By spending time in the Northampton gallery I’ve been able to have some great conversations with many inspiring people.
Here is a selection of comments written in the visitors’ book by some of the people I didn’t get to meet in person.
A great collaboration between sound, materials and the awareness of oneself in a fictional world created in the imagination. I truly was immersed in the experience. Great use of materials to bring it all to life. The various textures, use of lights, the crunch of leaves in an imaginary space. To the moon and back by night. Your consciousness definitely touched me. Thank you.” David
Poses lots of questions, but not in a disturbing way. I liked the contrast between the marked floorboards (permanent impression) and the image / reflection (impermanent). We should think more about our impact than about our appearance.” Amy (on Election Day 2015).
The eye is a genie. He’s got trapped in a box because he got lost. He can come out if you say the magic word.” Poppy (age 4)
Once I’d realized that this wasn’t going to tell me all about shoes I found this quite fascinating. Most interesting as a music teacher (primary) I found this inspiring as a starting point for creative music making. What a shame I’m retired now- first time I’ve said that!” Jane
A wonderful focus on the concept and felt experience of embodiment and connection. Grounding and liberating, beautiful and spacious. If more of us were embodied more of the time and knew how to re-connect with body and self then that would help a sense of containment and freedom that can heal and restore using the senses – intra and interpersonal well being. With appreciation.” G.Y. Core Process Psychotherapist.
Filming in the gallery 18.05.15.
Working with award winning director Mark Gill. An exciting opportunity to explore sensory connections and convey the ideas and atmosphere of the gallery project, through another medium.
“Women are the toughest to imitate.”
Jack Foley started in the motion picture business in the silent picture era and lived through the exciting times when overnight the industry converted to sound moving pictures. Jack is credited with pioneering the art of adding sound effects after the action had been filmed, because the sound captured in the film studios and with a camera during the live action, did not record sound in a ‘realistic’ way.
Jack estimated that he walked 5000 miles in the studio doing footsteps. He characterized the footsteps of stars in this manner:
Rock Hudson is a solid stepper; Tony Curtis has a brisk foot; Audie Murphy is springy; James Cagney is clipped; Marlon Brando soft; John Saxon nervous. Women are the toughest to imitate,” he confided, “my 250 pounds may have something to do with it, but the important thing is their steps are quicker and closer together. I get winded doing leading ladies. Jean Simmons is almost, not quite, the fastest on her screen feet in all of Hollywood. She’s topped only by June Allyson. I can’t keep up with her at all.”
Conversation with John Griff about the ‘Making Presence Felt’ project, on BBC Radio Northampton’s afternoon show 23.04.15. From BBC iPlayer.
A series of acoustic encounters
In the gallery a collection of quizzical material objects act as thought provoking ‘clues’ and the audio content draws on memories to make connections and encourage imaginative sense making…
Below you can listen to an introductory footsteps soundscape from the project, with a beautiful piano composition and playing by Pietro Bonanno, ‘Ferma la Danza’ ( Stop the Dance) from his album ‘Komorebi’.
There are 10 interrelated tracks including this one in the audio component of the exhibition, ranging from 1 to 3 minutes in duration, just over 20 minutes in total. The audio content is pitched on the borderline between sound and music and includes documentary field recordings with more experimental collage. Each soundscape involves a different approach to conveying traces of presence and identity in acoustic form. In this track footsteps are heard moving over wooden floors and the recordings were made in contemplative, public spaces: museum, art gallery and including in a church. As I edited and mixed, I let the music guide me and tried to match the footfall cadence, tone colour and timbre to the piano’s.
You can hear the resonance of floorboards: the spring in the wood and voids beneath; the creak of leather; the acoustics of space and place; sounds of intention, emotion, mood, gender, weight, velocity, force, character; in motion…
(use of headphones is recommended).
You can hear more of Pietro Bonanno’s compositions at http://www.pietrobonanno.it
Here are some images of visitors moving, listening and looking in the Northampton gallery on the first day of the exhibition. The lighting is designed to allow individuals’ shadows to play onto the gallery walls to add a further layer of ambiguity and motion to the atmospheric environment.