My main creative outlet is, and always has been, music. I would say that first and foremost I am a songwriter, which is why Digital Music and Sound Art has pushed me to create in ways that I would have never even considered previous to doing the course.
I write music under the name Winnipeg, MN and am influenced mainly by indie/folk/alternative genres, with lots of experimental electronic and 20th century classical stuff thrown in. Really it’s most similar to stuff like The Microphones, having a very lo-fi cassette tape kind of aesthetic. Although at the moment I’m really into Toru Takemitsu’s works for solo guitar, Pet Sounds by The Beach Boys and Flume’s Latest Album.
In terms of art, my main interests are really 20th century. I love Robert Rauschenberg, Mark Rothco, Allan Kaprow and 80’s/90’s video art as a whole. Bill Viola’s work really stands out for me as well. Pretty much anything really abstract and large scale, or that you can physically stand inside of inspires and interests me. I’m a big photography fan as well, and take my own images. I like Martin Parr and Jos Heuling among many others, I’m not sure that my own pictures reflect that though.
The other main thing that informs my work is theoretical stuff. I’m a big fan of Henri Bergson’s thought on Duration and Marshall Macluhan’s essays. I find it difficult to conceptualise artworks without reading some kind of theoretical text to go from, or at least inform the practical side of things.
Please tell us about your final year project
I’m currently working on an audio-visual installation called The Lily Pond. It consists of three large 400” projector screens and 6.1 channel surround sound and is inspired by Monet’s Water Lilies series, in response to them and their concepts. The work runs for a total length of one and a half hours, creating a slow moving and enveloping spectacle on a grand scale, which can’t be interpreted in the same way from any viewpoint or space in time. It uses field recordings and video taken at Monet’s garden in Giverny, as well as many animated, close-up images of his paintings at Musée de l’Orangerie in Paris, re-imagining the works and expanding them into a multi-sensory environment piece that deals with the core themes of the Impressionist movement. These include multi-point perspective, prioritising expressiveness over realism and, especially with Monet, the expansion of the painting past the edge of the canvas. These are all ideas that permeate contemporary artworks, and in my own work I looked to establish and demonstrate the clear commonalities between the two eras, despite one being over 100 years old.
Accompanying the field recordings is an extended ambient composition, inspired by composers relevant to Monet, and the influence of Japanese artwork on Monet, such as Erik Satie, Toru Takemitsu and Hiroshi Yoshimura. I was also heavily influenced by Allan Kaprow’s environment works from the 50’s and 60’s. The surround sound and large scale, serve to bring the work into space, creating a third dimension and placing the experiencer within the artwork rather than in front of it. I want to create a sense of ‘immersion’ – even though that’s a bit of a buzz word – allowing an experiencer to lose themselves in the work and experience time in a more vertical rather than linear sense.
How have you found your course/time at Brighton?
Studying Digital Music and Sound Arts has completely broadened my tastes and introduced me to many new genres, artists and even art forms. As I’ve been introduced to new things through the course, the way I make music has changed. I now feel much more comfortable experimenting with unconventional instrumentation and mixing genres. I have also produced my first performance, audio visual and installation artworks whilst at uni. The course has pushed me to create for new forms in a way that my own core practice has benefitted from.
I also discovered a love for film sound, and a fascination with how audio and image interact. Foley (live sound effects) has been a really enjoyable thing for me to learn and has actually found a place in my music.
The people on the course have become really great friends and the environment is really welcoming, promoting creativity. Whilst in the second year I founded a record label, ID Spectral, with a fellow student.
What are your plans after Graduation?
After I graduate I plan to stay in Brighton and focus on my creative work. I’ve been doing a bit of freelancing and am looking to expand on that once I have more time. The record label will also be getting much more attention and will retain it’s link with the university, giving current and future students the chance to work as an administrator or creative on upcoming releases and submit their own music for release.
I have an album being released online and on limited cassette tapes via another local label this summer so that will be my immediate focus after graduating.