It really was wonderful to have, what felt like, the entire world to myself this morning. It was strange, like nature had got slightly confused as to how to react to the situation and the unexpected weather. It was oddly noticable that few birds were even awake yet, and those that were singing were doing so in a slightly embarrased fashion, like they’d turned up to work on saturday to find the factory closed. And in the middle of all this sky and colour was me, hidden the bushes hoping not to be discovered trespassing. In actuality the only thing that happened was a mild distraction of another guy who was out with his dog on an early morning walk through the farmer’s field. I’m apparently not the only who likes to have this place to myself.
Installation 10 (Home, North West, UK)
Indian summers are a rare commodity in the UK, and especially in the North that normally gets battered by all the atlantic has to offer. The Pennines have a tendency to trap all the cloud cover and bad weather that blows in from the coast. However something like this, the exact opposite of it all, very occasionally happens; days that should be wet, and cold, and full of mud transform into the deepest, unending summer, filled with potential. I finally conquered Rivington on a day like this. It was wonderful. The colours of an entirely empty sky were breathtaking. The scale (F Dorian) was selected to convey fragility and the unfinished nature of things, something infinite and transient.
The Indian Summer of life should be a little sunny and a little sad, like the season, and infinite in wealth and depth of tone, but never hustled.
Installation 9 (Rivington, North West, UK)
This wasn’t exactly the installation I had planned. Or to be honest the elequant post I had planned (as wordpress decided to only publish half the post. Most annoying. But regardless this was the installation I did to make up for postponing the one planned for Rivington. Oddly enough I’ve never had the impetus or idea to perform this thing in the place I spend most of my time. But regardless thanks Laura for letting me use her terrace for the setup and Nik for help with the filming. It was a bit of a last minute decision and a rush but we just managed it (thanks to the kindness of friends). The whole convoluted story is in the blog post thats coming up this week. Much better focus that SM7 (d’oh!) but the noise that you get on even good DV cams like the one we used is starting to become too much to bear anymore. 550D this week. Credit cards exist for a reason.
Installation 8 (Rooftops, Bolton, UK)
As you can gather not exactly what I normally aim for in one of these installations. I was on my own for this one when I did the setup and as a result made a little, if not rather obvious, mistake when sorting out the DV cam. Suffice to say the autofocus and a neutral density filter conspired against me resulting in a somewhat blurred image. It’s kind of pretty though isn’t it? However this is yet another reason why I desperately need a smaller, easier and higher quality camera. More on that very soon. But until then enjoy the latest.
Installation 7 (Coast Road, Southport, UK)
This is one of those personal ones. Some locations are selected for their grandeur and what they evoke, this is the opposite. Borsdane Wood in Hindley was chosen because it’s the site of one of my happiest memories. As a child my grandfather and I would walk miles around the parks, rivers and woods near their house. In the middle of summer we were walking through this very wood when we were caught in a sudden, incredibly heavy storm. My grandfather picked some of the huge dock leaves that grew near the river and we used these as umbrellas for the entire walk home. This is shot among the foliage where they dock leaves grow by the river. Helped by Naomi to lug the equipment onto a dry river bank.
Installation 6 (Borsdane Wood, Hindley, UK)
This is the most difficult installation we’ve done. It took three attempts to stay up all night and leave for the selected location at 3am. And it took three attempts to get anything that wasn’t drizzle or torrential rain. It was also possibly the most unpleasant installation physically speaking too. Wet feet, freezing cold, again being eaten by flies (sensing a pattern here), and in the middle of me quitting smoking made this super difficult and stressful for me and worse for Sam (who was my pack mule and faithful helper for this one).
I’ll readily admit that visually its not that stunning but musically speaking its one of the most gentle ones we’ve done. And yes, I did manage to quit smoking 🙂
Installation 5 (Saddleworth, Peak District, UK)
This was a very special one for me. I spent my childhood running around Harlech on summer holidays and remember it being idyllic (as one’s childhood often is). The light and space that the machine and the camera captures on this installation is perfect in my mind. As per usual the equipment behaved erratically and unpredictably but created something very special. Tension, heat and resolution.
The only downside was being eaten alive by the flies on the beach that come out at sunset but it was incredibly worthwhile. Nik on camera and Sam on setup again.
Installation 4 (Harlech, Wales, UK)
Totally unplanned this one. Just an amazing location with amazing light. On top of some Welsh mountains covered in hazey light. Couldn’t resist pulling over on the way to record what would become SM4 over in Harlech and this is what we got. We almost died in the process as we were nearly flattened by a lorry. The road is literally 6 inches behind the camera. As usual help from Nik on camera and Sam assisting too. Setup was about half a mile from the ruins at Gwylfa Hireathog.
Installation 3 (Near Gwylfa Hireathog, Wales, UK)
Video of our second installation. Seeing how far we can push the limits of the light sensors. Halfway between installation and experiment but some interesting results sonically speaking. Wasn’t expecting something as unnerving as generated. As usual helped by Nik Bryant running the camera.
Installation 2 (Scout Road, Near Bolton, UK)
Our very first installation. Bit of a get together for friends and supporters to see the project before anyone else did. Couldn’t have asked for a better show from the elements. I’m ever thankful to my friends for a) supporting me and b) indulging me when I get weird and bizarre ideas like this one. It was lovely to rig, hit record and then turn round to watch all my friends being in silence watching and listening. Much love to you all.
Nik Bryant running the camera for this one. This one was meant to originally run through a fm radio transmitter but unfortunately the design that I was using is illegal in this country, plus the site of the installation was adjacent to a coast guard station so I dragged a PA down there instead.
Installation 1 (New Brighton Beach, Merseyside. UK)