From The Mouths Of Clay
Helen Scarsdale Agency
For 3 months in early 2013, Simon Whetham had the space and opportunity to develop his work, ideas and methods, taking part in the inaugural residency of a lab project run collaboratively by the Museo Universitario de la Universidad de Antioquia and Casa Tres Patios in Medellín, Colombia. Combining and building on recording and playback methods and ideas with found objects, discarded technology and methods of his working practice and others such as Alvin Lucier and Nicholas Collins he investigated sonic, acoustic and phenomenological qualities of the gallery space and faulty or used equipment that was donated or found in nearby market La Cascada. Following on from a 'recreation' of “I am Sitting in a Room”, the process was applied to a selection of 3 prehispanic burial urns and 3 examples of more recent variations on this theme. The internal resonances were captured and then played back inside the urns utilising small speakers, or through them using transducers, the process repeated to uncover tones held within the clay and the space within. The result was demonstrated as an 8 channel installation, with each of the 6 vessels singing with it's own voice and 2 speakers playing lower tones created by the vessels using the same process, but using a microphone inside each and a larger speaker placed against the outside. This work combines sound material from the installation and further investigations carried out during the residency period, recorded in the space, from inside the vessels or reproduced inside and through them.