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AIR Simon Whetham - Week Three

Week three (31 May-1 June 2021)
Location: Marseille, France

 

I had decided that week three would be devoted to documenting the current live performance setup I presented at Ferme-Asile, Sion, CH and Data, Marseille, FR to illustrate more the approach of the project and to then show how it develops through the residency.

 

This process began and for most of the day I recorded the first couple of sections of the piece from different angles with video and sound. The piece begins with the belt mechanism (shown in the video below at 0:38) now activated by the sound of the Corsica ferry I recorded the previous week. Prior to this I was sending a 5 volt supply to the device as the sound is quite erratic anyway but the recording makes it more so.

When editing the video and recorded sound a little, I realised that some shots were out of focus or too dark, so would need to be reshot – part of the process allowed to me by the residency!

 

The following day was somewhat overcast which allowed me to visit Prado beach, an area I used to run to and know that the coastline is quite varied there, with sand beaches, rocks and jetties. My intention has been to record waves in some way, without attracting too much attention, and I found the perfect location.

 

The sound recorded is wave action, but altered by the water passing between rocks. I recorded both above and below the surface and you can hear a chronological mix of the two below.

Just as I was becoming a little despondent about finding abandoned products to adapt for this stage of the project, local artist Liam Witter sent a message asking if I could use a DVD player and subwoofer speaker he had no use for… I immediately said of course! So took a trip across town (after meeting calligraphy artist Lo Wen-Hsin to chat about a future collaboration) to collect the goodies. He also gave me a small speaker that was part of a surround sound system set – merci beaucoup Liam!

Products donated and found in Marseille, intact above and the useful parts below

 

And strangely, that evening when arriving back to my studio after buying some supplies, I stumbled across a discarded scanner/printer just around the corner!

 

I would prefer to use more of the materials from the products, but for this project I know that I will have to travel to the Netherlands with the resulting pieces and need to keep weight to a minimum. Fortunately, leaving any metal or plastic objects next to any refuse deposit site in Marseille means they are collected and sold or recycled in some way.

 

Documentation continued throughout the week when possible.

 

On Tuesday 1st June I met online with one of the artists Witte Rook have put me in contact with. Rogier Telderman is a pianist and artist who also runs the Dock Zuid space in Tilberg. The notes from the meeting are below in a PDF and I am hoping to visit the space to make some documentation of my project and also to present the results of the residency (at whatever stage it is at by then) there.

 

Unfortunately I missed a meeting with Mark Ijzerman on Thursday and I am hoping I can reschedule soon.

 

And on Saturday I had a full day of meetings, beginning by catching up with Lise Sore of the Witte Rook team in the morning, then around the middle of the day with Dewi de Vree, an artist whose work I have admired for many years, and then with Tanja Isbarn, who I will be collaborating with in the near future in her project Transtonations.

 

Dewi was very helpful in suggesting a number of organisations and artists working in somewhat similar ways in the Netherlands, and also managed to obtain the text “The Art of Reading Machines” by Dutch forefather of ArtScience school and general genius Dirk Raaijmakers, but in English! Shared by Matteo Marangoni, who I am also hoping to meet with soon. She will also help me organise a presentation in The Hague if I am unable to find another opportunity.

 

And with Tanja we chatted about the possibility of me going to present the project in Groningen (which I also learned how to pronounce). We also caught up on life and art as we actually met in Bristol, UK around 20 years ago!

 

Please find each of the meetings transcribed as notes below:


 
Auteur:
Gastauteur

Marseille, France

Simon Whetham is our Artist in Residency from May until July 2021. He will use his residency to further develop the activation of discarded mechanical devices using sound impulses to be presented as a live performance. The first stage of this project was carried out during the residency at Ferme-Asile, Switzerland.
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This period of research involves collecting sounds from Marseille and Breda and utilising them in the activation of objects found or donated in both locations. The first six weeks will be carried out remotely with me recording sounds in Marseille and testing their properties in the studio. I am meeting with the team of Witte Rook on a regular basis to discuss the progress of the project, but will also be connecting with artists and organisations in The Netherlands to discuss all aspects of the project and find further opportunities to present the results.
During the final three weeks I will be in residence at Witte Rook, physically meeting everyone I have connected with and presenting the results in Breda and hopefully other places.

 
AIR:
AIR Simon Whetham - Week One
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