Diego Stocco is an experimental musician/artist who has developed a both playful and explorative practice in making his work. Though on his page it states that he is a ‘sound designer/composer’ I feel he, like others, Eno for instance, is leading the way for new musical and audio experiments.
Stocco seems to have boy-like fansination with objects wanting to play with them using his imagination (could be called innovation), much as a child turns its enviroment into whatever fantasy world they desire, Stocco turns his enviroment into and instrument for which he can compose anything from. It reminds me of past audio work of mine where I attempted to turn the soundscape (as I like to call them) of my high street flat into a coherent piece of music, trying to bring order and beauty to otherwise overlooked sounds within our lives.
Susan Hiller is an American born artist, her practice practice encompassing installation, photography, video and performance. For her work Witness she has gathered first-hand reports of encounters with UFOs or aliens posted on internet sites world-wide. Hiller sees this activity as related to older forms of confession, ways of placing fears into the public arena. Gathering this information becomes an exploration of a kind of contemporary folklore, one in which alien contact is offered as explanation for the inexplicable. The work is like a cave of thin silvery stalactites that turn out to be wires with miniature speakers attached, where one can listen to the testimonies of encounters with UFOs.
“Listening to these people whispering in your ears is like being a priest in a confessional. The whole piece is built upon the shape of the cross and the circle. There are four pathways where you can enter the inner circle of the installation… The religious symbolism of the cross in the circle is crucial because the stories are examples of contemporary visionary experience. Only today people see UFOs where once they saw angels.” – Hiller
Rebbeca Horn is a German installation artist wroking since the 1970’s. She has covered many themes in her work, varying from social issues to do with immigration and refugees as well as work that deals with war atrocities. One element of her work that is a constant is her visual style, the symbolic use of stringed instruments as a reference to humanity and our form, and the dexterity of our creations, however destructive.
Tower of The Nameless
In Tower of The Nameless she sets a monument to the refugees from Balkan states in the form of a tower with mechanically playing violins. The hight and motion of the tower representing the huge plight of these refugees, the violins an expression of their bodies.
Concert for Anarchy
In her work Concert for Anarchy a grand piano is suspended upside down from the ceiling by heavy wires attached to its legs. It hangs solidly yet precariously in mid-air, out of reach of a performer, high above the gallery floor. A mechanism within the piano is timed to go off every two to three minutes, thrusting the keys out of the keyboard in a cacophonous shudder. The keys, ordinarily the point of tactile contact with the instrument, fan disarmingly out into space. At the same time, the piano’s lid falls open to reveal the instrument’s harp-like interior, the strings reverberating at random. This unexpected, violent act is followed between one and two minutes later by a retraction as the lid closes and the keys slide back into place, tunelessly creaking as they go.
Cornford is an English artist/composer/musician. Cornford’s work explores platforms such as sculpture, instillation, composure, performance, and ‘the extended technique of free improvisation’ all of which he dedicates to the examination of our relationship to space. Cornford uses his intricate homemade mechanisms, which are often adaptations of recognisable instruments like guitars, drums, and turntables, to have an acoustic relationship with both the space they inhabit and the spectators experiencing them.
“My installations employ space as a physical and acoustic substance in order to provoke the audience into a durational and subjective encounter with the work. My performances employ unpredictable processes and systems to ensure that my position in relation to the sounds is primarily as a listener.” – Stephen Cornford
One example of Cornford’s work and general visual style is Air Guitar. Made from a revolving electric guitar and amplifier the work combines a unique physical presence as well as creating a ‘droning Aeolian loop.’ The works sound comes from the motion of the guitar and amplifier, which have both been attached to a slowly spinning wheelchair motor, the movement created reminiscent of some great machine as its cogs turn giving life to that machine. Because of the movement the droning sound produced by the guitar is subject to the Doppler effect, Cornford employing scientific knowledge to accomplish a constant variation in the ambient sounds, his Leslie speaker supplementing the works incredible character.
Marclay is probably acknowledged as the most famous artist/composer to use turntables and records as a focal point in his work. Both visually and musically. Since the 1980’s Marklay has pushed the boundaries of what can be listened to and perceived as music, or at least can be listened to and enjoyed. He approaches both the turntable and the vinyl as objects of creation, not just reproduction, molding them into fantastical articles of function.
Marclay is not only known for his inspiring work with turntables. He has worked with a range of musical and visual devices like the above Guitar Drag. Marclay has always had a ‘punk’ attitude to sound creation attributed to his practice that this work captures. In this video he ties an electric guitar to the back of his pick-up and hauls the instrument on a trail of destruction and creation. The destruction of the guitar a homage to the rock legends, The Who, Nirvana, Hendrix. The creation of a new challenging sound emerging from the slow fracturing of the guitar.
Video has also been a equally major attribute of Marclays work. In his piece Video Quartet Marclay astonishingly manages to to combine the musical elements from a selection of video recordings of live music. Played on a projection divided into four screens, he manages to to mix the music, in much the same way as DJ’s do today, over the screens. The affect is a magical display of Marclays innovative talent, the work like experiencing four concerts at once, perfectly timed, perfectly harmonious.
Bernhard Gal is an Austrian artist/composer who has tested on the relationship between sound and space in many of his works. Exhibiting since 1998, Gal’s portfolio consists of a range of musical compositions for instruments, soundscapes, sound and light installations, performance, and inter-media art as well as electro-acoustic compositions. For the series of works Defragmentation’s, 2000, Gal collaborates with Japanese architect/artist Yumi Kori to create light and sound installations that explore the properties and possibilities of spaces both within and out with the traditional gallery format. Together they achieve stunning articulation of ideas using coloured light and sound textures to distort the audiences’ experience of the spaces they inhabit, and aim for “a more holistic perception of the space,” one that is not based on a predetermined conception on the characteristics of that location.
Shelly Lee: Body Of Water
This piece speaks to me about the human relationship to water, how we are so dependant on it yet so very cautious of it. It emphasizes how close we are to water, how it can be molded and formed just as we are over time. The artist see the work as a symbol of the comparrison of females and water, saying “females and water can be soft and fluid as well as destructive. When I was a young child, I almost drowned and had to be resuscitated. This form shows the damaging yet beautiful effect of water.”