Things I have heard with my ears
Nigel Kneale

Nigel Kneale

Thinking about stone, about the smooth and the rough, about the digital and the analogue and cutting things up has sent me down a Nigel Kneale route. Here’s a link to The Stone Tape (1972) – everyone raves but it’s just too overwrought for me, and I like a bit of Bronte, as you know.

Here’s a link to a BBC Timeshift on Kneale – worth it for the home-made alien hands alone. And I would have loved to have seen the lost play The Road.

And last but of course not ever least is personal fav. Leonard Rossiter in The Year of the Sex Olympics (1968). I once painted the back of a leather jacket with a portrait of Rossiter. Off to look it out…

My Life in the Bush of Ghosts – Byrne/Eno

My Life in the Bush of Ghosts – Byrne/Eno

This is what I’m listening to as I work today, after Cary Wolfe‘s essay on analog/digital has got me all spectral, listening for crackle, needing some jerky texture…

Listen to it here.

Tacita Dean @ the Fruitmarket

Tacita Dean @ the Fruitmarket

Great to see/hear Foley Artist at Dean’s show The Woman with the Red Hat when in Edinburgh the other week. But a poorly designed itinerary, meant that I didn’t get to see Event for a Stage, so I’m not really able to comment of the show as a whole. Super sharp install of course, as ever (!)

More on The Fruitmarket website here.

The Tate website says, about Foley Artist:

Foley Artist 1996 is a sound installation originally made for the artist’s exhibition in Tate’s Art Nowprogramme hosted by Tate Britain (in 1996, the Tate Gallery). Tacita Dean is fascinated by the technology and mechanics of film and this installation examines the way that sound is constructed for use in cinema. The title is a reference to the artistry of men and women who make such sounds as doors closing, cinema kisses and footsteps for cinematic post-production, known in the film industry as foley artists. The work comprises an eight-track cinema soundtrack that forms a narrative drama. Each track is relayed by one of eight speakers placed in different places and at different heights around the gallery space. A sense of movement around the room – footsteps or a car driving by in the rain – is created by appearing to pass the sounds from one speaker to another. Dean derived and amalgamated her sounds from a range of sources: wild recordings, specialist sound CDs, swaps with artistic colleagues and foley sounds.

These elements of pure sound are counterbalanced by three objects, each of which contextualises sound as used in cinema. The most prominent, on an end wall, is a backlit box – an inversion of the customarily front-projected cinema screen – illuminating a dubbing chart. Like staves of an orchestral score, each of the eight tracks are notated separately in rows, one above the next. The fictional cinematic storyboard runs along the top. The drama of the work can be followed, literally, by reading the dubbing chart and listening to the sounds as they unfold. At the other end of the gallery, high on the wall, a video monitor shows the foley artists – Beryl Mortimer and Stan Fiferman – at work in a sound studio at Shepperton Studios, Surrey. The artist intentionally prevents the foleys, working in real time on video, being viewed at the same time as the dubbing chart, a synthesis of sound production separated visually into its multi-track artificiality, by specifying that the video monitor and the light box should be mounted on opposite walls. Against a third wall stands a large, 16mm magnetic tape machine. It demonstratively asserts the mechanism through which analogue sounds, before the advent of digital technology, were stored and activated. The time element of the soundtrack unfolding is encapsulated by the tape spooling through the machine. Dean adds a further temporal element to Foley Artist by having her cinematic story framed by a performance of Shakespeare’s King Henry IV Part Two – its opening and closing lines come at the beginning and end of the five minute drama that is represented by sounds as diverse as a wet walk to the pub and a chase on a beach. To the real time of the foleys at work and the disjunctive cinematic time of the dubbing chart can thus be added the dramatic time of this imagined performance of a play.

The notion of time – historical and present – is central to Dean’s work in film and in other media. She has acknowledged a fascination with and an attraction to old, even obsolete technology and things that are about to disappear. At the time she made Foley Artist, the foleys’ craft appeared to be under threat of extinction as a result of new digital technology which, in the end, proved unable to provide the depth of sound required, so that now foley sounds are regaining something of their former significance in cinematic production (Tacita Dean 2001, p.86). To evoke the nostalgia of traditional ‘real cinema’, she deliberately selected older foley artists to feature in the video part of Foley Artist, and it is also referred to by the sondor magnetic tape playback machine, which is a type used to dub analogue sound. As a continuation of her analysis of the physical characteristics of sound, Dean presented sections of the 16mm tape that feeds through the playback machine as measurements of such sounds as individual birdsong in her Magnetic series (1996–8), the length of each section corresponding to the length of time it takes to play a raven’s cry or a seagull’s call. In the same year that she made Foley Artist Dean traveled to De Voorst in the Netherlands to film the last waves being operated by a wave machine, footage of which became her film Delft Hydraulics 1996 (Tacita Dean2006, p.122). Her more recent film Kodak 2006 (T12407), shot in the last Kodak factory to make analogue film in Europe, similarly documents the final actions of nearly obsolete machinery. Other works focusing on sound include Trying to Find the Spiral Jetty 1997, a part fiction, part real recording of a journey to find Robert Smithson’s Spiral Jetty in Utah, USA, and Friday/Saturday – twenty-four hours of ambient sound recorded at eight places around the globe recorded from midday Friday to midday Saturday as the millennium changed from 1999 to 2000 that are usually presented as CDs in a jukebox.

Langham Research Centre – Muffled Cyphers (2014)

Thanks to CM’s continuing Support and Development Programme Dedicated to My Ears & to a Lesser Extent My Eyes (CM’s SDPDMYLEME, in its second year and still without CS core funding like so many of our essential institutions making an impact on the ground), I’m watching, then listening to, then watching Langham Research Centre‘s Muffled Cyphers over and over.

Join me, won’t you?


Margaret Salmon, Mm & Sacred Paws @ The Tramway

Live score for Margaret’s Salmon’s Mm by Sacred Paws was exciting! Mm showing Berwick Speedway lads transforming from ordinary to adonis-y over a day, reduced to 30 minutes here. Sacred Paws caused dancing and warm feelings of admiration, made even cosier by the presence of favs. L and L.

Sue Tompkins – Country Grammar

… while over the road it was like stepping back to 2004, to experience Sue’s incredible delivery of heart-jerking banalities. In a good way I mean. And Luke Fowler made a film of it.

Oresteia: This Restless House @ the Citz

Now this is more like it. Four and a half hours of angst and bloody violence. Some of row B didn’t know where to look. Utterly jaw dropping, kinda unbelievable was the energy of this thing. Actors must be off their trollies at times, it seems impossible to climb down from this level of commitment and get your bus hame. Thank you to CS for a brutal birthday present! More on the production here.


Here are various Momus links, mostly sleeping…


Click Opera

Early LPs to listen to and sigh are here.

Twilight City, 1989

Made for Channel 4, Black Audio Film Collective’s Twilight City is the absolute, no question, stand-out work at the CCA’s The Sky is Falling show. Get along, get comfy and watch it all…

Trailers for three other Black Audio Film Collective works here.

Berlin Report

Ably assisted by the students of University of Cumbria Institute of the Arts, I saw some things in Berlin. A man walking a pig, for instance.

I also saw a lot of art ‘n’ that. One post only, as you’ll be familiar with the itinerary…

Along with the big work by big lads, the Hamburger Bahnhof had a magnificent Adrian Piper show on, The Probable Trust Registry: The Rules of the Game #1-3, (numbers one and two, nosey) and the usual strip of belters (including Thomas Schütte, Pipilotti Rist and Isa Genzken/Wolfgang Tillmans).

The Bauhaus Archiv remains intact, this week showing loads of images of lassies in shorts, lassies on stairs, lassies doing gymnastics (the odd male Bauhaus student was photographed too, mostly in their suits strangely: ah, they were different times) and there is a show by Jasper Morrison too. He gives good fork.

Buchholtz Galerie was looking wealthy, I don’t think we need to worry about them, but my favourite bits of the current show, full of favourites (inc. Trisha Donnelly and Mark Leckey), were actually the photos by Hervé Guibert. A bit of the PR blurb: The writer and photographer Hervé Guibert travelled to Japan in 1984 for the newspaper Le Monde to visit Akira Kurosawa on the set of his film Ran. Despite the title of these photographs – “Tournage Ran II & III” – these two are the only known prints that Guibert made from this visit. They show extras on the film set in soldier costumes as they doze or rehearse poses in a wooden fortress.

Loads going on at KW Institute of Contemporary Art. Hanne Lippard’s audio piece Flesh was the stand out for me.

At C/O was Watched! Surveillance, Art & Photography which was a little like a mini Electronic Superhighway, including the ubiquitous Hito Steyerl (I just can’t get enough, it’s fine) and a brilliant but too wee installation by Meriç Algün Ringborg, Doppelgänger, from Which No One Will Ever See, 2012.

Cindy Sherman was at SPRÜTH MAGERS. If you like this sort of thing? asks SM, and I do.

The Jewish Museum had on Cherchez la Femme, which included lots of wig info – you know I love that. And that space, the one that gives your body a tiny inkling. More on the building here.