Parts per Volume

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Parts per Volume is a set of five glass measuring cylinders containing the constituents of an Encyclopaedia Britannica volume: paper, card, ink, thread and gold leaf suspended in 250 ml water.

The measuring cylinders echo the shape of the Oboe (and its relatives):

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Knowledge in Depth – cabinet piece (work in progress)

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View of the Blyth Gallery cabinets halfway through the installation of Knowledge in Depth. I have soaked the Encyclopaedias in water to make the paper malleable and to enable me to strip the cover fabric from the cardboard to give the dark striations. Once I have got Knowledge in Depth to an almost complete state I will start a large drawing on the facing wall. The drawing will be a landscape study of Knowledge in Depth that incorporates text fragments that link the music, language and geological references. From one or more of these drawings I hope to develop a graphic score for Helen to play.

In September 2014 Helen wrote:

Indeterminate scores encourage the performer to freely choose (or make limited choices as to) which section succeeds which. So the fragments have their own integrity (like the core sample discs) but also relate to each other as a whole. At another level, indeterminacy may be applied to meso-forms such as musical ‘phrases’ or ‘paragraphs’ or micro-forms such as melodic intervals or rhythmic patterns. S/core plays with indeterminate sequences at all three levels and the looping provided by the live electronics distorts the unilinearity of past-present-future further, providing ‘cyclical’ effects. If we are to take S/core on a stage, I would like to try a ‘bottom-up’ approach to enrich the content. Perhaps some sort of sampling would be productive?

I’m hoping that Knowledge in Depth will give us a rich source of stimulus for a new phase of work.  Certainly, my first tentative sketches have got me excited.

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S/coring time

A musical score provides a record of the temporal order of events in a piece of music. In the Western European Tradition (‘Classical’ and Popular) these temporal sequences of sound events frequently include repetition which stimulates cognitive processes of retention and ‘sweet anticipation’ (Huron, 2008). In the 1960s the indeterminate experiments of John Cage, Earle Brown, Karlheinz Stockhausen and others questioned the supremacy of the score as the regulator of sequential order. Indeterminate scores encourage the performer to freely choose (or make limited choices as to) which section succeeds which. So the fragments have their own integrity (like the core sample discs) but also relate to each other as a whole. At another level, indeterminacy may be applied to meso-forms such as musical ‘phrases’ or ‘paragraphs’ or micro-forms such as melodic intervals or rhythmic patterns. S/core plays with indeterminate sequences at all three levels and the looping provided by the live electronics distorts the unilinearity of past-present-future further, providing ‘cyclical’ effects.

If we are to take S/core on a stage, I would like to try a ‘bottom-up’ approach to enrich the content. Perhaps some sort of sampling would be productive?

About the ‘linearity’ of time and its alternatives

I see the core sample as offering a number of formats. The first is the linear whole of the core sample.

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Then there is the slice through a part of the core which provides a disc format.

Then, within the slice there is disjointed text, images and possibly music notation (if a set of music encyclopaedias or a stack of sheet music was cored).

Below is a music box disc – a precursor to the juke-box

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It reminds me of X-ray crystallography images such as this:

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