This work was a commission piece for an exhibition that took place Four Corners Gallery, Bethnal Green.
Having installed and performed a sound piece at The Other Art Fair in October 2016 I was approached to provide an audio installation for a group photography exhibition in which the artists explored the idea of dream and reality through their work.
The audio was for the private view; something special and bespoke for the space and the work.
Upon visiting the space I saw that there was a division in the gallery, creating almost 2 separate spaces. Lets call these SPACE A and SPACE B.
Using this as a basis for an idea I imagined an installation where one space could be the audio representation of 'reality' whilst the other space could be 'dream'.
This playlist is the full STEREO mix of the pieces.
For the private view these pieces were split into hard LEFT & RIGHT in order to create 2 distinct audio spaces within the gallery.
Four Corners Gallery aerial plan
Four Corners Gallery Space
Fig 1. above illustrates how the division of the space was approached. The main issue with the gallery space is that it is connected. Any sound that would be played anywhere within the gallery would carry across the whole space. What this meant in practical terms was that consideration needed to be given not only to (a) where the speakers should be placed and (b) the volume they would play at but also (c) to the composition itself. Could sound exist in both spaces at the same time without interfering with each other? How then could sound be used to create 2 distinct aural spaces?
The first part of the solution was to use the central wall as a divider and place speakers either side of the wall to project audio into SPACE A and B. Though audio would invariably carry from one room to the other (through reflections), this would create a distinct separation between SPACE A and B. With this as a theoretical solution to space division, attention could then turn to the composition itself.
This is an example of a hard panned file. With 'reality' on the LEFT and 'dream' on the RIGHT.
Splitting the audio into LEFT and RIGHT channels:
- LEFT = sounds of Reality
- RIGHT = sounds for Dream
The challenge was then to create an audio composition that was able to exist in both rooms. Initially the thought was to have one sound playing at a time; first sound in SPACE A for x amount of time, followed by a second sound in SPACE B for x amount of time, thereby further distiguishing the two spaces. However, unless there was an internal 'clock' that both audio pieces were hooked/sync'd up to, then both elements would fall out of time, over time.
The solution arrived at (Fig 2. & 3.) was to split the LEFT and RIGHT audio channel of the piece, and route one part of the sound isntallation to the LEFT channel, and the other to the RIGHT channel. This allowed a great deal of compositional freedom and the ability to explore sounds transitioning from one space to the other, without the fear of desynchronising over time because they were both part of the same stereo audio file, just split across the stereo field.
For this composition, I sampled the sounds of the camera; clicks, flashes, beeps, lens zoom, film whirring, etc. These would form the foundation of the piece. I also wanted to allude to the theme of the exhibition, hence the idea of having one space for 'reality' and one space for 'dream'. In this way, the composition would move back and forth between two spaces, feeling like a wandering mind, slipping from reality into a daydream and then back into reality again.
The final composition is comprised of 5 pieces, all of which contain both a 'reality' and 'dream' segment.
This can be heard in the player at the top.