Stitchsound – first installment

Stitchsound: opening performance at 2010 SALA Moving Image Festival, Queens Theatre, Adelaide. 31st July 2010. TLR (left) Ryan Sims (right) Image: Lauren Playfair.

Stitchsound, my collaboration with Ryan Sims is now up and running as part of the 2010 SALA Moving Image Festival at the Queen’s Theatre in Adelaide.  On Saturday morning Ryan and I set up in the performance/installation area near the entrance of the venue.

Our first performance consisted of Ryan starting fifteen minutes prior to me – sampling the space at his worktable with embroideries, an array of colourful threads and a rack of fabric record sleeves.   A suspended fabric ear trumpet bridges my workstation and Ryan’s, whilst 3 model turntables on thin legs (built from cardboard and powered by servo motors) spin in front of the two workstations.   Eventually I joined Ryan and started producing a variety of layered sound textures with a set-up of a briefcase turntable, laptop and a couple of contact mics.  The symbolism and positioning of the ear trumpet comes into play as the sounds I produce are picked up by the opening of the trumpet and are amplified at the other end to Ryan, who interprets and transcribes the sound into stitches.  The joint performance ended after about 15 minutes as I packed away my equipment and left my workstation, eventually Ryan left his workstation and placed a finished embroided record on one of the model turntables.

Ryan finishing his performance. Image: Lauren Playfair

The performance, unfortunately was beset with sound issues from my end as the loudspeakers which I had employed on the table were not up to the task of broadcasting my sound textures over the chatter of patrons and a rival performance occurring at the other end of the venue.  As a result, people couldn’t really hear much of what I was doing and I ended up overdriving things a bit too much in the process.  I couldn’t hear myself that well either and I was pretty annoyed about the whole situation afterwards.  Thankfully everybody seemed to enjoy the performance as a whole though.

The next two performances (this Thursday, 11am; Sunday 4pm) should fare better as the space will be much quieter and my beefing up of the loudspeaker set up with a mid-size sub should cover the low end frequencies to a greater extent.  Ryan and I will be giving an artist talk following the Thursday performance as well.

A completed embroided record of Ryan's. Image: Lauren Playfair

In between the performances the work is being exhibited as an installation with a sound composition of mine broadcast over the loudspeakers.  The sound composition is constructed from site recordings of the spinning model turntables, Ryan stitching and constructing the ear trumpet and rehearsals from my workstation.  These recordings form a five-minute sequence that is repeated twice, with each iteration diminishing slightly in fidelity – evoking the effect of a vinyl record decaying over time with each play.  I could have made the series of iterations much longer but felt that a visitor probably wouldn’t be spending more than ten minutes with the work.

Performance 2 (incl. artist talk): 11am, 5th August
Performance 3: 4pm, 7th August
Queen’s Theatre Playhouse Lane, Adelaide (access from Currie St or Morphett St)

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