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6.4 ART, Art history, Musicology
Published in conjuction with an exhibition. The exhibition engages with the subjects of landscape and music/sound—exploring each element from historical, social and culturally associative perspectives; where landscape is recognised as a fluid term articulating physical space, idealised space and social space that reflects a convergence of physical processes and cultural meaning, and where song act as a response to, or archive, of personal, historical or socio-political instances. Several works engage landscape and musical sound intersect. The exhibition integrates a broad range of media,positions and responses to these research subjects; including two film works, a six-hour soundtrack for a room, sonic sculptures, a series of sculptural interventions, paintings, analogue photography, screen prints, ceramics and flowers. In most instances, a number of these elements combine to form installations. The selected texts that feature in this publication do not relate to these artworks directly, but either explicitly or obliquely engage with the broader research subject of landscape and music/sound. This collaborative project integrates one existing text and six commissioned texts by Mark Garry, John Graham, Joanne Laws, Sharon Phelan and Suzanne Walsh. The publication also includes a transcription of a radio interview from 1974 with Charles Amirkhanian and the musician Robbie Basho. This interview discusses the broad scope of Basho’s music and the remarkable generosity and fluidity of music as a cultural form. In particular, the dialogue explores music’s openness and potential to continuously evolve and incorporate diverse influences, styles and forms. This collaborative relationship is echoed in the design and the editorial process of the publication. Rather than passively catalogue the exhibition, the selected images act as visual echoes of the artist’s creative motivations. Intended to complement the textual contributions, the images are an amalgam of: private notebook studies; investigations; experiments; observations; and visual archive of completed works—functioning as a platform to extend discourse of themes and topics embedded within the research. The visual hierarchy and typographic treatment elicit direction from the synthesis of topics articulated within the contributors’ texts. This is made visible in the subtle layering of content that builds and recedes across the document to create a composition that considers research commonalities. The layout is also cognisant of indirect interactions of topics that take place within the artist’s work. Facilitated by the substrate, shapes and shadows from previous/subsequent spreads are subtly revealed at various junctures within the publication. The digital pattern represents cuneiform shapes of sound used to visually represent Debussy’s 1905 composition, Clair de Lune, this particular score was chosen for its complex and intriguing origin story. The torn paper that intersects the rugged landscape images expose the surface quality but also contemplates the role of sound in the formation of landscape. The symbols that puncture the cover substrate acknowledge forms/methods of communication/sound that covertly ebb in and out of the artist’s work. These design interventions attempt to capture the explorative nature and the collision of ideas that emerged within the research process.
Garry, M. & Reddy, L. (2020). Songs and the Soil. Dublin: Technological University Dublin.