Young Art Kommunity’s experimental sound group is led by Artists Simon Keep and Jos Down, alongside Y.A.K artists Frazer Merrick, Ross Mason and Lloyd Smith. On Friday 8th April we invited the group into the Digital Factory studio for a day of sound exploration. The group collaborated with our artists in residence as well as the general public. Read more below as Frazer explains a bit more about the session.
We transformed the Digital Factory and the adjoining Mosaic Space into two very unique sonic spaces. In the smaller room we filled it with instruments (in various states of disrepair) and encourage visitors to explore them, find what sounds they could make. Some notable mentions were putting a bell inside the type writer and bowing the glockenspiel. Inside this room we set up a handful of microphones, which were then being processed by various audio equipment outside.
Station 1: Pedalboards – A variety of delay and distortion pedals, but the most intriguing being the EHX Freeze pedal. When trigged it takes a snapshot of the sound (we’re talking milliseconds) and loops this, allowing you to create a drone from almost any source material. Fantastic for improvising over the top!
Station 2: Alesis AirFX – An infrared sensor that allows you to sculpt/mould sound with your hands. It maps the distance between your hand and the sensor with various filters/FX, adding a very performative element to sound design.
Station 3: Gamepad – Here we used the analog sticks of a game controller and mapped them to FX settings within Reaktor (a software-synthesiser). Again, this is another example of how sound design can be very performative.
It was incredible to walk between the two spaces and hear how different and yet connected the two sonic worlds were. A small twinkling melody on a Kalimba became a thumbing beat through the computer. A twee nursery rhyme sang into the microphone suddenly sounded like a dystopian cinematic soundtrack with an ominous drone rumbling underneath it from the freeze pedal.
This disconnection between the two spaces was really interesting. Although the glass wall between the two spaces allowed for some visual communication we found people were more interested in acting individually or rather collaborating within those in each space rather than with those outside. The architecture of the spaces could definitely lead to more experiments in sonic communication, exploring ways of creating a dialogue between two sets of performers.
Thanks to Benjamin Beauchamp for the brilliant photos, you can view more from the session here.
Words by Frazer Merrick
Keep an eye out for updates over the course of the residency, and keep up to date with the ever changing Digital Factory space.
Join us on Friday 6th May, 6pm – 8pm, for the launch of the Digital Factory Exhibition.
We’d also like to open up the Digital Factory to other artists to showcase work, why not get involved and submit some work to one of our Float Digital open events taking place on 26th April and 24th May. Email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.