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Explore the virtual environment Between Air, Clay and Woods of Certain Flutes

In this virtual version* of Between Air Clay and Woods of certain Flutes you can explore an island forest, find the flutes that grow there and experience the project's unique audio created by Carmen Troncoso in collaboration with the composers Sergio Cornejo, Felipe Cussen, Jean-Christophe Rosaz, Desmond Clarke, Guillermo Eisner and Lynette Quek.  

*THE SOFTWARE IS PROVIDED “AS IS”, WITHOUT WARRANTY OF ANY KIND, EXPRESS OR IMPLIED, INCLUDING BUT NOT LIMITED TO THE WARRANTIES OF MERCHANTABILITY, FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE AND NON-INFRINGEMENT. IN NO EVENT SHALL THE AUTHORS OR COPYRIGHT HOLDERS BE LIABLE FOR ANY CLAIM, DAMAGES OR OTHER LIABILITY, WHETHER IN AN ACTION OF CONTRACT, TORT OR OTHERWISE, ARISING FROM, OUT OF OR IN CONNECTION WITH THE SOFTWARE OR THE USE OR OTHER DEALINGS IN THE SOFTWARE.

Objects, like musical instruments, have the potential to unfold. This project looks for ways to express this in and through artistic practice. In my artistic projects, I have explored ways of dealing creatively with my instruments (recorders/flutes), perceiving them not as mere tools but rather as independent entities, actors   (actants), artefacts, even creatures: inhabitants of the world that, like us, transform themselves, carry stories and anecdotes. This broadened perception of the instruments’ history, agency and affordances triggered the necessity to reveal their expanded expressivity in both visual and sonic dimensions through the creative development of an installation.

Carmen Troncoso: Artistic director, recorder performer.  

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Through my practice I investigate human interaction and user experience, which I do by creating interactive environments using audio visual technologies.  I then explore how narratives are generated by visitors through their embodied interaction (physically or virtually moving through a space). When elements of the natural world are re-organised or displaced to create a sense of the uncanny, new relationships are required to make those experiences meaningful. Within my artworks, new narrative connections often emerge through forms of interactor play. I am particularly interested in how the information that is generated through physical or virtual activity crystalises into encounters whose meaning is shared amongst visitors. 

Richard Kearns – Environmental designer,  visual artist.   

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Between Air, Clay and Woods of Certain Flutes brings together disciplines from different areas and therefore involved collaborations between a number of professionals. The project was awarded an Ibermusicas Grant 2021 for the creation of a virtual version, drawing on the material and experience from the immersive audiovisual, (Covid-safe) interactive installation assembled in the Norman Rea Gallery, University of York, in February 2021. 

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Installing at the Norman Rea Gallery, January 2021, second day. Richard Kearns (right) and Carlos Zamora (left).  

The installation-format allows us to explore unknown territories, form links between imagination and reality, embody ideas and generate immersive experiences to shape a new ecology of material bodies intertwined with their unique forms of interaction and response.  

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Of course, the content and the space needed to adapt to these uncertain and vulnerable pandemic times. The initial explorative assemblage took place in a house garage, during lockdown 2021. Circumstances of life made it coincide that the families of Richard and Carmen shared the same house during the lockdown months. This was the starting engine for a long-term collaboration, at a time when the domestic imposed routine and isolation. A fortunate encounter of friendship and creativity in adverse times.

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Initial workshops in the garage.  

Parallel to those spatial explorations, environmental sound was being created in the form of electroacoustic pieces connecting flute, nature and electronic. Also, new works for a Mayan triple flute were (and are still being) composed collaboratively.  

Carmen: The fact of being a Chilean performing an instrument that belongs to European culture – although rooted in daily practice and personal artistic expression over many years – has always triggered in me a need to connect my being from South America with my adopted European musical tradition. In the music I play, improvise and co-create, I usually evoke with my recorders sonorities of South American wind instruments, such as tarka, zampoña or panflute, quena, ocarina and caramillo. 

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Recorder Forest: Richard Kearns. 

The electroacoustic works for the installation do not consider an element embedded in the recorder: that of tradition, musical tradition. The recorder sounds recorded do not carry sound aesthetics or specific styles, “they do not belong”. They act as perennial sounds, like certain tree foliage. 

 

 

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European and pre Columbian flutes: layers of cultural identity. 

We assembled the first version of the installation at the end of January in the Norman Rea Gallery  replicating the layout that we had in the garage. Following the experience in the garage, we continued perceiving the installation as a narrow, sort of cornered intervention, which produced the effect of an “object”.

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Shape of the installation, in the form of an “object” in the middle of the gallery. 

However, that was not the effect we wanted to create. We decided then to open it, to broaden it, using all the space, to allow a more immersive experience. More layers of Japanese paper, veil and sheer were hung, after a thorough exploration of the most effective places to add it, allowing reflection and blending, with aisles to walk through, interacting with the materials and projections. As defined by a visitor: a dream-like experience and space. 

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Second shape of the installation, occupying the whole space.  

Communication with the collaborators took place on zoom meetings, not only due to the pandemic but also to the international team. 

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Zoom meeting January 2021

Forest footage from Chile, Guatemala and England was utilised, as well as documentation from workshops with recorder makers, who through their tools, from a violent-but-beautiful intervention of matter, merge nature and craft, giving life to these flutes; beings of air and sound. 

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Hag Wood, east of Dunnington, York, England. 

Only a few visitors were able to attend the exhibition in the gallery. Nevertheless, those who went stayed for more than an hour, captured by a sort of mesmerizing effect triggered by the combination of entwined elements (described in detail in the installation booklet).  

Blog Gallery: https://www.normanrea.com/blog/2j4e4imljqch61ffkvjftpxrgioh08

Willing to share this experience to a broader audience, keeping it immersive and interactive, it occurred to us to create a virtual version, showcasing and playing with the same content but in a covid-19 safe environment, the digital space. 

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Recorder making at Philippe Bolton’s workshop, in Villes sur Auzon, France.  

New soundtrack continues to be created to be part of the virtual experience: sound gestures, excerpts from longer musical works, all exploring the agency and affordances of a collection of instruments and a performer.  

 

 

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Forest game Between Air, Clay and Woods of Certain Flutes, developed by Richard Kearns, 2021. 

Our circumstances have changed along the way. Today we do not share the same house, we do not meet in the gallery for hours and hours of communal artistic creation, and the garage seems to be quite a past stage. However, we continue sharing the joy of inventing realities that broaden our perception of the materials that surround us and exploring, through practice, their subjective properties, their subtle or micro valences, their affective dimension.

Partners

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This virtual version of the installation Between Air, Clay and Woods of Certain Flutes was financed by Ibermúsicas, a cooperation program exclusively dedicated to the Ibero-American music sector.