Becoming Imperceptible

Becoming Imperceptible is a new work commissioned by thirtythree-45, Droichead Arts and Drogheda Arts Centre, for the podcast series Where Are We Now?

Becoming Imperceptible
Listening to ancient narratives
Remembering last works, repeated like secret commandments
Invisible, intangible swarming, inaccessible, intimate variations
10 minutes
½ an hour
Scarcely an hour
Innumerable ancestors
Deserted street
Short distance
Painful slowness
Distant station
Infinite imagination
Past and future
And another time:
Every one imagined

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 utilizing an original text inspired by 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.

I’ve been focusing on the short story by Jorge Luis Borges for the last year and it seemed to fit with my memories of David. As David’s anniversary was at the same time that Brian Hegarty contacted me about producing a work, I created a text. I have no audio recordings of working with David Connolly but, I did have some recordings of an organ/cello/voice improvisation with David Bremner and Elizabeth Hilliard. In addition, I gathered some recordings of strings, played by Sylvia Roberts, Randal Devine, Aine O’Neill and myself, and a phrase spoken by Martina Murray. The instrumentation was perfect, creating the basis for my sound sketches in Wwise and Reaper.

I arranged a basic structure: 0:00 – 0:55 Intro; 0:55 – 8:25 1st section; 8:25 – 13:00 2nd section; 13:00 – 15:00 3rd section; 15:00 – 24:15 4th Section; 24:15-31.30 Outro.

Once I’d mapped out the background sound world I knew the time was right to add some recordings of the text. When I had originally contacted the instrumentalists for permission to use the older recordings I’d also asked Elizabeth if she might also record the text. She had agreed and produced some amazing variations of the text for me to work with. You can hear them in sections 1 and 3. The organ, strings and vocals are a feature of the 4th section and outro.

Becoming Imperceptible was broadcast as part of the podcast: Where Are We Now? #1 and is available here

Where Are We Now?

Where Are We Now?

Invited artists / sound-makers are asked to make a work for radio, based on the theme ‘Where are we now?

The title is inspired by the David Bowie song of the same name. The song is reflective and nostalgic, a case of man looking back on a life that once was, when the future is uncertain.

As the Covid pandemic has thrown all our lives into flux the question ‘Where are we now?’ seems even more poignant. In these unprecedented times, we have all found time to reflect on the now and more importantly on the ‘what can be’.

Where are we now? is a question? To be interpreted through sound for radio.

Each work will be at least 30 minutes long and can range from sound collage, voice, ambient, avant-garde, field recordings, electro acoustic or a hybrid of different forms.

The pieces will be a deep listening experience, encouraging listeners to expand their conception of narrative and musicality.

Where Are We Now? #1 Claire Fitch and Diarmuid MacDiarmada

Where Are We Now? #2 Orla Wren and Norman Westberg

Becoming Imperceptible will be broadcast on RTÉ Lyric FM, 12th August. 2021. The Blue Of The Night.

Where Are We Now?

Becoming Imperceptible and This Ends Now.

Thirtythree-45 and Droichead Arts Centre, in association with Drogheda Arts Festival are presenting a new podcast that can be accessed through the live stream.

Where Are We Now? #1 features works by Claire Fitch and Diarmuid MacDiarmada

Becoming Imperceptible by Claire Fitch

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.

Voice: Liz Hilliard and Martina Murray.

Organ: David Bremner.

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.

Livestream: July 29th 2021 @ 9pm

Where Are We Now? #1 Claire Fitch and Diarmuid MacDiarmada

Where Are We Now? #2 Orla Wren and Norman Westberg

Electronic Literature Organisation 2021

The COVID19 Pandemic continues to be highly influential to my digital artistic output.

Ear For The Surge has been selected for exhibition at ELO2021 COVID E-Lit

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. 

24th to 25th May, University of Bergen

Droichead Arts Seed Funding

February 2021, I was awarded Seed Funding from Droichead Arts. I’m really grateful for the support and the funding will enable me to continue to develop the Populated Solitude project.

https://droichead.com/show/873623703

Thank you.

The changes we arts practitioners have made since the start of the pandemic are seismic and take time to implement, I really appreciate the support.

Digital Art in Ireland: New Media & Irish Artistic Practice

The wonderful James O’Sullivan has curated some fine themes in Digital Art in Ireland: New Media & Irish Artistic Practice. Published by Anthem Press

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

2020 Culture Night in Drogheda, thanks to Brian Hegarty, Droichead Arts, Arts Council Ireland, Louth County Council and Visual Arts Ireland, saw Populated Solitude having its first outing at the Westcourt Hotel, West Street, Drogheda.

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.

Populated Solitude poster, Culture Night 2020.

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

Hosted by Kaleidoscope September 9, 2020 at 7pm.

Curated by Bernard Clarke.

Featured Artists:

Sue Rynhart & Mike Nielsen, Claire Duff, Cormac Bretnach, Martin Tourish @ & Daire Bracken, Danny McCarthy, Claire Fitch.

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.

Mrs McNamara and Mrs Matchwell both appear in Sheridan LeFanu’s House By The Churchyard. Mrs McNamara, in Chapter 29, and Mrs Matchwell in Chapter 30.

Opening A Budget Of Gossip

Chapter 29

Mrs Macnamara.    

She was not there,  she was not well.   

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

Chapter 30

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”

Bernard Clarke recorded the text for Chapter 29 and Martina Murray recorded the text for Chapter 30

Mrs McNamara and Mrs Matchwell will appear at MOLI for Scribbledehobble, presented by Musictown and Kaleidoscope.

Here is also a version of Mrs McNamara on SoundCloud

and here’s a version with both Mrs McNamara and Mrs Matchwell with ambiencellist.

Ear For The Surge

I was reading Homer’s The Iliad this morning

A great way to kick-start inspiration.

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.

Travel Advisory

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
Communication Resources

Compare low prices
Book popular tours
Reserve tables
Current international Travel Warnings
Foreign governments implement strict restrictions
Fewer international transportation options are available

Pandemic Corona

Real-time counter, world map
Travel related restrictions, infection 
Novel strain virus, symptomatic
Severe respiratory disease, far and wide
Virus Corona, 
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

Coronavirus Update

Get the latest information 
Confirmed cases, infection history
Government response
People confirmed infected
People confirmed dead
Total recovered

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
World: 3,774,246
Coronavirus counter with new cases, deaths
And numbers of tests per 1 Million population
Historical data and info
Daily charts, graphs, news and updates

Symptoms 2020

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
An envelope
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
Social distancing 
Separate people
Settings > Account > Family
Avoid touching face and cover coughs

Coronavirus Advice

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)
Stay Connected

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!

Audio will be uploaded it to SoundCloud, Videos to YouTube, and commentary to WordPress

June 3rd Update

3 more texts are added to Ear For The Surge.

#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
Educational, Social,
Financial and Spiritual.

Black humanity and dignity
We have a problem
There is a huge racism
Stand up Sundays
Keep everyone safe
Social justice

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
Collective vision
End state-sanctioned killings
Institutional oppressions
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
Deep trauma
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
Chapter-based,
Member led.
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
Black lives
Intentionally targeted
Prescription for a deeper, systemic issue.

Tale Of A Great Sham(e)Text

Thirteen women.

Thirteen women were to travel.

Thirteen women can be heard online.

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.

Game Score

Here’s the game score

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.

Twitter Bot

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 Claque In A Time Of Corona

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.

Graphic Score

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.

SFBookDraft1 is a collaboration with photographer and transmedia narrative artist, Kelly McErlean.