As the title of this blog suggests, I have a big question on my mind. I have travelled from video to sound, to installation and back to video and now I’m again using video and sound. My work takes a documentary stance in that I don’t synthesize and invent sounds but rather, record from life and present my findings objectively alongside photography or video works.

I haven’t used synthesizing very much, although I have had a very recent adventure involving Pd (puredata) through an audio workshop. Pd is an open source program for sound design where users build map-like structures and create sound-producing objects, filters and controls. This was my first foray into utilising my computer to create sound with no reference to the field so to speak. I found this process quite strange and I struggled with what I felt was a lack of reference and context in what I was making over the two week workshop. I feel that my art practice needs a cultural or historical reference point gained from field recordings as I present sound the way I hear it within an environment or space.

I find that the issue of reference and specificity presents itself to me within live performance and installation environments. As an artist using field work as a significant component of my practice, I find the idea of a live performance quite an anxious one. One event that comes to mind was the exhibition Waveforms 09 at Heaven Gallery, Chicago. There was a range of work from artists including kinetic sculpture, video installations and a program of performances by artists. The sound performances were all of an abstract nature using synthesizing and constructed objects and instruments with one exception. The artist Bethany Childs collaborated with a poet by accompanying her spoken word with a composition of field recordings mirroring the dialogue. I found this work to be the most interesting and challenging, as I was presented with various sounds to work through and to assign a context and meaning related to the spoken word. I find that I am fascinated and drawn to the beauty within field recordings, and with the sound remaining as it is within the real world.

How are field recordings thought of within a gallery environment as stand alone works?

How would field recordings be received when many artist performances that I’ve experienced have been solely synthesized sound works? How can

How would the cultural or historical contexts of a piece be referred to and presented within a live performance?
Here are some links to Kim and her work:


Mix-Blog: A bit like a mix-tape but with blogs instead. Read more from the series here.