Traces and What’s Left: Constructing a Communicative Form as an Artist Practice
Our investigation into this topic will focus on how we as artists create and construct communicative contexts within practice of ‘erasing’. Particularly, we will focus on what ‘erasing’ does to our experience of a piece of art. What happens when there is absence and only a suggestion? What is the familiar/unfamiliar relationship and what effect does working with this concept engender? What are the listeners’/audiences’ roles within this type of work?
We will explore ‘erasing’ as a methodology within sound and digital art practice, look at the structures surrounding this methodology and identify key practitioners who use, apply and develop this working method. We will identify the value of working in this way (practically and conceptually) to the development of artistic practice and ask: When does erasing become narrative?
This could be seen as a light-hearted and playful investigation, but also holds the potential for a deeper application towards our understanding of human conditions.
Q2. What is the familiar/unfamiliar relationship, how is this presented within art practice and what effect does working with this concept engender?
This work takes the form of recorded speech and observed human interactions where the original narrative becomes questioned and a new, quasi-fictional narrative ‘constructed’ by the artist through digital sound post-production, the creation of artworks and the display of art installation pieces. The original is always referenced, however the viewer is experiencing a new form of this narrative, with the work suddenly moving from reality and entering the realm of fiction.
Theoretical research surrounding my practice will identify artists who are working with this research theme, what the impact of this work is and how the artwork is perceived and activated.
The concept of ‘erasing’ as a working methodology within sound and digital art practice can take the form of a digital media recording where much of the content is deleted, leaving digital fragments left over. These traces are then used to create and compose communication and/or narratives.
By looking at the structures surrounding this methodology and identifying key practitioners who use, apply and develop this working method, I will identify the value of working in this way (practically and conceptually) to the development of artistic practice and ask; When does erasing become narrative?
We will develop a series of art works that allow space for audience and listeners to ‘insert’ themselves into the ‘gaps’ we have left, enabling them to apply art works to their own personal experiences which will enable them to have a richer experience of art. Our choice of sound as our main art medium comes from our interest in the lack of visual material that can surround sound and we see this as assisting a listener to form their own imagery as they listen – essentially they ‘become’ the art work by forming accompanying imagery themselves that is intrinsically linked to their own identity.
Not Everything That Can Be Thought Can Be Said (2017) – Kim Walker
Stereo sound installation with two stools and printed text. Exhibited for The Space Between, Patriothall Gallery, Edinburgh (2017)
Inspired by the art critic Susan Sontag’s essay Aesthetics of Silence, this piece explores the idea of how silence has been explored through sound art. A series of spoken quotes taken from Sontag’s seminal essay that discuss silence have been recorded, with all word content then erased. The beginnings of words, the exhalations and intakes of breath are left with the viewer left to question to role of the speaker, what has or has not been said and their own physical presence within the gallery. What is left is the ‘presence’ of a body and the words that were not spoken with the focus on what is missing.
Image caption: Not Everything That Can Be Thought Can Be Said (2017), Installation View for The Space Between (2017) at Patriothall Gallery, Edinburgh, UK.
Not Everything That Can Be Thought Can Be Said (2018) – Kim Walker
Live performance for three performers with three text scores. Commissioned for the sonADA Festival: Sound of Others (2018), Aberdeen, Scotland, UK.
Three performers recite three scores, the texts taken from the writers Susan Sontag, Luc Tesson and Salome Voeglin, each reflecting on silence within art, life and sound. Each performer focuses on only communicating the beginning of each word, enabling meaning to become fluid and move between truth and fiction. What is left is the ‘presence’ of a body and the words that were not spoken with the focus, with listeners able to activate the work as they guess words and create their own meanings around what is not being spoken.
Image Caption: Not Everything That Can Be Thought Can Be Said (2018) – Live performance for three performers with three text scores. Commissioned for the sonADA Festival: Sound of Others (2018), Aberdeen, Scotland, UK.