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SWIRL Bude Sea Pool 2019

Interactive and participatory sound Installation in collaboration with artist Timothy Crowley, commissioned by Sound UK and part of REFLECT- ARTS AND MIND PROJECT.

'Memories do not arrange themselves to be observed and written about they whirl propelled by a force beneath with different memories rising to the surface at different times and thus denying the existence of a pure autobiography and confirming each moment a separate story accumulating to a million stories all different and with some memories forever staying beneath the surface.' Janet Frame 1983

Swirl is a generative and participatory sound composition that reflects on the nature of memory and identity and imagines the sea itself as a repository for stories for those who live beside it. The composition was located in a beach hut located above Bude's famous Sea Pool during Sound U.K's Reflect event.

Swirl was created with the use of a generative sound computer program written in Supercollider. The generative program was designed as a medium with which to relate stories of local people some with mental health issues who have shared their personal experiences and connection to the sea and the coastline.

Through the subtle manipulation of rhythm, volume, speed, pitch and timbre we wanted the composition of voices to evoke the sound of the ebb and flow of the waves. The program broke down all the recorded interviews into smaller bites of sound. At different moments longer strands of stories emerge out of this (as if cast up from the depths). These phrases were continually recombined and revised by the program.

As it played the generative sound composition simultaneously incorporated 'live' contributions from participants during the course of the Reflect event. The beach hut housed a microphone, a hidden computer and speakers. The wall of the hut was lined with the original transcripts of the interviews.

Swirl sound sample


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