Under the increasing pressures of lockdown, of unease, of uncertainty and worry, of searching for an escape, of finding a change, of being the change, and of perhaps sensing a release, we are wandering. Becoming Imperceptible is in memory of David Connolly (1983-2020), inspired by Deleuzian ‘lines of flight’ and Louis Borges The Garden of Forking Paths (1941). A radiophonic escape, a freedom explored through the process of artistic practice. Fluid yet fragmented, vanishing, searching for a liberation from the compulsory, there is no goal or starting point. We are in the middle, experimenting, combining, dismantling, becoming imperceptible.
Strings: Sylvia Roberts, Randal Devine, Aine O’Neill, Claire Fitch.
Claire Fitch is a sound artist, an electroacoustic composer, a creator of electronic literature and transmedia, cellist and lecturer. Her artistic practice is motivated by the investigation of the convergence of digital technology, audio, visuals, and text. Producing original works inspired by and responding to womens voices is a particular focus.
This Ends Now by Diarmuid MacDiarmada
Diarmuid MacDiarmada (aka Prints) Where are we now? Nothing sums up the state of music these days for me more than the ‘playlist’ … people listening to the work of people without even knowing who the artist might be. Worse again is the idea of playlists made of tunes that are purposefully made to fit into a particular type of playlist. We are witnessing the triumph of consumerism with a bespoke ‘muzak’ soundtrack. I attempted a ‘gallows-humour’ response by gathering some extremely impersonal materials together and trying to make my own ‘playlist’ music. As it happens it was way too much fun and too stimulating to actually succeed but that was the motivation. ‘This Ends Now’ is an invitation to celebrate the small flowerings of human imagination that can still happen in the grey wilderness.
As a pro-wrestler, fine-artist, life-coach, poet, gravy-chef and composer – Diarmuid has been many things to many people. Both as a solo-artist and in a multitude of groups and collectives, he toiled at the rock’n’roll coalface for thirty odd years. And they were very odd.
A work about rage, designed to be heard. Found texts covering topics such as COVID-19, Black Lives Matter, online protest, and themes of renewal, uncertainty, and change are reworked into hexameter and put into sound and video — spoken word, stitched together.
I’m honoured to have been able to contribute a chapter.
It’s available in Hardback and as an e-book.
This collection of essays explores digital art in Ireland. Comprising contributions from scholars and practitioners, it examines how new media technologies are shaping the island’s contemporary artistic practices. As one of the first dedicated treatments of Irish digital art, it fills a major gap in the national media archaeology of Ireland.
Populated Solitude is part of a walking tour of visual art works situated around the town which are curated by Brian Hegarty and, as Brendan Behan writes in Hold You Hour and Have Another “If you don’t get up and get down town you’d hear nothing” (Behan 1963, 18)
Creative ideas for the project stem from the idea of connections throughout the COVID19 Pandemic. From the initial contact by Brian Hegarty, inviting me to create a work for Culture Night 2020; in reading a post by Sean Collins in the Facebook Group Drogheda Down Memory Lane, alerting us to the announcement that the Westcourt Hotel was to close. Sean provided an incredible timeline of the history of the Westcourt Hotel, including Paul Murphy’s words about the hotel in 1963; in contacting Paul Murphy to ask him to talk about his memories of meeting Brendan Behan in The White Horse Hotel.
Following the initial inspirations I started to ‘pick-up’ audio recordings, such as the recording with Paul Murphy; photographs, such as the old photograph in Sean Collins’ thread about the Westcourt; and text, from both Paul Murphy’s original story from the Drogheda Independent in 1963, and Brendan Behan. I searched for works published by Brendan Behan in 1963, eventually buying some of Behans books from ebay and discovering the lines: “If you don’t get up and get down town you’d hear nothing, nor find out what they’re saying about you. And God send, they’re saying something. Good or bad, it’s better to be criticized than ignored” in Hold Your Hour and Have Another (Behan 1963, 18)
The creation of the collection of sound, vision and text has resulted in a performance using content with an online presence and a physical presence.
The QR codes, which can be read by simply pointing the camera of a mobile phone at them, reveal a wordpress blog which introduces the creative ideas and inspirations surrounding the project; an interview with Paul Murphy, former editor the Drogheda Independent who in 1963 met Brendan Behan in the White Horse Hotel; and the work On A Summer Morning In 1963, an audio visual work created using the text, visuals and sounds picked up during the project.
The aim for the project Populated Solitude is to continue to pick up more audio, visuals and texts relating to Drogheda town centre, in order to highlight the histories and connections and to present them in the online settings of WordPress, YouTube and Twitter.
The entire exhibition can be viewed as part of a walking tour in Drogheda until October 3rd.
Scribbledehobble is the opening word in one of James Joyce’s most important notebooks for Finnegans Wake. One of the key books underlining Finnegans Wake is Sheridan LeFanu’s The House By The Churchyard.
Whatever her grief was she could not bring herself to tell it.
Toole also caught her thinking of something else in the midst of his best bits of local scandal.
Mrs. Macnamara had received a note, at which she grew pale as the large pat of butter before her.
Come, now, Mullikins.
Show us the note.
Concerning A Certain Woman In Black
From the Freeman’s Journal.
“Mary Matchwell’s most humble respects attend the Nobility and Gentry. She has the Honor to acquaint them that she transacts all Business relative to Courtship and Marriage, with the utmost Dispatch and Punctuality. She has, at considerable Expense, procured a complete List of all the unmarried Persons of both Sexes in this Kingdom, with an exact Account of their Characters, Fortunes, Ages, and Persons. Any Lady or Gentleman, by sending a Description of the Husband of Wife they would choose, shall be informed where such a One is to be had, and put a Method for obtaining him, or her, in the speediest Manner, and at the smallest Expense. Mrs. Matchwell’s Charges being always proportioned to the Fortunes of the Parties, and not to be paid till the Marriage take Place”
There’s around 15,000 lines of hexameter verse. Using repetition, branching, drifting and no two performances or hearings will ever be the same.
The use of sound and rhythm is something we improvisors thrive on.
I set myself a task to write some text.
Starting with six titles: Travel Advisory, Pandemic Corona, Coronavirus Update, Symptoms 2020, Keep Your Family Safe, and Coronavirus Advice.
These became six internet searches, using the browser, Brave.
Then, using the found text from each search, I was able to write three verses for each of the six titles.
See the world at a glance on our colour-coded map
Note that conditions can change rapidly
To receive updated travel advisories and alerts
The advisory is an extension of the Jan 23
Check the full advisory for further details
Is COVID-19 spreading where you're going
Avoid nonessential travel
Frequently asked questions and answers
Resources for Airlines
Guidance for Airlines and Airline Crew
Resources for Ships
Compare low prices
Book popular tours
Current international Travel Warnings
Foreign governments implement strict restrictions
Fewer international transportation options are available
Real-time counter, world map
Travel related restrictions, infection
Novel strain virus, symptomatic
Severe respiratory disease, far and wide
Spreading Flu-like, nationwide
CDC: Public Health Response
Spread of pandemic Covid-19
The Connecticut Department of Public Health
Transitioning to a new process
Daily collection of data
Hospitalisations and fatalities
Live now EarthCam Live
Times Square in 4K
EarthCam 314 watching
For dedicated cyclists
Continuing to ride every day is a welcome respite
Advocates hope the surge will last
Get the latest information
Confirmed cases, infection history
People confirmed infected
People confirmed dead
Everything you need to know
Coronavirus outbreak has sickened half a million
Killed more than 1000
Death toll reaches 1,868
Click on each country for detailed statistics
World tries to slow its spread
United Kingdom: 201,101
Coronavirus counter with new cases, deaths
And numbers of tests per 1 Million population
Historical data and info
Daily charts, graphs, news and updates
Here are the signs, from mild to severe
Underlying medical conditions
Developing more serious conditions
Novel coronavirus, Covid-19
Heart, lung or diabetes
Symptoms such as dry cough and high fever
Coronavirus symptoms you may not be aware of
Malaise and dizziness
The letter F
Stepping up efforts to tackle the new coronavirus
According to a study released Monday
Some of the nation's leading medical experts
First of all, just because you have these symptoms
We are learning more every day
The number of infections grows worldwide
Develop symptoms about five days after exposure
Colds generally do no result in serious health problems
Keep Your Family Safe
Keep your family safe
Keep your family safe
Keep your family safe
Keep your family safe
Safety is the Priority
Keep your family safe
According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention
A clean household is one way to help keep COVID-19 at bay
Make sure you are keeping their mental health in check
This is an incredibly stressful time
Clean doorknobs, light switches & handrails daily
Pay special attention to cleaning the door handles
Everything you need to know to prepare for the outbreak
One of the best ways to slow or stop
Settings > Account > Family
Avoid touching face and cover coughs
Stay aware of the latest information
Through your national and local public health authority
Most countries have seen cases
Many are experiencing outbreaks
Follow the advice of the local authorities
Minimise your risk of exposure to coronavirus
Advice for people at higher risk
Including older people
People with health conditions and pregnant women
Free, practical advice for the citizens of Scotland
Visa and passport advice (COVID-19)
Guidance for British people travelling abroad
Specific precautions older people should take
Tailors advice for people
Find out how we are monitoring and responding
Subscribe to alerts for consumers
Most up-to-date information
The texts are now being randomly collated, published in a branching and repeating fashion on Twitter. I love twitter bots!
#BlackLivesMatter, #TheMovementForBlackLives, and #ViolenceCommitedOnBlackCommunities
Black Lives Matter
Human rights protest
Racial profiling, police brutality
Betterment of the African Americans
Incarceration is a way to destroy a community
T-shirts, clothing, apparel, posters and accessories
The aftermath of George Floyd's murder on May 25th
Tweeted over 30 million times
Black lives shattered
A global organization
Eradicate white supremacy
Financial and Spiritual.
Black humanity and dignity
We have a problem
There is a huge racism
Stand up Sundays
Keep everyone safe
The Movement For Black Lives
Seeks to reach millions
Mobilize hundreds of thousands
Sustained and increasingly visible violence
Mission is to eradicate white supremacy
Build. Heal. Learn. Organise.
Enough is enough
Fighting for a Fundamental reordering of society
Free from systematic dehumanization
End state-sanctioned killings
Build local power
Rooted in this wider Black Freedom Struggle
Non-violence is rooted
Coalition of over 50 black-led organizations
Free from sexism, misogyny, and male-centredness.
Cooperatives as a viable way
Opportunity to uplift.
Violence Inflicted On Black Communities
This violence left thousands dead
A culture that tolerated gruesome lynchings
Tolerant of crime and violence
Ideological and political intervention
Black and blue, Blindspotting
Accept the cold hard truth about black culture
Embrace the differences and diversity
Affiliations around the world
Long history of racial tension
The death of a black Minneapolis man
Latest tipping point
2.5 more likely to be killed by police
Prescription for a deeper, systemic issue.
Sonorities, Belfast 2020 has been cancelled. It is one of the many sonic art casualties of the COVID19 pandemic. Tale Of A Great Sham(e)Text is a transmedia text, and was one of the works which was due to be featured in a listening room, to be heard over the entire period of the festival.
Martina Murray, Niamh Browne, Maura McHugh, Pauline Ashwood, Ashling Cahill, Jane Walsh, Lelia Doolan, Dara O’Hare, Eibhlis Farrell, Karlin Lillington and Mary McDonald are 12 of the 13, I’m the last. I extend a huge thank you to everyone involved. Thanks for taking the time to record the phrases and thanks for taking time to engage with the history. Thank you also, to the curators at Sonorities, for selecting the work.
There is already a blog explaining the inspirations and motives for the project, so please, go check it out.
Tale Of A Great Sham(e)Text is a game score, a twitter bot, a sound cloud playlist, an improvisation, and an electroacoustic performance.
The game score is designed as the base for improvisation within a web browser.
It is possible for any instrument or voice to interpret the audio and visuals, but I originally envisaged it would be for Female Voice(s), Brass Instrument(s) and Computer.
The computer performer triggers the score using SPACE
Between 0:00 and 1:20 the computer performer needs to press the keys Q,A,Z to trigger audio and T, G, B, Y, U, H, J to trigger text. Instrumentalist(s) will take inspiration from the elongated bars, the vocalist(s) are to interpret the text.
At 1:20 the audio keys are moved to W, S, X, and the text keys will continue as T, G, B, Y, U, H, J. The Instrumentalist(s) will interpret the random QR boxes, the vocalist are to interpret the text.
At 2:40 the screen goes black, here the computer performer can trigger both audio and visuals. Audio = E, D, C, and the QR codes are I, O, K, L (Other performers can check the QR codes to reveal the text)
At 3:50 the audio keys shift to R, F, V and the Text Keys return to T, G, B, Y. At some point after this the M key will become available, as the final QR code is displayed. The Instrumentalist(s) and Vocalist(s) are free to interpret what they see/hear.
Try it out, test the sounds and the visuals. Compose your own version of Tale Of A Great Sham(e)Text.
There is a Twitter Bot, if you are on Twitter please could you follow it.
The twitter bot has been randomly tweeting phrases and images for 12 months now, it is faithfully sharing phrases from the work of Anna Parnell. Tale of a Great Sham was written in 1902 and was published in 1986. Tale of a Great Shame details the life and times of the Ladies Land League.
Sound Cloud Playlist
The soundcloud page is linked to a podcast. Please go listen, follow and share.
The piece of resistance was a black silk skirt. (Parnell 1986)
The pandemic, the shock that has hit the health of our global community, has led to some drastic contractions of our economic processes and is also inspiring an expansion of our emotional practices. Like many artists I have experienced the cancellation of gigs and, seeing the diary empty out, has resulted in a couple of opposing personal responses.
One initial feeling is the immediate sharp intake of breath when considering the loss in earnings. But, and I think this more important to me at the moment, the other is a feeling of empathic and raw emotions in response to the human cost as the virus sweeps the globe.
Once I’d emerged from the initial panic and the locked-down feelings that induced me to organise my working from home, to help my students, and to sort my shopping and exercise arrangements for the household, I began to take stock. Although works that had been due for performances had been cancelled, they had still been completed. I’d still had the opportunity to work through their creative process and followed them through to a virtual realisation. Tale Of A Great Sham(e)Text was due to be performed at Sonorities in Belfast and, Mrs McNamara had been booked to appear in MOLI, with Bernard Clarke’s Scribbledehobble and Kaleidoscope.
There are also works that need to be written, works that will help me adjust to this moment in history and that will be in response to this crisis. These works started flowing after I’d organised the everyday coping strategies.
In the practice of immersing myself in the process of opening up to the emotional and economic feelings I was able to keep doing what I do best. I knew the only way I was to get through this time was to give myself permission for my brain to uncover pathways of empathic creation.
Social Media has been a grounding in reasoning and emotion for me. Reading articles shared from around the globe, learning about the virus, becoming aware of the people treating the sick and the people who have suffered, has become part of my routine. Reading and participating in the outpouring of community conversation has inspired and consumed my thoughts over the last 36 days. On the 5th April I began creating a graphic score The Claque In A Time Of Corona. It was my first work to emerge during the lockdown.
During Christmas 2019 I received a gorgeous set of pencils and paper from my sister. She told me it was time to ignite my childhood love of sketching.
From these pencils, and the times we are in, a title appeared:
Then a series of instructions, directions for a virtual performance:
I started recording and processing sounds in response to the emotional pain of the news stories, the tragedy unfolding over the Social Media waves. The brain fog manifesting from the sounds of pain and fear, the heard and unheard responses to the pandemic, the noises of governments and corporatists who are controlling what we read and see. I began loading sounds into the game audio middleware, FMOD.
Then, in creating a game score project using the game development environment of Unity, I added materials, sound events and scripts to build the final browser version of The Claque In A Time Of Corona
This process is in progress, using iteration and creation to test the function of the score and sound work. Eventually I’d like this to be a game score, a graphic score to be available online. The performance can be facilitated using Zoom or Jitsu.
The work is not finished yet. I need time to reflect and process more. I’ll come back to it. This commentary is part of the process of reflection.
In the between time I started revisiting other works.
A multi platform collaboration between Kelly McErlean and Claire Fitch.
Kelly has a set of 36 photographs dating from at trip to San Francisco in 1999. They are published on Flikr and are the inspiration for a set of 36 texts.
2, 1. Four empty cable cars 3 Two turquoise baskets Eight on the landing
Kelly recorded each of the 36 texts, sending me the raw audio files to edit and process into sound works. These are continuing to be published on SoundCloud and will form part of a 36 minute live improvisation.
We’ve also set up a YouTube channel, that will host videos created from the photographs and improvisations of the audio.
Finally, there is a Twitter bot publishing the pictures, texts, videos and sounds. Please follow and share.