An improvisation I did, on October 10th 2013, on St. Martha’s hill in Surrey with amazing sounding stones, which I found there on the side of the hill, where the ancient earth circles had been.
Aeolian improvisation next to the sea in Souther Sweden. Flute and violin played by the wind, but allowing for gestural playing by moving the instruments against and through the wind. No signal processing, this is a live, acoustic performance.Bennett Hogg and Sabine Vogel – aeolian improvisation
An inspiring event offering many insights into the evolving individual methodologies and collective collaborations of The Landscape Quartet. Much of their work parallels my own, there are, inevitably, many points of convergence and departure. In my reflections here I would like to share some insights I have gained over the years that may be relevant to the evolution of their own practice as interrogators and performers of the environment, I offer, with respect, a number of extended techniques, both thoughts and practice, derived from my own experience, which may be useful.
As conscious beings we have custodianship of the planet. Yet it is our material father and mother, it sustains and feeds us, waters us, provides us with energy, materials for tools and dwellings, digests our waste, and our pollution – up to a point. It exists harmonically in a myriad of states in complex dynamic rhythms, vibrations and motions operating on wide-ranging time scales and including living and non-living participants. It is ancient, it is the inheritance of hydrogen and vast cosmic forces. And its musicality can be observed, felt and heard in every moment of our existence in any and in every environment, and at every scale from cosmic to atomic… Read the rest of this entry »
When does environment become landscape, and vice versa, at what point do they interleave, and what are the useful distinctions to be drawn? Where is performance, and when does documentation become art? When does ‘working together’ as an ensemble start? — is it at the point where two people walk together in silence through local woods, deep in individual thought; or when they work together to construct an instrument for one of them to play; or when they stand, knee deep, in either a rushing river or summer corn, enticing violins or flute to respond sonically to the elements; or when they gather in an anonymous, well-worn university performance space (part studio, part concert hall) to talk, share, and present their work in progress? Memories and personal histories are so embedded in the places that matter, or come to matter, that making ensemble work from response to landscape surely involves addressing a human counterpoint of different sensibilities and contexts, and means working to address this landscape, too? Read the rest of this entry »
University of Surrey, 12th and 13th October 2013. Studio 1, PATS Building
We will be presenting new works from our various Swedish residency projects, as well as new duo collaborations, and with presentations on the work from our special guests, Katharine Norman and Max Eastley.
Saturday 12th October
10:00-12:30 – presentations and discussions on work in progress
14:00-17:00 – presentations and discussions on work in progress
19:30-21:00 – concert by LQ and guests
Sunday 13th October
10:00-12:30 – presentations and responses
14:00-16:00 – responses and general discussion
All attendees are encouraged to participate with questions and comments and critical reflections. All events are free. Please confirm attendance ideally by Oct 1 to Matthew Sansom: m.sansom[at]surrey.ac.uk
Next symposium will be at Newcastle University on 25th and 26th of January, 2014.
A personal reflection on the first half of the Landscape Quartet project by Matthew Sansom, given at the first symposium, Newcastle University (UK), July 4-5 2013.
This paper reflects on the initial stages of a research project, called the ‘Landscape Quartet’, exploring practical strategies for ecological sound art and their significance. It is research with experimental art practice at its core, determining both research process and research outcomes (Borgdorff in Biggs & Karlsson 2010: 57), seeking to critically engage with notions of the environment and our relationship with it. Broadly speaking, it joins a number of other areas of arts practice, academic endeavour, and philosophical enquiry to question the paradigm of post-Enlightenment thinking, and offer critique on Cartesian notions of the world, perception, understanding, consciousness, and so on.
I begin with an account of a performance of mine from the 2011 WFAE conference. The performance was an improvised hour-long multi-channel collage using field recordings made during three days of listening-led walks in Corfu town. Halfway into what was a hot and humid midday hour, storm winds began to rattle the open windows of the Old Fort’s Wheatstore – the venue for the performance. The wind and then rain began to weave their presence into the space; distant rumblings and thunder added their voices to an electric atmosphere. It was an exhilarating and arresting intervention that drew attention to my sense of separation between the containing architectural space of the venue and the weather-world outside by virtue of way these circumstances, as they unfolded, acted to remove that same sense of separation. Read the rest of this entry »
Reflections on/ during/ since the Landscape Quartet Symposium. Culture Lab, Newcastle University, 4-5th July 2013. Sally Jane Norman
The following text draws largely on our lively in situ discussions, recapitulating valuable points made by the other participants (the four Quartet members, and other critical friends Rachael Hales, Peter Nelson, James Wyness). It also allows me to clarify notions “brought to the table” individually, as exchanges roved productively across subjective engagements with creative practice and thinking, and cognate theoretical references.
Reflection on notions of place, physical wayfaring and wayfinding, sonic identities and kinship, both upstream and during the Symposium, brought to mind my homeland Aotearoa New Zealand, where a sense of letting the sea- or land-scape voice its songs aligns with the Polynesian belief of belonging to the environment, instead of believing that the environment belongs to us. We’re aware of having washed up as terrestrials in tribal canoes or sailing ships some time during the last millenium, if not during our 500 million year old prehistory when plants and animals began to migrate from the sea to rivers and land. Maori mythology recounts the battle of the sea god Tangaroa, who had to call his children to the ocean depths during a storm wrought by Tawhiri Matea, god of the winds and technology. Regularly since, Tangaroa hurls his waves against the land to try and destroy the realm of Tane, god of the forest, but once the storm has calmed, Tane’s earth children take to the waters to fish up and feast on the children of Tangaroa.
At the Landscape Quartet Symposium on 4/5 July at the University of Newcastle I was delighted to meet the four members, along with ‘critical friends’ Peter Nelson, Sally Jane Norman and Rachael Hales. Our discussions were intensive and wide-ranging, often delving into the complexity of new and original musical and arts practices and the relationship of these practices to disciplines such as ecology, anthropology, architecture and cultural theory. In my view this ‘open set’ approach is the most sensible – so much of the Landscape Quartet’s work leaks out at the sides and can’t be contained within an orthodox musical discourse. This is its strength.
This work of the Landscape Quartet undermines any notion of aesthetic closure. Unlike the closure that we find in, say, a conventional concert of music, where we listen, appreciate and go home feeling warm inside (perhaps), the kind of work generated by the Landscape Quartet leaves us chewing on all manner of fresh questions around music, ‘the environment’ and wider issues around human cultural activity. Perhaps the environment serves here as a substrate, offering a continuity from which creative forms emerge and recede, offering themselves up for investigation. Read the rest of this entry »
On December 11th, 12th and 13th 2012, Matt and I did some work along the river Wansbeck in Northumbria. We walked up the river to an ancient dried out well, where some time ago the lady chapel was build. There are just some mossy stones left of this chapel.
Walking along the river we noticed very different areas – sections- the vegetation changed, the sound of the river and of the birds, the atmospheres… The first day we just walked and tried to get a feeling for the place and the environment. We “tuned in”. Coming back the second day, I made on each section a short piece – each piece was around 1 minute long. With my recording device I am able to do multitrack recordings, so I recorded on each section between 2 and 4 layers.
last week I put them all together for an installation, that Matt was putting together for our first symposium.
A fairly detailed paper with audio and video examples dealing with some of my solo work that I did in developing the Landscape Quartet idea.
Hz is a yearly web journal edited by Sachiko Hyashi, associated with Fylkingen Arts Centre, Stockholm.