collaborative residency exploring listening and site-responsiveness
image from thrummm handout
The four-week collaborative sonic residency at SHIFT, Cardiff allowed time and space for Leona and sound artist/performer Jon Ruddick to together examine questions around ‘Listening’, the sensual impact of sound with the perceptual impulse to make sense – a stimulating muddle of subjectivity and objectivity they both found highly relevant after the isolation and adjustments of the pandemic.
Having free range of both the concrete cavern and the intriguing empty shop of SHIFT Leona and Jon were able to embrace site-responsiveness and experiment with the spaces, dedicating themselves to filling Space with Sound, as well as working on a composition together. Three outcomes came about:
Making use of debris found in the abandoned concrete cavern sounds were made within the atmospheric space, responding to situation, size and varying acoustics. Jon and Leona devised a structured improvised performance based on found sound and call and response - Jon manipulation of Leona’s sounds and Leona responses to Jon’s performance producing an expanding sound world that inhabited the space fully at times, becoming very intimate at others.
The audience was able to move around at will, following Leona’s changes of location or remaining in one spot as they chose. Many of the audience chose to remain for the Q&A sessions afterwards, providing a stimulating foil to the performances themselves.
The title of the composition as well as the overall title of the residency, thrummm is a two-channel collaborative sound composition which was broadcast over the internet at points during the last week of the residency. Combining the similarities and differences of Jon and Leona’s approaches to making, the co-creation resulted in a 42’ audio world offering a chaos of possibilities, and allowed both to experience working in a very different way.
Making use of the shop space's Tannoy and Leona’s 8-channel system two immersive low-light experiences were opened to the public, offering an opportunity for meditative listening for those who stepped out of the shopping centre. Works complementing each other were chosen, with Leona installing a version of Sound of the Breeze Song of the Waves, and Jon his atmospheric CCTV. The acoustics of the space meant the sources of the sounds were difficult to place and the whole shop became a listening chamber which cocooned the visitor from the audio hurly-burly of the shopping centre outside.
extract from thrummm (6' 24" of 42')
listen through headphones or external speakers for best effect