A research and production residency by Peter Flemming (CA) and Darsha Hewitt (CA).
This temporary site-specific sound-based installation was created during a residency at Cultivamos Cultura in Sao Luis, Alentejo, Portugal. The residency took place in a walled in farming complex consisting of a large yard, some houses and several barn buildings. We did most of our work in the main barn, which was quite large. At one time the barn was used to produce olive oil.
We brought a basic kit of parts and tools and set up a provisional electronics workshop. We then worked as much as possible with local materials, found on site. Old farm implements, buckets, barrels and pipes were used as resonators. Lemons from the trees in the yard were made into batteries. The ample sunlight was used to run solar powered electronics.
We made many sound producing devices. They work independently, but simultaneously. Throughout the set-up, we considered the architectural elements of the barn, using as them cues for organizing the different objects we used.
There are two distinctive types of sounds: drones, produced by 2 long wires (piano strings) stretched across the barn which are punctuated by arrhythmic clicking and popping sounds.
Strings: One long string is stretched vertically from the ceiling to a large barrel on the floor. The barrel is weighted with bricks to tension the string, and also serves as a resonator. The other string is stretched horizontally, under the hayloft, between large wooden struts. Various metal implements lean or hang on the string: a heavy shovel, eavestroughs, a bucket etc. They serve as resonators and also as tension devices. The strings are “played” by oscillating electromagnets, in the same manner as Vibrations and Waves. Clicks and pops: The clicks and pops come from minimalist, low power oscillator circuits. They are running on solar power and lemon batteries. They are set to oscillate at low frequencies through small loudspeakers. This has the effect of making faint clicking sounds, every so often. The faint sounds are greatly amplified when the speakers are placed in or on some kind of resonator. We used rusted barrels, drain pipes and other things we found in the barn as resonators.
Text by Peter Flemming, Editing by Ian Cameron, Sound by Darsha Hewitt.
Peter Flemming (CA):
Active for over a dozen years, Peter Flemming is a folk machinery artist, doing electronics handcraft ‘by ear,’ tinkering intensively and intuitively in the studio. Recent work has been an ongoing series of experiments about sound and resonance. Past work has included lazy machines, solar powered artwork and hypnotically repetitive automata.
He has exhibited extensively worldwide and been the recipient of numerous grants and awards. A graduate of the Ontario College of Art (1997) and the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design (MFA, 2001), he currently lives and works in Montreal, where he teaches electronics for artists at Concordia University.
Darsha Hewitt (CA):
Darsha Hewitt (b. 1982) is a Canadian artist based in Montreal. Recent presentations of her work include: Modern Art Oxford (UK), WRO Media Art Biennale (PL); Edith-Russ-Haus für Medienkunst (DE) and MUTEK (CA). In summer 2013 her first solo exhibition was co-produced by Skol and The Elektra Festival in Montreal (CA). She was nominated for 2013 Marler European Sound Art Award and recently completed a Fellowship in the Sound Art program at Hochschule für bildende künste, Braunschweig (DE). In 2011 she was awarded a work stipend from The Edith-Russ-Haus for Media Art, Oldenburg (DE).
Alongside her artistic practice she is a technologist, consultant and educator. Her Do-it-yourself electronics workshops are been presented internationally and she frequently works with international production studios, digital arts organizations, media labs and universities. Darsha is currently an MFA candidate in Open Media at Concordia University and a Research Assistant at Hexagram: Centre for Research-Creation in Media Arts and Technologies. She is also a member of Perte de Signal – one of Québec’s leading digital art collectives. She is currently an organizer of the Open Source Residency Program at Perte De Signal. She was the coordinator of L’oeuvre ouverte – the 2nd international PureData Convention (‘07) and a delegate at The Banff New Media Institute’s Grounding Open Source Hardware Conference – the first Open Source Hardware summit (’09). Most recently she established the DARDI_2000 Mentorship Program in partnership with STEIM – Studio for Electro-Instrumental Music, Amsterdam (NL).