I have been told that if you need to use a hearing aid, you are advised to wear it at all times you are awake. This includes if you are sitting in silence. This is to help train you to filter/ignore some sound, so that you are not overwhelmed by noise. My art education has retaught me how to look, to notice moments I previously would have failed to notice. In much the same way my time at art school has enabled me to actively see, through my art practice I am relearning how to hear.
I have been using sound as a material in my work for the past few years, and have become increasingly invested in its worth as a physical, sculptural material. I have been struck by how much sound can be used to define territory, create physical and social barriers and dictate space. It is with this in mind that I sent the first year BA Fine Art students out to listen to their University. My group was asked to locate the social and physical borders created by sound. In particular they observed how this affected their behavior and interaction with the architecture of the Central Saint Martins’ Granary Building in Kings Cross. This exercise was designed to encourage the students to take ownership of this space, with its contrasting auditory zones (public thoroughfare, library, commercial venue, art school).
By far the most difficult aspect to working with sound, like any time based medium, is determining the works afterlife. I drew the attention of the student to this problem early in our workshop. I asked them to present the findings of their listening exercise to our group, then translate these findings into an artwork. The artworks would then be relocated to another Central Saint Martins campus in Archway the following day. It would be at this point we would come together with the students working on Adeeb’s project, ‘Dialogue with Framing [Site]’. Given that many of the artworks produced included performative and site specific elements, re-situating the work to show to Adeeb’s group was not easy. This process, though at times challenging, elicited some incredibly exciting responses. The students embraced the problem of expressing the singular experience of an artwork to an audience who was not present at the moment of its happening. Finally, I asked them to collate their work in a form that would be legible to an online audience who have no prior knowledge of their individual practices.
Katie Tindle is a graduate of BA Fine Art at Central Saint Martins
DAMP ORIFICE grew from a "project" in which we had to "explore the ephemeral nature of sound and space". We wanted to disrupt people's journeys through spaces using sound.