Wednesday, 10 September 2014

"Parts Unknown" Gets New Interest As Sir John Franklin's ship is found

In June this year, Ross Ashton and myself gave the first showing of a new work "Parts Unknown", about Victorian views of Arctic exploration and the fated voyage of Sir John Franklin in 1845 to discover the North West Passage.
Yesterday announcements were made that one of the two ships, either the HMS Erebus or the HMS Terror, has just been discovered:
The Guardian's article today and The BBC news item

It seems a timely moment then to talk a little about "Parts Unknown".

Commissioned by East Lindsey District Council for the SO2014 Festival, "Parts Unknown" was a new style of work for us within the son et lumiere genre.
Arctic exploration in popular Victorian culture was both romantic and heroic. We explored magic lantern slide shows which were created to show 'typical' Arctic scenes to a curious British public. Working with the Magic Lantern Society, Ross constructed a sequence of slides and movements from privately held collections, which included images of Franklin.
The arctic soundscapes are a blend of electronic and found sounds. I looked at numerous musical options to try and capture something of what could be the lost folk song melodies about the disappearance of Sit John Franklin. Therefore, the visual elements deliberately emulate a magic lantern show and to balance this, folk song, poetry and the strange foreign arctic world, with all its dangers are heard in the sound.

It can be seen and heard in archival video here:

'Parts Unknown' - The Voyage of Sir John Franklin from Ross Ashton on Vimeo.

Tuesday, 1 April 2014

'Triquetra' and 'Contours' feature in a new BBC film online

You may remember that last year, when I was making Triquetra, that I met Dr Eleanor Barraclough and became involved in contributing audio from Triquetra for a short piece on 'Nightwaves' on Radio 3, (starting at 22:45) looking at the power of Old Norse and Old English as languages.
Eleanor's work is part of the New Generation Thinkers program at the BBC.

I was delighted to be asked to contribute sound to another piece by Eleanor, this time focussing on the difference between the facts and fiction about the Vikings. The differences between myth and reality are quite marked in some areas. Extracts from 'Triquetra' and 'Contours' are both heard in this film. (click on the links to see/hear the pieces online).

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In addition, right now there is a unique exhibition on the Vikings at the British Museum too, so it couldn't be a better time to dig deep into one of my favourite subjects.

An interview with Musey online

It's been an interesting 2014 so far!

Musey is a Harvard University startup. They have developed an app that can be found here.
The idea of the app is to let you know where to find art and artists outside traditional venues and institutions. It benefits artists & those who wish to see art or attend alternative events, providing a usable digital platform for them to find each other.

Judy Sue Fulton, one of Musey's dedicated co-founders and a graduate of Harvard University, kindly asked me if I would be happy to be interviewed for their blog. The results of our conversations over Skype and the Atlantic Ocean can be heard here.
The posts also contain some behind-the-scenes pictures of 'Rose' from the Illuminating York Festival in 2010 as well as some written info on how a piece like 'Crown of Light', for the Durham Lumiere Festival last year, was approached technically.