Monthly Archives: April 2020

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.

SFBookDraft1

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.

Soundcloud

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.