Resonant Spaces

Resonant Spaces is an ongoing multimedia performance project and installation realised together with choreographer and dancer Ulrika Wedin. The project started in 2014, first presented at Bollnäs Kulturhuset, and continued in 2019 at Skövde Konstmuseum. A description of the project can be found below.

 

  • spaces, physical spaces seem to resonate with me. resonant and resonating spaces. much of what i have done before seems to be about creating spaces. spaces separate from the rest of the world. spaces for reflection or wonder or excitement of a sense of beauty. ritual spaces perhaps. spaces made by the concert event, the darkened room and the presence of a listening group of people. but also the spaces created by sound itself. moving spaces. expanding, contracting, resolving and dissolving. impermanent spaces. spaces in the imagination where stories can develop or pictures emerge.
  • this particular resonant space grew from my fascination with ancient burial chambers, neolithic cave dwellings, temples and ritual spaces. many of these places display fascinating acoustic qualities such as pronounced resonant frequencies, standing waves and helmholtz resonances. these qualities cannot have gone unnoticed by the builders or users of these spaces, and in fact some may have been designed specifically with these phenomena in mind. a darkened, enclosed and acoustically different ritual space would have provided visual, spacial and acoustic enhancement to any activity taking place within, particularly with the addition, of fire, smoke, chanting, drumming, and/or psychoactive plants and preparations, and there is strong evidence to suggest that ancient peoples utilised these places in just such a way. i wanted to create, together with dancer and choreographer Ulrika Wedin, a temporary ritual space using light, immersive sound, smoke, projections and movement in order to both explore and recreate the possible experiences of people thousands of years ago, but also to explore our own feelings and interpretations of similar experiences in a modern setting.
  • the sound material in this work is sourced from sounds our ancestors would have heard thousands of years ago: wind, rain, waves, thunder, and most importantly the human voice, processed and abstracted from it’s sources in order to reflect altered mental states and imaginary worlds. I wanted to explore themes and ideas found in shamanic traditions around the world, where journeys and travelling beyond everyday consciousness seem to be a common element. sound material comes additionally from the physical material of the space itself, namely the metal containers spread around the room.
  • for a few years i had been collecting stainless steel kitchen bowls of various sizes. kind of an obsession really. they had to be of stainless steel, of a plain, simple shape and sound good. if i saw one in the second hand shop i i often felt compelled to buy it, but only if it sounded good. i would tap, flick and strike the bowls to hear them ring. they seemed to be bells and gongs, musical instruments from the everyday world, just there for the taking. so with a hoard of 40 or so plain, unremarkable stainless steel bowls a world of sound formed. a compulsive behaviour started the ball rolling. this compulsive, obsessive collecting of sounding objects connected immediately with ideas Ulrika had been exploring too. everyday rituals such as handwashing in particular. finding the ritualistic and meaningful in the the patterns and objects of the everyday world. shared movement and shared activities. everyone washes their hands. everyone takes part in the ritual, everyone cooks and cleans to some extent. bowls and containers, water, washing and repetition becoming meaningful in themselves. the space incorporates these themes both in the sound constructions and the video projection.

Jamie Fawcus 2019

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