.5 mm grains and divided over 29 jars that are
presented alongside each other. Although the materials are the same, the body of the object has been transformed. What exactly are we looking at now? Not a bicycle, this much is clear, but without these materials the bicycle would have never existed in the first place. It is still present in memory. One could say that the material has but changed in appearance, a different exterior. Kwade exemplifies how the shape of objects generates meaning and value.”

Something about the transformation of the materials from a bicycle to dust struck me as quite fascinating; it emphasizes both that everything is made of dark matter and comes from star dust; everything is therefore connected. It also emphasized how everything will ultimately be destroyed and thus transformed into another form when the sun eventually engulfs the earth.  All that remains connecting these materials to each other and to the bicycle is the memory of it. Furthermore, Kwade uses bicycles as a symbol for the constant forward-moving nature of time, and so the deconstruction of the bicycle seems almost like an attempt to stop time; the presenting of these materials inside a clear glass box feels clinical, purposeful and protective; it looks like part of a scientific experiment; the viewer can imagine that whoever laid out these jars was wearing perhaps a lab coat, goggles and gloves. The jars are contained and isolated, perhaps to separate them from the fast moving external world where things move constantly. Inside the cube, one can convince oneself that time stays still. Yet it is not a playful piece, it is very serious and immobile. Almost fearful – of time. And so perhaps this attempt to stop time and slow things down is too serious a pursuit, destined to fail.  


idea: sound-wave visuals for head installation

I found a website,, which creates a visual of users’ audio recordings. The four main pieces of data extracted are as follows: Volume – the thicker bar on the right hand side; Waveform – the jagged white line; Levels – the bar chart of frequency amplitudes, from bass on the left to treble on the right.; Beat Detection – the volume bar flashes white when a beat is detected. The white line above the volume bar indicates the beat threshold. I dragged some of my mp3 files on and became interested in the effect of viewing the fast-fluctuating waveform line with your eyes right up close. It causes extreme distortion and an inability to focus. Visually, it is quite mesmerizing yet uncomfortable. The lack of ability to focus visually forces viewers to focus on the sound, which remains sharp in comparison. I have remembered that my project started off exploring fleeting affections between strangers, which remains a prominent role in this study, hand in hand with the fleeting nature of time itself. Dipping in and out of environments and conversations emphasizes this point because it creates a momentary bond between viewers and the stranger speaking in the recording – the stranger will not be talking to me (or the viewers), but with a person who they most likely will know, and thus will be talking on a social or personal level; this creates a direct route for the viewer into the person speaking. The blurred waveform line acts as a symbol for this; stretching from one end to another, it seems to connect two different forms. Indeed, it literally does show the visual of two or more people forming connections. The constant restlessness of it does not allow viewers to sit back and listen with ease either; viewers must instead be paying full attention, which perhaps is ideal as every moment that passes a new sound emerges. I would like to be able to have the digital waveforms playing inside a headset so that viewers are isolated, able to see only the blur of the waveforms and head only the sound of the environment. I need to decide whether a theme will be necessary for the sound recordings, however. I do not feel that it is strong enough to use any recordings that I make as these have so far been relatively random. I feel my work will come out stronger if I set out to make a recording in a certain place for a certain reason. Inspired bu Bruce Naumann,  I am interested in the idea of tying in psychology; perhaps exploring how certain sounds connect to certain psychological effects/ theories.


Reflection; Sound Manipulations

004 – The Coffee Shop

Wah wah and clipping of 004: this is an incredibly distorted version of the original recordings. I chose to manipulate 004 because there is a lot of different sounds going on; the clashing of the coffee machinery, scraping of chairs, chatting of people, the music playing in the background, etc. I found the combination of the music playing in the background with the sounds taking place naturally inside the coffee shop interesting because it challenges the idea of music. The manipulated recording is unpleasant and uncomfortable to listen to for a prolonged period. The ‘wah-wah’ effect creates a constant rhythmic banging/ chainsaw-like sound and distorts voices and sounds to the point where it almost sounds like the recording took place underwater; it does not sound like the original recording, or like the inside of a coffee shop at all. However, I feel as though recordings manipulated to the extent where it is so different from the original do not suit my proposal; the manipulated sound does not pinpoint a specific fleeting moment because that moment never took place; it has morphed into a distorted and digitalised, almost dream-like memory of the moment.

Voice 004 wah wah soft: I softened the effect of the ‘wah wah’, making this recording a lot less irritable to listen to and easier to focus on what sounds there are. The manipulated sound appears to pulsate slightly and echo in a way that makes it sound as though it is underwater. This recording resembles the original slightly more and so it is recognisable but still creates a separation between the reality and the sound recording; the recording a simulacrum of the original. I like the idea that these manipulations are a way of bending reality slightly; they balance on a line somewhere between reality and fiction. This could leave interesting room for a combination of sound and installation.

There are occasional recognisable sounds, such as the outburst of laughing in ‘voice 004 wah wah soft’, which -especially combined with the music in the background- creates an optimistic atmosphere. These sounds also take emphasis off the music playing in the background which makes it clear to viewers that they are not just listening to distorted pieces of music, but people surrounded by music, again blurring the lines between what constitutes as music.


In the Studio


What is quite interesting about these manipulations is that the only effect that I have imposed on them is slowing them down, meaning every sound is completely real, just extremely magnetised.  The sounds are quite hypnotic and unclear. This lack of clarity prevents viewers from being able to stick a finger on exactly what they are listening to, creating a sense of confusion and heightening the sense of hypnotism and allowing the mind to drift. The context of the studio is relevant because it was through the whole university process that I became aware and interested in the fleeting and slippery nature of time. It is also interesting to listen to the recording in the studio context because the listener feels hyper aware of the sounds taking place around them. Those sounds did take place in this room at one point, and that moment has now disappeared -indeed, it disappeared as soon as it took place-. The slowing down of the recording feels like an attempt to hold onto that moment, but I think it emphasises the impossibility of such an attempt as the sound does sound like time has been slowed down but regardless, the sound constantly morphs. I think I would be interested in continuing the slowing down process.

Industrial Music

Industrial music is a genre of experimental/ electronic music thast draws on transgressive or provocative sounds and themes. The term was coined in the mid-1970’s with the founding of Industrial Records by Genesis P-Orridge of Throbbing Gristle and Monte Cazazza; they coined the term “industrial music for industrial people”. In general, the style is harsh and challenging. All music defines industrial as the “most abrasive and aggressive fusion of rock and electronic music; initially a blend of avant-garde electronic experiments and punk provocation”.

I am interested in the music videos for Throbbing Gristle – Hot on the Heels of Love; they are a concoction of clips of imagery, all strange and slightly uncomfortable and disturbing. The way it changes so quickly is disconcerting and dizzying. I would like to play about with this idea, perhaps using photographs or films that I have taken at various points in time, merging a collection of different points in time to form one. Below are some screenshots taken from the music video, some of which I feel seem to reference artworks. For instance, the eye reminds me of the stage design for Salvador Dali’s ‘Spellbound’, whereas the candle is similar to Gerhard Richter’s piece ‘Candle’.

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looking back at fragmented photoshoots

On reflection, I am realising that the majority of first photoshoot was a lot stronger than the second. I believe that this is due to the fact that the first photoshoot ended up much more abstract than the second; the cracks in the mirrors came out as blurs; lines where one section faded into another. the shards in the second photoshoot were rigid lines, due to the fact that the camera had probably been further away from the shards. the result of this was that sections no longer faded into each other, and the photos were generally more harsh. the subjects of the photos were also very obvious in the second photoshoot, whereas many of the first came out more as textures, lines and letters that therefore lacked meaning. the village in which I took the photos had been deconstructed. if I were to work with installation, I think this edges me towards the conclusion that it should be a space lacking realism. a space in which one cannot pinpoint exactly what it is or what is taking place. for instance, Samson Young’s Dream FM visually is too easy to understand as a space that is recognisable. I feel like this kind of environment wouldn’t accompany my recordings very well, as I believe that attention would be drawn to the visuals more.


Notes on John Cage’s ‘Silence’


Silence is one of the five parts of a series of books in which Cage tries, as he says, to find a way of writing which comes from ideas, is not about them, but which produces them. Often these writings include mesostics and essays created by subjecting the work of other writers to chance procedures using the I Ching (what Cage called writing through). I decided to read some of this book as Cage was a groundbreaking artist exploring the field of experimental music. I have listen below some interesting points and analysis to fuel my interest in sound art.

“The composer (organiser of sound) will be faced not only with the entire field of sounds, but also with the entire field of time.” – John Cage, Silence

“Any sound is acceptable to the composer of percussion music; he explores the academically forbidden “non-musical” field of sound insofar as is manually possible.” – the importance of percussion and where that word would suitably be assigned in my recordings; footsteps could act as percussion. Does this turn experimental sound into music?

Thereminister used the instrument in a way that limited the possibility of the instrument, so that it imitated music/ instruments from the past, making sounds that audiences would like. We are shielded from new sound experiences. Electronic instruments control structure of tones (as opposed to noises) and makes these tones available in any frequency, amplitude and duration.

“Disagreement will no longer be about dissonance and consonance; it will be, in the immediate future, between noise and so-called musical sounds”

“Methods of writing percussion music have as their goal the rhythmic structure of a composition, As soon as these methods are crystallised into one or several widely accepted methods, the means will exist for group improvisations of unwritted but culturally important music. This has already taken place in hot jazz and oriental cultures” – I found this point interesting; that a whole, ground-breakingly important musical movement stressed improvisation. A lack of rigid structure and memorised lines. Within the bar, there is freedom.

There is something very immersive about sound. It is visually pure. It seeps straight through your ears and swarms your brain instantly. It fills a room yet is invisible. Collecting objects to accompany the sound acts as a pinpoint, directing your attention. Your eyes. I am not sure yet whether I like this. I find the idea of being immersed solely in sound quite appealing. The use of lights, perhaps, or something visually unclear. Solid form and sonic form are quite uncomfortable together – perhaps the direct attention necessary from two different senses results in a lower attention available from either one. 

“Opening the doors to the sounds that happen to be in the environment. (..) Glass houses of Mies Van Den Rohe reflect their environment” – Chance. An interesting idea that sound can naturally accompany a piece of art with those/ that which surrounds it. I can imagine writing stating “This is not art. Close your eyes and open your ears. That is art”.

This chance forces a separation between the art and the artist; the artist cannot control the sounds, only place the piece in a chosen environment. There is an importance in how many people would be viewing this art piece at a time; if there are many people, there will be lots of noise. If there is just one person, there will be far less noise. 

An Anechoic Chamber; a place of silence. “I heard two sounds. One high, one low. When i described them, he informed me that the high one was my nervous system in operation. The low one was my blood circulation. Until I die, there will be sounds. And they will continue following my death. One need not fear about the future of music.”

Peer Crit and Consolidating Proposal

In my peer crit with Jess, we discussed possibilities of my project. She mentioned a very interesting sounding book, ‘Time’ by Whitechapel, with the P.O.V’s of many authors etc. outlooks on time. The problem I am having is the lack of interesting research I have found i.e. I need to find some philosophical outlooks on time.


  • Absence and presence
  • The idea of what existed in a space before
  • The sounds and conversations that took place in a place at one point
  • The emptiness of that place
  • Then and now
  • Potential of performance
  • Condensed time
  • Themes – What will the conversational themes be? i.e. where they’re recorded? what’s being discussed?
  • Children have vocal expressiveness i.e. going to primary schools and sparking conversations?
  • Coffee shops have an interesting set up – music played creating an atmosphere.
  • The temporary nature of conversation.
  • How you can’t grab hold of it.
  • How to go about this.
  • Ideas: record a conversation every day? Or every few days?
  • Then create an installation? Walking through these conversations?