Soundings: thought over time is a collaborative exhibition by Susan Ryland (visual artist) and Helen Thomas (oboist and composer) that explores how geological metaphors such as ‘deep meaning’ or ‘data mining’ provide insights into the accumulation of knowledge over time.
The centrepiece, Core Sample, is a literal coring of Encyclopædia Britannica. It marks the final year of the encyclopædia’s printed paper format, turning this once revered repository of knowledge into an artefact on an evolutionary timeline. The core sampling process releases the bound book from alphabetic ordering and allows new relationships to form between the material and its text, opening up opportunities to reflection upon where knowledge and power may reside.
Core Sample is juxtaposed by S/core, a filmed performance for deconstructed oboe and electronics, created and performed by Helen Thomas and Michael Beiert. S/core transposes the notion of geological layering onto the layering of sounds. Synthesised spoken words by Susan Ryland create a base layer of low-pitched, granular sounds that are successively built upon through the sounding of the oboe parts: the ‘squawked’ reed and the ‘clattered’ keys. The act of deconstruction and reconstruction reveals inherent but previously hidden sounds that evoke the nature of the materials from which the oboe is constructed and the air flow down the instrument. These sounds are looped, delayed, and filtered at random to confuse the order of past and present. Follow this link to see Janan Yakula’s film of the first performance of S/core: http://vimeo.com/55605078
Susan Ryland and Helen Thomas’s conference paper, initially presented at the Researching and Applying Metaphor international conference (RaAM9) Metaphor in Mind and Society, University of Lancaster, 4 to 7 July 2012, will be used as the basis for a continuing programme of seminars, talks and workshops.
Susan Ryland is an artist, researcher and arts educator, specializing in drawing, printmaking, video, sound works, site and event specific public art projects. She lectures on Creativity, Innovation and Invention at Imperial College London, and leads seminars and workshops on Creativity and Cognition at University for the Creative Arts.
Helen Thomas is an oboist, composer, lecturer and researcher whose interests lie in the temporality of music since 1900 from the perspective of metaphor theory. Helen is a Senior Teaching Associate at Lancaster University (Music) and Research Associate on the Ageing Creatively project at Newcastle University developing interventions to enhance health and wellbeing in later life.