Issue #2


Traces of Water

Simon Whetham

































I have been considering ways to make visual works that hold traces of sound and vibration in a different way. During a residency with Yatoo International Project in rural South Korea in 2016 I had the chance to experiment with some ideas.

A number of works and experiences have led me to this approach. I feel I have been inspired by the ‘sound on paper’ works of Milan Grygar’s since being introduced to his work by Veronika Resslová in Prague, Czech Republic, in 2015. I saw the works as very gestural marks and the remaining traces of sonic activity. They also hold such a large amount of energy and movement.

In addition, this year I have been working on a project at Dawes Twineworks in West Coker, UK, a Victorian twine production site undergoing renovation (with OSR Projects). My focus has centred on the witness marks left by the effects of attrition caused by the twine constantly moving across various tools and parts of machinery. Recording twine moving through these grooves and furrows I have, in a way, recreated the action that created them and traced the path the twine (and the workers) would take along the length of the site.

Earlier this year, a development of my own project ‘Active Crossover: Mooste’ has been to compose and install a sound work in Mooste, Estonia, in collaboration with John Grzinich (with MoKS and Totaldobze). Our piece ‘Efflorescence’ is a response to a call to create works in a seed sorting and processing factory in the village, and uses recordings from various performative actions carried out by the group of artists involved in ‘Active Crossover’ through April and May 2015. The piece not only references the everyday use of the factory, combined with a re-contextualisation through artistic performance and gesture, but also creates new lines of movement in sound around the machinery of the factory.

These would be considered threads, according to Tim Ingold, a prolific and insightful anthropologist whose work John introduced me to last year. One book in particular struck me as relevant to my current thinking which is entitled ‘Lines: A Brief History’. In it Ingold investigates the anthropology of lines, of our reliance on and use of them. In brief and very simply put, he gives two categorisations of lines – threads (lines in space) and traces (lines on surfaces).

A sound could be considered a line in space (and time) that rarely, if ever leaves a mark, but often the action that caused the sound can leave a trace. I wish to create a further stage where the sound that results from one action leaves a physical trace.

www.simonwhethamwithyatoo.tumblr.com

Mark